How to Be a Nerd by lfsmj2010


									How to Be a Nerd
Bill Gates has some famous advice:"Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll
end up working for one."[1]In many ways, he's right: nerds make the world
run, if not exactly ruling the world. A nerd is someone who can be so
fascinated by quantum mechanics or punctuated equilibrium that one
forgets everything that is happening in the present. A nerd can be
someone who cares deeply about punctuation, because it has a definable
set of rules, and it helps people communicate. A nerd may be someone who
wouldn't know the first thing about asking a girl out because he thinks
that engineering is sexy. And yet, all nerds are different. Whatever your
definition of a nerd, read on for tips on how to think like a nerd, act
like a nerd, and maybe even dress like a nerd.


Part One: Thinking Like a Nerd
1Know the difference between a nerd, a geek, and a dork. If anyone would
care about the subtle distinctions between the three, it would be a nerd.
Getting the distinction down is important but not necessary, as there may
be significant overlap between the three.<
Anerdis thought to be a highly intelligent person who has a singular
passion about an academic pursuit. S/he is, rather, nonsocial or socially
awkward, being quite absorbed by a singular passion of intellect.
Ageekis thought to be an individual who is always interested in a niche
activity or subject, but who is not necessarily academically inclined nor
as socially inept as the nerd.
Adorkis thought to be slightly sillier and also socially inept, but
perhaps not interested in a niche or academic pursuit.
2Be singular. In other words, act the only way you know how, in a way all
your own. Nerds are renowned for eccentricities because they are, each,
quite unique. Live your life, every day, like it's entirely your own,
like you are the master of your own ship. If you need inspiration, read
about some famous nerds in history. Here are two short vignettes of
people, considered "nerds," who did entirely what they wanted:Thomas
Edison, for example, spent 18 hours each and every day tinkering with
rudimentary electronics at a time when it was still a relatively obscure
endeavor. Edison labored to invent the light bulb, the phonograph, the
alkaline battery, and an electric train, along with a thousand other
patents, at a time when such invention were considered mysterious and
amazing.[2][3]Edison was a quintessential nerd.
Alan Turing is another famous nerd. Half-hero, half-scapegoat, Alan
Turing is credited with helping to crack the Nazi Enigma codes at the end
of World War II, as well as playing an instrumental role in developing
the first computers of the 20th century.[4]Despite his achievements, he
was later prosecuted by the British government for a homosexual encounter
(Turing was gay) and was forced to take estrogen injections to
"neutralize his libido."[5]Turing killed himself not long after the

3Find a subject or subjects that you can immerse yourself in. It doesn't
need to be science-related, although researchers are finding that
increasingly numbers of unemotional, autistic individuals (who often
qualify as nerdy) are drawn toscience, technology, engineering and
math(STEM majors).[6]Learn as much as you can about the subjects you are
interested in, and safeguard that knowledge so that you can use it
effectively later on.
4Question, constantly. Many nerds are defined by their ability ¡ª some
say habit ¡ª to question the information they receive until they are
satisfied about its authenticity or understand the logic behind it. To be
a nerd, you must be on an insatiable quest for knowledge. To be on an
insatiable quest for knowledge, you must constantly question the quality,
source, and utility of information you receive.Don't trust information
just because it comes from an authority figure. Nerds understand that
figures of authority can sometimes get away with misleading or falsified
information simply because of their power. The difference between a nerd
and a plebe is that the nerd will pore over Bureau of Labor Statistics
numbers to see if they hold water, while the plebe takes the information
for granted.
Get to the root of things. A nerd will understand a question inside and
out. A nerd will not rely on memorized information, but rather on
understanding a concept. If a nerd asks the question"Why is the sky
blue?"and is given the answer,"Because molecules in the air scatter blue
light from the sun more than they scatter red light,"[7]her next question
will inevitably be:"Why do molecules in the air scatter blue light from
the sun more than they scatter red light?"She will continue the line of
questioning until the answer relates to something she already understands

5Fondle the details. The devil may be in the details, but that doesn't
mean you can't fondle them. (That was Vladimir Nabokov's advice to his
students.[8]) The nerd may prefer concrete details over generalizing
statements because details can be cross-checked by reality more easily
than generalities can. The nerd cares more about being right than
appearing smart, so he grabs onto details as a way of investigating
reality.No wonder, then, that nerds tend to gravitate towards thesci,
tech, eng, math, i.e.: STEM majors: STEMs deal plainly in facts and
systems observable in nature, whereas many other more subjective
disciplines lack the objective, fact-checking component.

