Monday, July 29, 2013

Getting Your Geek On – The Changing Shape of Nerdiness on Campus

Getting Your Geek On PT. 1The Changing Shape of Nerdiness on Campus

   While I write this I am seated closely to one UT Student/Employee who likes the TV series called The Legend of Korra. I am also seated close to some fellow co-writers who play video games, some who go and watch the bigger Super Hero films when they are released, and I have even worked with cosplay-lovers.

   We are a fairly awesome staff, but more importantly? We are UT Tyler students and we are a rather mixed group of ages, backgrounds, interests, and even ethnic origins. Can we be viewed as a microcosm for the University of Texas at Tyler Campus as a while? Well, not exactly – our numbers are balanced out to support our capacity as a diverse writing/blogging/call team, where-as University of Texas at Tyler has a more skewed range of students per college. Still, we all represent a great ‘slice’ of what University of Texas at Tyler is.

   One of the thing I can say about the group of people I work with now is that they are very unlike the kinds of people I remember hanging out with as a kid, particularly around when I was in the 10-13 range. These people are popular ( one has a band, some go to debate tourneys, some have represented University of Texas at Tyler  etc… ) and yet they also each have hobbies and passions that ( once upon a time ) were not as popular.

   Using myself as an example, I remember when the trend of simply playing video games was not nearly as widely acceptable as it is now. While the popularity of gaming has not caused their prices to lower ( an argument for another time ), everybody plays some kind of game now, somewhere – Facebook, mobile phones, consoles, PCs, etc…  Things which were once exclusively nerdy are now openly nerdy, capable of being acceptable in public without weird looks or hushed whispers.

   But what does this have to do with being a student on campus?

   Mainly I suppose that it means you, Mr/Miss New/Incoming Student, have a lot more in common with the people around you than you might think, and that is great! The past decade has taken a lot of things we might consider as being ‘not very cool’ and propelled them to become unifying, fun elements which can help us make new friends.

   Here, these are a small list of the ‘geeky’ things that can be used to help open up new topics of conversation ---

   “Awesome Batman/Superman/Whoever T-Shirt/Keychain/Ring/Necklace. Where did you get it?”

   “Are you going to go watch The Wolverine when it comes out next week?”

Mads Mikkelsen from Hannibal. Yes, this is an excuse for
promoting the show! Don't judge me!
   “I like Felecia Day’s cameo/interview/whatever’a. Have you seen it?”

   “I like that [this actor] is doing more work now, like on the new Tv show [whatever]. You should check it out and let me know what you think!” *This one was me gushing about Hugh Dancy and Mads Mikkelsen in Hannibal

   “Oh hey, I’ve never read that book, have you checked out Cassandra Clare’s stuff? Or Neil Gaiman?”

  Loads of things exist now in the pop-culture sphere, things loved by younger students, graduate students ( I myself being a huge Green Lantern nerd, among other things ), and even our University of Texas at Tyler staff. Discuss these things you love with others. Go to the movie showing we have on campus every few months. Join some of our clubs, or make your own.

   Heck, I recently used Facebook to start a Tyler, Tx Book Club to try and connect some of my friends together who would likely never have any other reason to associate. Use social media and get out there! Meet some people and geek out!

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