Nerd(y) Girl Secrets Finally Exposed

Nerd(y) Girl Secrets Finally Exposed

Ok… I have some thoughts on being a nerd. Almost every time I’m meeting a new student, at some point in our first few sessions I tell them I’m nerdy, dorky and geeky. They’re going to figure it out pretty quickly anyway, I’m not good at hiding it. And I wouldn’t want to hide it anyway. Like I tell my students, “nerdy” is just a word bullies use to make you feel bad about being smart. In reality, being told that you’re smart and like intellectual things is a compliment. Look at me, I love math, prefer printed books over Kindles, use paper-and-pencil planners instead of using my phone, wear onesies pretty much every minute that I’m home, and own 9 fountain pens. I have a pretty serious obsession with Microsoft Excel (a spreadsheet processor) and love Star Trek and Pixar movies. Not only am I sort of a nerd, but I even surround myself with dorky people. My best friend is a chemist and my fiance not only runs his own server, but also runs Linux on one of the computers has has put together from spare parts.

I’m a big believer that my students should get to see the real me. I’m silly and playful and sometimes dorky. They should get to see that being nerdy, dorky, or a little weird is ok.

So what if they enjoy reading my Word of the Day Pinterest board? Or, like W, have me as their math tutor because they want to learn even more math? There are amazing benefits to being a nerd and liking intellectual things!

The Up Side to Being a Nerd

School-age kids can be mean. I know, I get it. I was there (more on that in another post). But I think it’s important for my students to know that even though being dorky might stink at this age, in college and beyond nobody cares. Sometimes it can even be useful! As one of my students said, “Hey, if I have to have a tutor… having one that thinks math is cool is probably the best way to go.”

And sometimes it’s not only useful, but it can even be cool to be smart. In college, I was in a sorority! Imagine that! Granted, I was in the sorority with the highest GPA and involvement with extracurricular activities, so maybe I just ended up surrounding myself with other academically-driven women… Looking back on it, that’s most definitely the case, not that I was actually cool. But hey, now I have a job that lets me work from home most days of the week, enough discretionary time to have an art studio set up in my beautiful house in LA, and a very full life.

So maybe being a nerd isn’t such a bad thing, right?


With all my support,


Author: Stephanie Ortega

Stephanie is a behavior analyst and tutor with over a decade of experience in helping children. She creates planners and worksheets for the organizer within us all, maintains a blog, and runs two start-ups. She’s also a doodler and puppy and cat mom who enjoys travel and learning new things.

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