6Go toward the gray areas. No, this is not an obscure fashion directive;
it's a way of thinking. Nerds tend to see gray areas where others see
black and white. This is because nerds are good at examining pros and
cons, comparison and contrasts, theses and rebuttals. They devalue their
own opinion and focus on the "quantifiable" facts. Sometimes, this leaves
them looking like occupational vacillators, constantly seesawing back and
forth between "sides" of an argument (arguing with themselves, it may
seem). In fact, they are gathering information and waiting for pre-
aligned, set "opinion" (conclusion) to hit them with the force of facts,
instead of forming an opinion (hypothesis) that one begins justifying by
supporting facts.There are several scientific/philosophical theories that
nerds who love the gray area reference. It might be helpful to get
familiar with just a few of them:Thomas Kuhn'sparadigm shifts: Periods of
"normal science" are interrupted by periods of "revolutionary science,"
called paradigm shifts that are relentlessly discussed and expounded
(defined, diagrammed, flow-charted, mapped, extrapolated, spanning and
forming a new amalgam, a new reality...). For STEMs adherents paradigm
shifts are entirely new, focuses of scientific thinking and
Kurt G?del'sincompleteness: It's impossible to establish consistency and
completeness inside formal logical systems. In other words, all
consistent axiomatic formulations of number theory include
propositions/assumptions that are undecidable (fundamental elements of
math include the undefined point, line, plain and space which are
nonetheless bases to define large fields of mathematics).[10]

Part Two: Acting Like a Nerd
1Lose yourself in your passion. Nerds get the reputation for being in the
clouds half the time because their minds are wandering, probing distant
places or complex correlations and equations. For this reason, don't be
afraid to be aloof, if that's who you are. Lose yourself in the
intellectual areas that make you happy and help you feel connected to the
world, even if it means you seem disconnected by the "depth" and
"displacement" involved in your internalizing a singular passion.Your
passion could be anything from cryptology to philosophy to Norse
mythology to brewing. It could be anything from morphology to acridilogy
to numismatics or philately. Whatever it is, make it a blast!
Set short- and long-term goals for yourself. The sooner you set yourself
some goals (perhaps in an outline of variable and constant parameters, a
rubric, or a protocol), the easier it will be to achieve them. Setting
absorbing goals has the benefit of being especially nerdy!

2Don't be afraid to go beyond the ordinary. Think differently. Don't be
afraid to tackle an idea or activity that isn't popular. (Realize that
you may not have a great grasp of what is popular and what isn't in the
first place. No matter!)If you found that lining your car antenna with
aluminum foil gives you better reception on the AM stations in your car,
then go for it. A nerd does not care how his car looks if the radio
station is playing properly.
If you decide that coding all night and eating grilled peanut butter and
jelly sandwiches makes your heart squeal and your tummy hum, then go for
it. A nerd does not care whether his lack of sleep and confounding diet
make him an object of mystery.
If you propose to test all your friends for an antibody not yet known to
science, then go for it. A nerd does not care whether the world doubts
her methods and challenges her findings.

3Always be learning. A nerd is on a constant quest for knowledge. A nerd
doesn't always care whether the information she receives has any utility.
The mere fact that it's simple, profound, or counter-intuitive is enough
to make it cool.
4Use the right words. Nerds are usually pretty good with words because
they care about getting things right. It doesn't hurt that they may read
more in a month than the average American reads in a year.[11]Regardless,
the misconception out there is that nerds use big words. Wrong. Nerds use
therightword given thecontext. Sometimes, the right word happens to be a
big one. Extremely smart nerds have the ability to use incredibly basic
words to explain incredibly complex subject matter.Make the dictionary
and thesaurus your friend. Whenever you come across a word you don't
know, consult the dictionary. Whenever you believe you could be using a
better word given the circumstances, consult a thesaurus.
5Read voraciously. Read everything in your area(s) of interests that you
can get your hands on, including reference books and encyclopedias. Read
and watch the news enough everyday to be informed about what's going on
beyond your community.Study several related languages. Try to pick up a
language just for kicks; or maybe because a subject your learning about
has original sources in the native tongue. Experiment with web-based
translation machines.Extra cred goes to nerds who study a "dead" or
fictional language, such as Cuman, Eyak, and Karankawa, or Elvish,
Dothraki, or Klingon.[12][13]Dead or fictional languages are exquisitely

Keep your bookshelf/ebooks stocked. Prioritize non-fiction over fiction,
although use and abuse fiction all you like if that's the only thing you
plan on reading.
Note that informative reading doesn¡¯t have to mean slogging through a
dry, unbearable textbook. For an entertaining and informative read, try
the funny physics classicSurely You¡¯re Joking, Mr. Feynman, any of Brian
Greene¡¯s very popular and accessible science bestsellers, or well-
researched historical fiction likeI, Claudius(whose unlikely hero
survives a particularly brutal period in the Roman Empire) or the
hilariousFlashmannovels (whose anti-hero is a lecherous scoundrel of the
colonial British empire).

