The Niagara News is the community newspaper of Niagara College located in Welland and Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada. It is created and produced by the students of the Niagara College Journalism program.
Being a nerd or a geek has always been hard during school, especially in high schools that are predominantly run by jocks, which I’m sure we’ve all experienced. But at Niagara College, there’s a special group that doesn’t care if you’re geeky, or a bit strange, they accept you with open arms and a smile.
“It’s really not hard to approach a nerd and spark up a conversation about anything within the nerd culture that is prevalent such as gaming, cartoons, anime (Japanese cartoons) and comics,” says first-year General Arts student Phillip Busch. “If you like any of these things to some degree or would like to learn more about it, we are your people. A great bunch of people in our group, most are very goofy and silly, which personally helps me approach them comfortably.”
As the vice-president of Nerds and Geeks, Busch also hopes to see the club expand in the coming years with new members and events.
“We want to see our group grow. Both in numbers and in bond. I became a nerd at the tail end of the winter term and I fit right in with these guys. Many grew to love me and I grew to love many. We are family for each other and we are a warm family. We look out for each other and we want to help people feel the same way.”
Most people who are nerdy or geeky in nature are usually perceived as introverted or antisocial, but everyone starts off that way, according to Paul Pietsch, a second-year Game Development student and president of Nerds and Geeks, but end up opening themselves up and making friends, and that’s where the official slogan of their group comes in” “Where friends become family.”
“I’ve been a member for about a month,” explains Geoffrey Durward. “My first meet was the Nerds and Geeks Christmas party. I became a member because I was friends with a few of the members.
“ It’s a little weird suddenly being surrounded by people who would often be deemed or labelled as nerds. That was always something throughout my life; being called a nerd as a bullying target rather than an encouragement. It feels good to be in a group full of people who are much like yourself.”
When asked if the group was what he thought it would be when he first joined, Durward was enthusiastic in his answer.
“It was exactly what I expected, a bunch of nerds sitting around playing video and board games, talking about Magic the Gathering (which I don’t play), Pokemon, all that jazz. If you’re someone who struggles with identity and are afraid to show your true geeky self, join this group. There’s no judgment and there is a guarantee someone will stand beside you for what you love to do.”
From new member, to old member, Piestch talks about social life with the group.
“What makes it fun for me is the ‘sociability’ of people, despite being introverted, quiet, etc. If you put someone in a situation that makes them feel more comfortable, then it’s all the better. Hell, I was the same way, but I opened up and I have the entire club as friends,” Piestch states about his experiences before the group.
“That, and the events. We always have a diverse pallet for people to indulge and to learn: Movie nights for the movie nerds, Anime night for the anime nerds, and game night for the gaming nerds,” Piestch continues.
When asked what they have in store for the members in the coming months, Piestch was tight lipped about the subject, but did drop a tidbit of information.
“I can’t divulge much right now, but I do have to say that there is going to be a huge event that the Nerds and Geeks will be heavily involved in, come mid- to late-March.”
For anyone interested in joining the club, but who is too timid to approach the group, Piestch reassures people the members don’t bite.
“I always tell them to feel free to come down to our usual spot, whenever the school is open; beside the piano entrance in the Commons, across from the cafeteria doors. If they are nervous about coming down and meeting everyone, then they can attend our weekly events (or other larger events), or talk to an executive personally and arrange for them to be an ‘ambassador’ of sorts.”