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Optimism, awkwardness and nerdiness

Published: April 8, 2011
Section: Opinions


With my 21st birthday looming, I have spent some time reflecting on where I am. I thought a bit about one issue I have with the news media, which is that they almost never cover positive stories, instead focusing on sensational and tragic events such as murders or kidnapping.

Columnists are often guilty of this negativity in a different way, as many of them write exclusively about negative events or problems. Shining a light on an important issue or problem is a good thing, but sometimes an optimistic column is in order. So instead of writing about the stress or problems Brandeis students deal with, I am going to write about two of our most endearing collective qualities.

I am a nerd. I have watched every season of “Battlestar Galactica” and have read “The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century” by George Friedman, which means that no amount of time spent on the basketball court or partying in the Mods will change me from being anything but a nerd.

At Brandeis, however, I am surrounded by other nerdy people like me, who have a wide range of interests. I have had great conversations with my fellow Brandeisians, such as conversations about living as a secular Jew, aeronautic black projects and a debate about the ending of “Inception.” The nerdiness of the Brandeis student body was something I realized quickly, especially after my Orientation Leader admitted that she was a nerd and that the majority of Brandeis students are as well. Many people at Brandeis that seem “cool” on the surface have a nerdy side to them. I am sure some Brandeisians would object to being called nerds, but the majority of us certainly earn the label. Being surrounded by other nerds is one of the best aspects about Brandeis, something Brandeisians from East Quad to Grad should celebrate.

When I was looking to transfer schools last winter I heard that one of the most common stereotypes about Brandeis students is how awkward they are. After I transferred to Brandeis in the fall—after being forced to go through the college admissions process twice—I can say with certainty that there is a lot of truth to the stereotype.

After all, I consider myself a somewhat awkward guy, something my friends from high school never let me forget. At Brandeis, however, I never feel more awkward than the next person, even when I am out on the weekends at a party where dancing is required. I am one of those guys with no understanding of rhythm or beat, therefore my dancing skills usually involve lots of flailing, with a big focus on just having a good time. Everyone at Brandeis has stories involving themselves or others that involve awkwardness that the rest of the world might find extreme. Instead of being embarrassed by these stories and the people in them, we should all take it as a point of pride that we are a part of a collectively-awkward student body.

Being a part of the Brandeis student body is something I have enjoyed immensely, and I plan to appreciate it for my next two years at Brandeis as well.

College is supposed to be a time to find yourself, and as I turn 21, I find myself among an amazing group of people, who may be considered awkward nerds by some, but also happen to be pretty darn cool.