Two types of nerds

The lecturer was mumbling something standing before his audience of IT students. There were plenty of empty seats in the room, because as some of my groupmates say “There are so many cool websites that can teach you programming. You don’t have to listen to this boring lecture.”

I was the one who was listening to this boring lecture. At some point I lost an interest to what the pedagogue was talking about, and my hand routinely went into the left pocket of my jeans and I fished out my phone, thinking “Let me just check my phone for a second.” [for a second. Of course.] I had a new message on Messanger.

It read: “During my first year at uni few people knew me, because I was such a nerd 😀 😀 :D.”
“I’m still a nerd,” I texted back to her, putting a winking emoji at the end of the line.

“I have a theory,” she texted. “There are two types of nerds.”
“What types?” I asked, being curious.
“A SUPER nerd and a LIGHT nerd,” she said. “For example, I used to be a super nerd. But then I figured that social life is important too.”
“What do you mean by ‘a light nerd’,” I asked her, even though I already deciphered what she implied by that term. Perhaps I did so because I simply wanted to let her express herself to the end.

“Super nerds,” she carried on. “Are those students who only study and do nothing else. They kind of live in their own worlds. You know what I mean?”
“Yeah, I know such people.”
“And light nerds are the ones who study hard and, at the same time, find time to engage in social life,” she said, adding at the end: “Networking is also important.”

Her last phrase made me thinking. I didn’t really have a firm opinion on that matter. But I figured that she was right to a certain extent. So I merely texted: “I agree”.

“Now I’m running a psychology club at uni,” she said.
“Psychology club? Wow,” I said. I was indeed amazed by that. Not everybody has the self-confidence to organize things of that sort. Last year, when I wanted to create a “Programmers club” at the Czech University [where I’m currently studying], I didn’t pull it off. Why? There are so many reasons: it was too time-consuming, it was hard to organize study rooms on a regular basis, PR issues. However, all of them are arguably simply excuses. The most honest reason is: I was not persistent enough.

Can a nerd run a university club? It depends on how you define the word “a nerd”. Is it somebody who spends 10 hours a day sitting before his/her computer reading something, rarely talking to anybody? [I’ve never seen such people, though]. They certainly cannot run the club, because they lack the social skills required for it.

So, who is a nerd? To me, a nerd is anyone who is obsessed with their job, be it drawing, engineering, programming, or communicating with customers; anyone who can spend hours and hours doing their “thing” without being bored. I suppose, Arnold Schwarzenegger is a nerd. Otherwise, how did he become so successful in sports, filming industry, and also in politics? The only explanation is that he is the ultimate nerd of his job, just like Steve Jobs.

Speaking of Mr Jobs, when he was alive he said: “A sane person will be so bored of doing the same thing over and over again, that he will give up after the first 1,000 hours. The only way for you to become an expert of your job is to fall in love with it and practice it for 10,000 hours.” I heard him saying this during one of the interviews.

When my day-dreaming was on this “hottest” point, the teacher said “That’s it for today!” and finished the lecture. I missed the whole lecture. But I didn’t regret it, because I learnt something new instead: There are two types of nerds. Super nerds. And light nerds. But which one is Arnold Schwarzenegger?

- Blogger - Programmer at German IT company - Leader of University speaking club - Fluent speaker of four languages: English, Uzbek, Russian, German - Winner of a start-up contest, becoming one of the best six start-ups in the Czech Republic in 2016