The Inner Life of the Nerd This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

August 2, 2010
By , Plano, TX
My name is Sarah, and I am a nerd. I don't know when it happened, but sometime between my boobs growing lopsided, my skin running rampant with acne, and my hair going limp one day and never recovering, I decided that the scent of new books turned me on more than guys' cologne. And I guess one day, mathematical equations and calculators just started to be appealing. So here I am, a nerd.

Being a nerd's not all bad. You don't have to worry about which party to go to on Friday night 'cause you're not going to any of them. It doesn't take long to get ready in the morning 'cause there's nobody to impress. And, your future is basically laid out – college, cubical job where you prod at computer chips, and maybe a nerd husband if you're really lucky. Oh, and one more thing – you don't have to worry about pesky high school drama 'cause you don't have anyone to experience it with.

Okay, so maybe that doesn't sound great, but it's my life and it's what I know. The truth is, it won't change. I mean, think about it: if I weren't the nerd, who would be? The cheerleader? Please. The jock? Not likely. The emos? Ha. So, this life has already been chosen for me; it's predetermined and there's no exit sign. But I have always wondered what it would be like if fate had offered an alternative.

High school for me is like being in a glass bowl, actually a foggy glass bowl. The only things I see clearly are chalkboards and teachers. Everything else is hazy. I can make out the shapes of other students as they trudge through the halls, but I can never quite make sense of them. There is the blonde sucking her boyfriend's face. Everyone knows what she did last weekend. I want that. Not the boyfriend, the attention, or the hair – I want her confidence.

Then there's the Asian girl. Although she's bright, she's not a nerd. Being intelligent makes her well known and well liked. People know her parents would disown her if she got an A minus. She's well put together, hair tight and laces bowed neatly. The teachers adore her and no matter how much I study, I'll never know as much as she does. She's pretty much a shoe-in for any Ivy League school, and her parents are depending on that full-ride scholarship. I want that too. No, not the full ride or the smarts, but her poise. Her ability to be smart but look good doing it.

The emo artsy girl inspires me. She dresses in tutus and spiked necklaces. Nobody knows her real name, but they definitely know her. She doodles anime characters and song lyrics on her notebooks. Her back pack displays key chains and tattered ribbons. She's always with that boy and two other artsy emos. I want that. Not the key chains or the emo clan, but her creativity and dedication to her passion.

Then there's my favorite: the Converse girl. Her androgynous wardrobe gives her appeal to both sexes. The guys accept her as one of their own, and the girls fuss over how her shiny hair can look so good in a baseball cap. She drinks coffee out of a silver mug and has posters of Batman in her locker. She's a child at heart and a true chameleon, the poster child of laid back. I want that. Not the Converse, but her attitude. She doesn't care what tomorrow holds, because today's a good day anyway.

The only thing is, I'm not the confident blonde, the poised Asian girl, the creative emo, or the laidback Converse girl. I'm the nerd. I wear ill-fitting jeans and stained T-shirts. I eat lunch in the cafeteria, and I study for fun. But you know what? I'm okay with that. Because being a nerd means being myself. And that's what I want – to simply be me.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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This article has 14 comments. Post your own now!

vegetariangirl said...
Jun. 10, 2014 at 7:51 pm
You are an amazing writer!! Keep it up!!
The.YUUKI said...
May 13, 2011 at 11:23 am

Nerds unite! Although, I'm not the same nerd in the article.  I wear frilly miniskirts, love anime, own a spiked necklace, and I do nothing but read. I am emo, punk, otaku, nerd, lolita...I am a nerd of the highest calibur, because, in addition to books and school, I am always doing something  unusual. And I love it. Because, afterall, what's the point of being normal when being weird is so much fun?

And getting exam exemptions for having a straight A average is awesome too..... (more »)

madisen8 said...
Mar. 29, 2011 at 3:02 pm

She was obviously trying to explain why the stereotypes, true or untrue, were not affecting how she feels about being "nerdy".

Maybe at her school, there are nerds and loose blondes. And maybe there are brilliant asians and laid back relaxers with Converse shoes.

However, steretypes or not, I really don't think she meant to be offensive or hurtful. She was only saying how she feels about herself.

Good job, I really enjoyed reading your article(:

ThisLitIsBananas This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Dec. 30, 2010 at 1:14 pm
Ok, you ask what you would be if not a nerd. A jock? A cheerleader? Do you have to use labels? Don't be any of those things! That "emo artsy girl?" That is just offensive. Stereotypes make me sick.
Kimalima replied...
Feb. 24, 2011 at 6:48 pm
^Agreed. I don't think you can label yourself as one person; squeeze yourself into one little box. Like you said, be yourself, but dont change things about yourself to fit the 'nerd' label, and don't label others. There's more than one side of every person.
ThatBlonde said...
Dec. 21, 2010 at 1:51 pm
While I find your outlook on Highschool to be pleasant, I do not find it accurate. From what I take from this article, you don't want to be judged or changed from your "nerdy" ways.  But throughout this article you are judging these other girls in your school. The "loose" blonde girl that you talk about, may be as smart as you are. The asian girl that is "naturaly" smart probably works as hard as you do. The "emo" artsy girl could be secretly insecure about herself. Maybe the Converse weari... (more »)
sarah12 replied...
Dec. 21, 2010 at 4:00 pm

Dear ThatBlonde,

Thank you for your criticism and I would like to apologize if my article was in anyway offensive--it was meant to be quite the opposite actually. 

As you mentioned, this article represents only the attributes of the other girls that I was able to observes from the outside, which may not be the full picture of who they are.  However, this article was in no way meant to ridicule, it was meant to express the positive qualities of each girl--the qualities ... (more »)

soaringbug This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Dec. 11, 2010 at 5:26 pm
i wasn't interested at first, but then i read this in the mag, and... it was so worth it! ♥ awesome article. it's the kind that's fun, interesting, nice, and different to read.
.Boo. said...
Dec. 4, 2010 at 4:20 pm
don't listen to people like MIKE, sarah. dont ever change:)
emergingtalent said...
Dec. 2, 2010 at 4:49 pm
How can you say that? This is exactly what this article is talking about! We need to stop judging people! I am so with you nerd sister! I feel the same!
thebushhippie said...
Nov. 26, 2010 at 10:11 am
Awesome article! I feel the same way. I liked how you described the different people and their traits. I could totally picture them walking down a hallway.
Jsweetness said...
Nov. 25, 2010 at 9:12 am
Nice article=) You have really good descriptions on everything from the other students, to the nerd, to the way she sees high school. (A foggy glass bowl? Genuis! I never would have thought of it like that, but you are absolutely right=)
JennyBabe said...
Nov. 23, 2010 at 9:29 pm
I Agree. Thats Really Me. I Like To Study But I Like To Do Good Too. So Im With Ya. Im A Nerd But I Love It
MangoMadness said...
Nov. 23, 2010 at 6:58 pm
Excellent. I consider myself a nerd, probably because all my friends have labled me as such. I often wish to spend a week in the shoes of one of those other kids, from the popular blonde who's mean and allowed, to the sporty female jock best know for her volleyball skills. I'm glad you posted this.
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