6Pay attention in school. Try to get a seat where you can clearly hear,
see the teacher and chalkboard, and pay attention. A good goal to set for
yourself is to try getting mostly As in everything you do at school,
including homework. Take notes, study for that test, and focus. Most of
all, come to school ready to learn and try not to worry about the social
scene too much if it's uninteresting or uncomfortable.Note, however, that
just because you're a nerd doesn't mean you have to care about school.
Many nerds (Bill Gates included) either flunked out of or were close to
flunking out of school.Try some extra-curricular activities, such as
robotics or math club, chess, or drama. Try to balance your extra-
curriculars so that they don't bring your grades down.
Ask a lot of questions in class. There is no such thing as a stupid
question, remember? The only stupid question is the question you didn't
Do research above and beyond what is taught in class. Get a tutor or
mentor to help guide you in your independent study. If possible, get
extra homework problems or special teaser problems from your teacher for
your own edification.

7Channel any anger or disappointment you may have into your passions.
Nerds deal with their anger and heartbreak in a productive way: they
practice music, make art, or amend changes to their debate presentation
before they lash out at other people. Don't cut yourself down. What other
people say about you isn't necessarily who you are.
8Seek good, wholesome fun. Nerds don't need the twin crutches of
excitement and danger in order to have fun. They enjoy more wholesome
fun, such asLAN parties, watching Star Wars, or building and launching
arocket. These activities can be enjoyed alone (independence is a fine
thing) or with friends (the more the merrier!).Note: playing games like
Magic the Gathering or D&D, dressing up as your favorite characters for
movie premieres, and LARPing is more geeky than nerdy.

9Find friends with similar interests. They could be other nerds, but they
don't have to be. While geeks often navigate between social groups, nerds
are more likely to associate with other nerds, because of common
interests. Maybe if you're an abstract thinker, try to find a nerd who's
more practical or technical, and vice versa.[14]Having a friend, or a set
of friends, who complement you is as much as anyone could ask for.If you
don¡¯t know any nerds who are interested in what you do, find a community
online or try to get your own friends interested in aspects of nerdiness.
The web is increasingly becoming an important social community for nerds,
mainly because of its focus on free expression and its utility as
platform for technology.
If you're prone to being picked on or beat up, think about making a
strategic friendship with someone (preferably not a nerd) who might stick
up for you in a pinch. Maybe he gets help on his homework, and you get
muscle when you need it. Being a nerd doesn't mean you can't also be

10Be focused on the positive. You're a nerd and you know it. You're also
happy and optimistic. That's because your life is pretty good. You like
who you are, even if it doesn't seem like very many other people do.
(That's okay, they simply don't understand you.) The friends that you do
have are good people who make you feel like to be alive. Life is pretty

Part Three: Dressing Like a Nerd
1Don¡¯t worry too much about your wardrobe. The most important part of
looking like a nerd is not caring what you look like. Nerds tend to like
clothing that is efficient and comfortable. So if it just so happens that
the most worn item in your wardrobe is a pair of sweatpants with 17
pockets, so be it. Embrace it!
2Use your shirts to make nerd references or jokes. Video game characters
and superheroes, like Megaman, Mario, Superman or Sonic, are de rigeur.
Math jokes, or obscure topics (binary code, Latin, etc.) work great, too,
as do movie references.
3Rock the glasses if you can't see. Hipsters have taken the lenses from
the lows of the '90s to the rich, abundant, and suddenly cool plateaus of
the twenty-teens. No matter. If you're a nerd and you can't see a
baseball from a barnyard at two feet, wear your glasses. Your nerd
quotient will increase drastically.Pretty much, if you try make a
"fashion statement" with your clothes, however, you probably won't pull
off the nerd chic. Almost by definition, nerds don't really care what
they wear. Therefore, nerds who care what they wear aren't nerds.

