If you go to any school in the world you’ll see the usual cliques: the jocks, the popular people, you know the usual. But of all the groups I encountered in high school, no group had more self-acceptance than the nerds. They didn’t care what other people thought of them because they already knew what they felt about themselves. They either had a lot of self-esteem, or it simply wasn’t an issue. Either way, these guys made it out of high school living above the influence by focusing on the 2 G’s… Grades and Gaming, and the reason I know this… is because I am one.

For us nerds, grades are important. Not only because our parents would ground us to no end if we did badly in school, but because some of the subjects that we take, we actually really like, so we’re motivated to do well. Science, Math, English (yes, writing nerds exist), among other subjects, were our bread and butter. During my senior year, I took mostly technology classes like Web Design and Technical Computer Applications, because I adore computers, tech, and how it all works. I even became a Tennessee State Champion in SkillsUSA for Technical Computer Applications. My other nerd compatriots got top honors in their technology classes as well, and passed the rest of their classes with flying colors. To us, academic success mattered enough to not take our chances with risky behaviors.

During lunch, when we had time to goof off, me and my nerd amigos went to the computer lab of our favorite teacher, Mr. Thomas, and played a modded edition of Halo: Combat Evolved. It was the best part of the school day, and united us as a band of brothers (and sisters too). I remember us all shouting  “Hadouken!” whenever we hit someone with the sticky grenade via a sniper rifle, and I miss those times. Grades came first (and they still do), but we always managed to find time to bond over a game or two.

So, here’s my advice… stop trying so hard to “fit in”  with the right group of kids. The right group is the one that will let you be yourself! Its members will share the same interests as you, support you, and motivate you to succeed. If you haven’t found it, try  talking to a nerd, or even make friends with one, because believe me… we have a lot to offer!