When you know a lot of information about something unusual, usually nerdy, and express it with great enthusiasm. Urban Dictionary
I have a life-long habit of nerding out. Over the years the subjects have ranged from the films of Clark Gable, to the Plantagenet kings and queens of England, to women’s clothing in the 19th Century. I would become fascinated by these topics, reading everything I could get my hands on, and then I’d see the films, visit the castles, or recreate the clothing. I would talk about these subjects in mind-numbing detail, driving my friends and family crazy.
In the last six months, I have been nerding out over the Hamilton soundtrack (Lin-Manuel Miranda is brilliant!) and the Star Wars novels. I have lots of company in my obsession with Hamilton. It’s THE hot musical right now, and people are really into it. Since it is so popular, it doesn’t really fit the definition of nerding out.
It’s a bit more embarrassing to admit nerding out over the Star Wars novels, because it really is nerding out. The only people I can discuss the details with are my sons. Nobody I know is that interested, and while the new movies are very popular, nobody in my acquaintance is terribly interested in the minute details that fascinate me. I sometimes say that I’m reading them to keep up with my son when we talk about Star Wars, but really, it’s because I love them. By the way, I’m also up to date on both Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and Star Wars Rebels animated series. Just in case you were wondering.
Being a Nerd Rebel
I think nerding out is my little rebellion against adulting. Being an adult can be tiresome. You have to be responsible all the time, and take care of your business first. I get tired of that. So, I nerd out about a couple of specific things because it’s an acceptable way to be a rebel.
As you progress through your academic career, I encourage you to embrace your inner nerd. Give yourself permission to indulge in a little nerding out. So often we are pushed to like something according to what others have decided is attractive, worthy, or cool. Be a rebel. Like what you want to like, even if it’s unique or a little weird. Just make sure it’s you, and it enriches your life in some small way. Even if it’s just the pleasure of a small rebellion.