Although “nerd” might have a negative connotation to some, I would argue that it’s actually one of the best compliments someone can give. According to Urban Dictionary, a nerd is an individual who 1) enjoys learning and 2) does not adhere to social norms. Assuming this is the correct denotation of “nerd,” a nerd encapsulates two of, in my opinion, the most virtuous traits that an individual can possess. Unfortunately, additional characteristics like poor social skills and unattractiveness have come to be associated with nerds; however, this is merely incidental. Those with individuality and a love for learning should embrace those characteristics and it is too bad that our society shuns individuals with these virtues and praises the opposite.
The story goes that the origin of the word comes from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where those who did not party were referred to as “knurd” (drunk backwards). Personally, I think a cultural shift in which intellectualism and individuality were praised as opposed to ridiculed would be a very good thing. But as a true nerd (or at least one who strives to be a true nerd), it bothers me very little that they are not. It is; however, unfortunate that our innate desire to fit in during childhood causes many of us to mask our nerdiness. We neglect the characteristics that make us great in favor of drugs and alcohol or whatever else the other kids are doing. I believe that there is a nerd in all of us and the sooner we learn to embrace our nerdiness, the better off we’ll all be.