Op-Ed: The Quirks of Being An Outsider
A couple of years ago, I read a book called The Geeks Shall Inherit The Earth by Alexandra Robbins. The book discusses high school popularity and the quirk theory. The quirk theory states that the traits causes you to be excluded in high school are things that people will value in adulthood and outside of school.
I read this book feeling comforted because I was one of those excluded teens in high school. However, I was also skeptical. After all, how could I experience the quirk theory while attending a community college? Not only were there no clubs, but commuting made college seem more like high school (minus bullying and racial cliques).
This summer, I will be starting classes at a four-year college and I’ve reread The Geeks Shall Inherit The Earth, hoping that the quirk theory would be proven this time around. However, looking back on my community college experience, I realize that the quirk theory has already appeared in my life.
According to Robbins, the quirk theory has many traits. Here are the ones that have been validated for me in community college and outside it:
Curiosity, Love of Learning– I took an American Lit. course in 2011 that changed me as a student, poet, and person. I’ll call the instructor of that course Professor X. In that course, we were going to study part of Walt Whitman’s poem “Song of Myself”. I read the entire poem beforehand using a book from the library. I’d been writing free verse poetry since 8th grade and studying a very long poem like “Song of Myself” fascinated me. What was the big deal about it? And so, I read the poem and subsequently fell in love with it.
When the time came to study it, I was excited! I remember exclaiming, “Ooh, it’s Song of Myself!” before we read it as a class. One girl looked at me like I was weird, but Professor X grinned widely. One year later, my love of studying poetry and literature earned me a student editor position for the campus art and literature magazine.
Creativity, Originality- During the fall of 2010, I got a poem published in the campus newspaper.
Passion- I started this blog in the fall of 2011 for myself and to inform others about the things I enjoyed and disliked so much. I expected only a dozen followers and ended up getting much more.
Resilience- The fact that I made it to community college gives me a reason to be proud of myself. I survived the bullying and exclusion I experienced high school and have used what I’ve been through as inspiration for short stories and poetry. I’ve also been raising awareness about the impact of bullying through youth op-eds on this blog.
Authenticity, Self Awareness- I’ve said before that I never changed who I was in high school despite what I went through. I’m happy that I’m still myself today, even if I come across people who think I’m weird or too whatever. It is because I’ve stayed true to myself that I’ve had the other quirk theory traits admired.
I’m not going to say “it gets better.” To me, this statement implies that your entire life will always be full of happiness after high school. In fact, I’ve had to fight depression in community college. Although I’ve beaten it, I haven’t completely accepted myself yet. However, I’m still here and I’m slowly working toward my inner peace.
Instead of saying “It gets better”, I’m going to say, “It will be okay.” It may take some time to be that way. If you keep being yourself and be willing to live and share yourself with others, then you can make it.
Here is a song that keeps me strong; I hope it and my personal testimony can help others do the same.
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