When does someone officially become a nerd? Is it inherited, or conditioned? Do we choose to be nerds? Where does our nerdom begin?
Over the weekend, I began thinking of how I got involved in my nerdy pursuits. When I thought about these questions, it seemed like I had just fallen into a fandom without realizing how or why. All my life, I’ve been a fan of something, but pinpointing the moments when I fell in love with a fandom were a challenge. I then began to realize that, perhaps, nerdom is achieved through multiple means. But, what way led me to one fandom, and not another? The more existential my thoughts became, the more I realized that there were particular factors that led me to love certain fandoms. Once the path ways cleared, and the factors set in motion, I found myself in the strange state of nerdom. So, what are the ways that can lead someone to become a nerd? What are the factors? And, how does someone become a nerd?
Here are some ways that a person can enter a fandom:
Let’s say one of your friends loves Game of Thrones. You go over to their place one night, and they have an episode playing on the TV. You begin to watch it with your friend; after a few more episodes, you are soon hooked. You become a GoT nerd. This is what I refer to as Introductory Nerdom.
Introductory Nerdom is the process where someone is presented with a fandom by a second party, such as friends, family, or the media. The person presented with the fandom consumes it, and becomes hooked. This is the easiest process, and the most common, as everyone has to be introduced to a fandom at some point.
When I was a kid, I was introduced to Super Mario World, and the SNES, through my parents. They played it as a way to relax when I was young. Soon, I grew very fond of the SNES games, and became a fan of the console and its predecessors. If you’re around something for long enough, you eventually learn to enjoy it just as much as the person who introduced it to you.
In the case of the media introducing someone to a fandom, we can see a clear example in the latest cinematic trend: superhero movies. Because of all the exposure to characters like Captain America, Superman, and Loki, more people are being introduced into the world of comic book characters. Their stories capture the imagination of viewers, and pretty soon the viewers are dying for more. In our world today, Introductory Nerdom is a common occurrence.
There comes a time in everyone’s life where true love comes knocking. Most of the time, it’s fandom.
Along the same lines as Introductory Nerdom, Love-at-First-Sight Nerdom uses a similar process, but with a more rapid outcome. The fandom will be introduced to someone, who finds it or some aspect of it appealing, and they immediately like the fandom. Pretty soon, they’re desperate for more, and become a nerd.
Hey, we all deserve that kind of love, right?
Many nerds have their comfort fandom to help them cope when life gets tough. You would be lying to yourself if you said you don’t have one. Pretty much everyone does.
Comfort Nerdom is the process where someone finds solace, elements, and/or themes in a fandom which speaks to them on a deeper level. The fandom is usually presented to a person at a low point, and proves to be a comfort mechanism for other dreary days.
In college, I discovered one day a couple of YouTubers who brightened my day. From then on, I was hooked. In fact, during my senior year, I watched YouTube every damn day. These YouTubers were one fandom that made me happy during rough patches. It was the same case for TNG. I can’t explain what it was about them that cheered me up, but they were my go-to when I needed it most.
Did you ever love something, but didn’t know why? Have you been unable to explain why you’re so into a fandom? Then, it’s Inexplicable.
When a person loves a fandom, but the do not know fully of the origin of their nerdom, they are in an Inexplicable Nerdom. They always enjoy the fandom without questioning why they do, and can go for years without discovering the reason behind their love. I can’t fully explain when I became a Sherlock Holmes fan, or what triggered my literary passio; I do know that when I was 11, I fell for the character. I just started reading the stories and became enthralled by them.
Maybe it happened a long time ago, or you fell into it without any realization of what was going on, but you love that fandom to death, and you don’t care how or why.
When Does Nerdom Occur?
Because we grow and change throughout our lives, becoming a nerd can happen at any time. We can become involved in a fandom at one stage in our live through the aforementioned processes, and we can become disinterested with another either at the same time or later on in life. That’s the good thing about nerdom: it comes and goes as you need it.
We can become nerds at time during our lives when we need human companionship. For the shy girl who just moved to a new state, she could get involved as a way to meet new friends. Co-workers can connect through fandoms when the office becomes drab. There are so many positive applications for nerdom, and when it occurs, it’s pretty magical.
These are my own hypotheses on the origin of becoming a nerd. But, through personal experience, I believe there is something to it. What the actual explanation is, I do not know. Either way, it’s good to be a nerd, no matter how or when it happened.
What do you think? How or when did you enter nerdom? Leave a comment below and let’s discuss! And remember: sharing is caring. If you like this post, please send it along to someone who will like it, too!
Life was meant to be lived nerdily, so what are you waiting for?