I think the term “nerd” has a negative connotation for absolutely no reason. I take pride when someone calls me a nerd, and so should you! Nerds are typically people who are super interested in a certain topic (or several topics!) and I don’t see how that could possibly be seen as a bad thing. In fact, I want people to think that I’m super interested in almost everything I do! What’s the point in doing something you’re not interested in?
I think, by far, the nerdiest thing that people associate with me is my major; I’m a biology major. But I love my major. It is so interesting to learn about so many different things, and, plus, my major affords me the opportunity to take an active part in my learning…I can do research.
(Disclaimer! Sooo many majors give people the opportunities to do research, not just biology. My friend is a psychology major who is doing research on sexual kinks and habits, so it doesn’t have to be all super “sciencey” stuff.)
So, my botany class this semester requires a research project. Some of my friends and I decided to do something related to tree cores, or dendrochronology, and the rest is…history. We did a load of work, and then went a bit further; we were given the opportunity to present our research at the Northeast Natural History Conference, which was located in Springfield Massachusetts this year.
(Mary Brockett and I discussing our research with a fellow conference attendee.)
(We explored Springfield, Massachusetts which is where our conference was held. …It was super windy.)
So here’s some tips for how to maybe start (and eventually present!) your own research.
1.) Choose something that interests you.
Pick a thing you “nerd” out about! I’m a huge environmental person, and once my group decided to look into tree cores being influenced by climate change, I was “hooked.” Make sure you want to do something because you want to, not just because your professor wants you to. You’re going to be spending a ton of time looking further into your selected subject matter, so it should definitely be something you’re at least a little bit interested in.
(Farwa Dalawar and I are clearly super interested in tree cores, and snowfall records.)
2.) Don’t get discouraged.
Sometimes, things don’t work out the way you expected. …But, in all honesty, when do things ever go exactly as planned? If your research goes exactly as you expected, then I envy you. There are always going to be little bumps along the way, just assess the bump, work through it, and move on.
3.) Be proud of your work.
Research takes ages, and when you’re done with it you have the right to be proud of it. Even if you didn’t find the cure to some crazy horrible disease, your findings still deserve to be documented. So once you find what you find, tell people about it! Don’t feel ashamed. You have a right to brag, so do it.
(My group and my research poster is hanging in Gordon…I flail around it every so often.)
So there’s that. Find something that interests you, stick to it, and then have something to brag about. Being a researching nerd really isn’t that hard after all, is it?