Thursday, July 28, 2011

Nerd vs Geek – an internal conflict

The first thing I am is a writer. Basically it is write or die for me. Sometimes even interoffice memos become colored in floral adjectives and seasoned with spicy verbs.

Normally this pays off when I am trying to write a paper for college. The ability to bend words to my will can help me express knowledge of the material in ways that a rote memorization test simply can’t. If a class requires writing, I can pass it, and usually pass it well. (Unlike math which sucks my very will to live!) My GPA (3.45 currently) is very important to me so I work hard at college, which I attend full time while also working full time and being a single mom. Why yes, I am a fan of torture, thanks for asking!

Another talent/curse is that I can relate anything in the world to something geeky. I can find a way to make your spilled coffee relate to something Yoda said, or something Link fought in the Ocerena of time, or something Spock found on an away mission, or something Dumbledore told Harry in secret, etc etc etc.

What happens at times, though, is that my nerd self starts getting over run by my geek self. Last week I struggled hard. I even went public on Twitter and Facebook with my struggle. One of my classes this semester is Building a Sustainable Society – aka an environmental course. The topic at hand was a term paper on wildernesses that remain and how do we feel about their protection and destruction. Then we had to discuss any wilderness areas around us.

My first thought  (literally) was “Chocobo Forest!” At first I laughed at myself in a way of appreciation for my geeky humor. Then I started on a serious project. But the Chocobo Forest wouldn’t leave my brain. That’s when I hit the social networks. I really thought my interwebz people would remind my nerd side to take charge. I was so wrong. They fed the geek side. By the way, thanks for all the “Screw the grades, go for the geeky!” comments. You guys are the best enablers a girl ever had.  The struggle internally grew. Would my teacher appreciate some fictional world from Final Fantasy? What if I also included the Forest of Endor, or the Hundred Acre Wood, maybe the Forbidden Forest?? The possibilities were endless!

So was the risk of a B. Or worse.

In the end I stayed true to nerd and gave my very best and serious effort. (It paid off, I got a perfect 100% score.) Still, I couldn’t help but wonder if I would have still gotten a good grade if I included fictional places in a serious effort to explain why forests are needed.

I can’t help but wonder if my other nerdy/geeky friends find this conflict inside themselves as well. If so – what do you guys do about it? Which side wins?  


  1. I once did a thesis paper on the leadership differences between Aragorn and Denethor...the assignment was to compare styles of two historical figures. Luckily, my teacher was an avid LOTR fan, and I got full marks.

  2. That's awesome!!! I believe if the content is relevant, then the real/not real is irrelevant. Besides, sometimes we legitimately know more of fiction than of "truth". Way to go on your paper!