4Sport some ill-fitting clothes. Nerds are known in the fashion world for
wearing clothes that do not flatter their body type and are horribly
anachronistic, probably because their clothes are hand-me-downs. So if
you're going for the nerd look, choose your wardrobe by lottery instead
of carefully fitting the outfit together.
5Dress preppy. Some nerds, but not all, have the preppy look on lock-
down. Chinos, a button-down (tucked-in, of course), a vest, and loafers,
with a hint of messiness to tie it all together. Especially when worn
during informal occasions, this style will get you pegged for a nerd in
no time.<

Learn some good computer languages. BASIC might work.
If you make mistakes in the exam, check with your teacher straight away
to know what they are, so you can correct them in the future. Bargain for
marks if you have to; there is nothing wrong in that if you are serious
about education.
Cultivate good manners. Start practicing holding the door, not putting
your elbows on the table, saying "please" and "thank you", etc.
Nerds always carry a handkerchief. They're just smart like that.
Here's a list ofsuggestionsof different types of nerds, not stereotypes;
these are sketches,not"rules":Anime/Manga nerd: a nerd who is obsessed
with Anime or Manga, and basically everything Japanese in general. Also
called 'Wapanese'. Nerds of these sorts also call themselves 'Otaku,'
which is a Japanese insult meaning 'fanatic.' (The term is not generally
recognized outside of Japan, and is used mostly by American anime and
manga fans.) The Otaku community is not just a group of rabid fans; they
are often prolific and creative fan fiction writers. Otaku often attend
anime and manga conventions, and sometimes engage in cosplay. Otaku are
generally common, and easy to find in a group of nerds.
Music nerd: also called "band geeks". These nerds got groove. They're
usually seen with their instrument of choice or silently tapping out
complicated drum rhythms.
DJ nerd - all sorts of idiots are claiming to be "DJs" nowadays - but a
true nerd will practice constantly, horde vinyl in massive quantities,
and be able to remember the artist, track name, record label, year of
release, and a million other obscure details about every record ever
released in their chosen favorite genre.
Computer nerd: these nerds are by and large considered the most helpful,
and can compile a kernel in a heartbeat. Usually seen putting the
finishing touches on a website or helping the computer-tech teacher.
Video game nerd: these nerds are becoming more common daily. Always seen
playing and competing in the latest games, they are the progenitors of
the '1337' language, and usually identify each other by conversing in it.
A sub-class of the Computer nerd.
Factoid nerd: annoying at times, but weirdly endearing. Can recite dozens
of things no one needed to know ¡ª from the full "Hamlet's Soliloquy" to
the nutritional value of goats milk (not just trivia, but things might
matter in your knowledge-base).
History nerd: Knows everything about the Renaissance, or the colonial
period of North America. Compares everyday life to historical events. Is
a historian by a young age and could beat out college students in
American Government class.
Competitive nerd: compares results, too much; may breathe loudly, and
also glance around to see who's not finished, in their marginal time --
has to be the first one done -- or else, be the last one satisfied, if it
requires depth and thoroughness.
Dorky nerd: they are gifted with a natural lack of grace and style. They
have difficulty carrying on a conversation about topics that are not
their obsession.
Drama nerd: possessed with an attitude, which is rare in other types of
nerds. They know the ins and outs of many theater arts, including dance,
mime, chorus, et cetera.
Math nerd: usually knows calculus at a young age or another form of
advanced math. They can relax during math lecture and still get A's. You
can get math nerd stuff such as tutorials on the Internet.[15]
Science nerd: initially a generalist, he/she almost always specializes in
one form of science (biology, physics, astronomy, chemistry, geology) at
a very young age and proceeds to become a super-specialist.
"Sci-Fi" nerd: a nerd who loves Star Wars, X-Files, Comics, Buffy the
Vampire Slayer, Stargate SG-1 or Stargate Atlantis, Lexx, Farsape,
ANdromeda, Doctor Who, Torchwood, Zombies and/or Star Trek.
Literature nerd: specializes in fiction, almost always seen to be reading
or composing post-modern essays. Not to be confused with poetry writers,
as often they fall under the heading of emo rather than nerd. Known to be
able to produce a notebook out of nowhere.
Speech nerd: empathize every other word. Launch randomly into friendly
lectures. Never shuts up. Speaks too passionately for this subject,
compared to the average person's disinterest.
Debate nerd: always firm in their beliefs. They do their homework on
controversial issues, so don't mess with them! They can be found in
debate clubs (obviously) and are usually holding some sort of argument
even if they're just playing devils advocate.
No-crap nerd: these nerds will not deal with other's stupidity and will
stand strong with what they know and believe. These nerds may also take
martial art, weight lifting classes, boxing, etc. to be able to stand up
and fight, a rarity among nerds.
Fabricator nerd - can design and build engineering and physics projects,
and use power tools like nobody's business. They know how to work
everything from a soldering iron to a chainsaw... sometimes without even
checking a manual. Many construction nerds are robotic nerds.
Robotics nerd - joins programs like BEST, FIRST, or other after-school
robotics clubs. They can usually work any kind of remote (and with
lightening speed) and are usually good with electronics/computers.
Rail nerd - a nerd who has an obsession with railways, usually known as a
trainspotter. Often seen at a station with a notebook, camera, or
Road nerd - Also called a road geek, these nerds specialize in roads.
They go to "road meets", and drive around a lot.
Hot nerd - The most elusive of all male nerds, due challenges in
identifying the species by sight alone. Demands a 1:1:1 ratio of cute,
funny, and intelligent. Common traits include: individual activities
(willing to separate from the pack), ability and willingness to read a
book outside of Stephen King, Michael Crichton or John Grisham, tends to
be quiet yet articulate; a subtle sense of humor and quick wit... and, of
course, cuteness.
Hippie nerd - very out there with extremely strange ways of thinking,
these tend to question tradition and always stand out.
Cool nerd - this is a social classing of a nerd, also referred to as
'popular nerds.' However, don't be deceived by the words "cool" or
"popular." These nerds still have their quirks, it just means that they
are more sociable than other nerds. Most cool nerds have a good sense of
humor and dress in an edgy, but fashionable way.
Awkward nerd - this is the second type of social classing for nerds.
These nerds can range from socially inept to just annoying, but basically
boil down to awkward (hence the name). Being awkward isn't a completely
bad thing. They have friends and meet all the requirements of being a
nerd, but they normally have less of a social life.
RPG Nerd - a nerd whose only sport is Role-Playing-Games Online. (Such as
World of Warcraft, Runescape, Civilization, Chessmaster, DragonFable,
etc.) RPG Nerds are like the A-Rod's of RPG's.

