Upon being asked to “define nerdiness” most people have the same reaction. A mild head turn, an inquisitive look, and then a sharp unquantifiable response because to most, nerdiness is something unique to the nerd in question. Nerdiness is beautifully defined in this quote siad by John Green to his brother Hank in a YouTube video:

“…Because nerds like us are allowed to be unironically enthusiastic about stuff… Nerds are allowed to love stuff, like jump-up-and-down-in-the-chair-can’t-control-yourself love it. Hank, when people call people nerds, mostly what they’re saying is ‘you like stuff.’ Which is just not a good insult at all. Like, ‘you are too enthusiastic about the miracle of human consciousnesses.”

Definitions of nerdiness vary though, and upon asking, associate professor of political science, Kevin Dooley, said, “I think nerdiness is having an interest in things that aren’t commonly found as interesting to other people.”

On being asked the same question, professor of political science, Ryan Tetro, responded, “Nerdiness is when you have a vested interest in something that goes beyond what people think is normal or acceptable.” So with a working definition in tow, that brings us to a cross roads – is being a nerd an acceptable part of culture today?

The answer? YES. Being a nerd is imperative to making the world go around. When you embrace nerd culture, you embrace the idea that people expresses the unbridled joy that comes from someone loving something so much they cannot control it.

The culture of being a nerd is a culture of knowledge. A culture of perfectly acceptable, almost obsessive knowledge, focused on the happiness that comes with understanding something.  Being nerdy is not something derogatory, like some people may believe. It is a compliment to all who receive the word in there description, so on being asked whether or not they are nerdy, I received a barrage of answers.

Tetro explained that he is nerdy about a lot of things, specifically sports. Dooley said that he’s nerdy about perfecting his guitar.

Senior economics and finance student, Josh Manning, claimed that he is nerdy about baseball and the law.

Senior communications student, Aditi Vast, said,“The books and comics that I read would let me escape from the real world. The older I got the more immersed in certain ‘worlds’ I became, spanning into the film world and sparking a love for nerd culture and the opportunities it opened up for me not only personally but professionally as well.”

So when people call people nerds, it is a compliment to them. The word nerd speaks to a character trait, passionate seeker of knowledge and wisdom perhaps?

Finishing up this article, I thought it would be interesting to ask the people I talked to about me, and if they think I am a nerd. My professors all kind of chuckled, and said everyone’s a “nerd.” And my friends, they all said “Hahaha, yes.”  And to all the yes people, I asked a follow up question, “What do you think I’m nerdy about?” My good friend said historical memes and another one mentioned my probably uncomfortable level of obsession with All Time Low.

Moral of the story? We are all nerds about something. I cannot wait to for you to find out where your nerdiness will take you, and how stinking cool it will be when you get there.