Nerds Rule


Some thoughts about dating people who think too much.


Cross-registration in Corporate and Financial Accounting isn’t the only thing that goes on between Harvard and MIT. If the apple of your eye happens to be a science or engineering student a couple of miles down the Charles, or if you’re a nerd yourself, you might be familiar with a few laws of attraction that have nothing to do with electrostatics.

  1. You learn so much from each other.

In the spirit of Dean Khurana’s many speeches and missives, college is a transformative time to experience new things. Along the way, you might learn some practical things, too. And in the spirit of the Gen Ed program, you can get your significant other to ramble at you about their academic passions, which effectively makes you an honorary expert in their field of interest. After your Study of the Physical Universe, of course.

  1. You learn too much from each other.

While communicating and listening to each other is important, sometimes you just want to cuddle, and bae is too busy talking about tensors or pharmacokinetics. The passion and focus of a nerd, directed at a subject of interest that is not you, is significantly less cute. Whoever said oysters were aphrodisiacs clearly has never had to sit through a detailed explanation of oyster reproduction.

  1. Nerds give meaningful, heartfelt gifts.

Nerds are caring people, albeit ones that may care a bit more than most about circuit boards or C. elegans. They put thought into what they do. So when it comes time to celebrate a holiday or anniversary, you can almost always count on a thoughtful and personal gift from them. Bonus points if they tell you a cute story about how they were reminded of you while nerding out about something and stopped nerding out long enough to come up with the gift.

  1. The gifts you receive may be less than glamorous.

The proportion of p-set to chill in a relationship between STEM students may leave something to be desired. When the balance is tipped towards the former, you may get Valentine’s Day gifts like a mechanical pencil. They might be practical, but not something you can brag about to your friends with the pride you deserve (or want).

(In defense of the mechanical pencil, the lead advances when you shake it up and down, eliminating the need to press a button to do it. In case p-setting with bae gets a little too intense…? I’m still trying to justify this one.)

  1. They know how to have fun…

Nerds might have a reputation for always having the smartest (and most boring) plans, but when it’s time for bad ideas, nerds actually do it best. That endless creativity, combined with an endless pool of practical knowledge and access to power tools, can manifest itself in a literal Bad Ideas Fest (seriously, look it up), or something slightly less destructive.

  1. …when they remember to take breaks.

The 25-hour p-set strikes back. Just when you thought you were about to spend the weekend with your significant other, it turns out that their workload is significantly higher up on their to-do list. Even though you may be sighing and suffering in the cold, remember that you have your own p-sets and readings to do. (Or don’t. That’s too much sadness for one night.)

Audrey Effenberger ’19 ( neither confirms nor denies her personal involvement with any of the examples given.