Good science-fiction and fantasy are nerdy, though you should note that
nerds are discriminating readers and, unlike some geeks, will often
choose quality over enjoyability or escapism. Nerdy sci-fi classics
include theFoundationseries,Dune,Neuromancer,The Hitchhiker's Guide to
the Galaxy, and theMarstrilogy.
Non-fiction, especially on scientific/mathematical topics, is also nerdy.
Read in your specialty ¡ª such as synthesizer music, programming ¡ª or
other computer manuals (well, manuals in general), math textbooks, and
specialty magazines or journals, likeNuts & VoltsorCinefex.
Get into gaming if you want to kill time:Portal,DragonFable,Counter
Strike,World of Warcraft,Joint Operations: Typhoon Rising, andRagnar?k
Get into classic nerd movies likeThe Princess
Bride,FireflyandSerenity,Doctor Who,Star Wars,Battlestar Galactica, the
originalTron,Twilight Zone,The Outer Limits, andStar Trek. (You might
also tryRed Dwarf,Robotech,Space 1999,Fantastic Voyage,Blake's Sevenand
other lesser known sci-fi classics that are too good for big budget
Hollywood butchering.)
Always pay attention in class or the workplace to assimilate concepts, as
you will never know whether someone will ask for help. Participate in
discussions and assist your instructor or supervision/management to
clarify any subject that you may feel needs summarizing or simplifying,
if that support seems to be somewhat appreciated.

If you constantly bully or mock someone who is less clever than you, they
could get their friends to harass you or bully back.
If you want to be a computer nerd, don't use Internet Explorer. It is too
mainstream; true nerds resent that. Good web browsers are Firefox and
Google Chrome. Never refer to either web browser by their full name, IE
FF are popular acronyms for the first two. GC to to represent Google
Chrome is outdated - use "chrome" instead
Not everyone in your life will relish your nerdiness. Some may even
taunt, boo, or try to convince you that: "No, you have it wrong..." ¡ª
nerds actually are not cool. Whatever you do, be faithful to truth,
accuracy, but do not listen to stuffy ideologues (do not be bonded to
their "routine", mundane theories).
Don't be a know-it-all all the time! If you have to point out a mistake
or a faulty logic, do it politely and discretely.
Don't become so consumed with your obsession that you lose sight of
reality. That's when you become a loser/social outcast and if you have
become that lame then you have lost sight of your true nerddom.

Related wikiHows
How to Be a Fun Nerdy Person
How to Tutor Physics for K 12

Sources and Citations
Partially based on research at 1.) with links to
other sources and related topics and
2.)http://dictionary.reference.comgives several dictionaries applicable
to you word (slang, science, medical, etc.).
intercept-from-word-problem.phpget word problem and science help at

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