Nerds can bully, too

Nisheeka Simmons, Staff Writer

I started planning for college when I was five years old. My dad told me that girls who made
good grades go the farthest, and I really took it to heart. In elementary school when most girls
were pining for the new Bratz doll, I was begging my mom to buy me a “Kritter Keeper” with a
detachable lid so that I could study what I later learned was entomology.  By the time I hit the
seventh grade, I was reading on a college Lexile level. I read Harry Potter and the Deathly
Hallows in one night.  It was obvious that I was not the average child.
I was a self-labeled nerd, and I loved it. All I talked about was school and what I had planned
next.  It made my parents happy, and, therefore, it made me happy. What I did not count on,
however, were the reactions of my peers to my scholastic prowess. It turned out that nerds were
not exactly the queen bees of the school. Add this to the fact that I have always been a chunky
kid, and things got out of hand quickly.
It started out with little snarky comments about my status as the resident bookworm.  I had
never been one for confrontation, so most of them were ignored.  Any that really bothered me
were shut down with one sentence: “I’m smarter than you, so what does that tell you?”  Needless
to say, my peers got more creative.  They went after my weight next.  I had never been
particularly bothered with my appearance, so this caught me off guard. I became very
self-conscious and wary of anyone who approached me. Was I not good enough the way I was?
The library became my second home, yet my beloved books could not help me. I started to
withdraw inside myself, but all that changed in a day when I got into an altercation with another
student. I don’t even remember what we were talking about, but I remember he called me out of
my name.  For some particular reason it pissed me off more than usual, and I punched him in the
stomach.  I almost made him cry, and that made me happy.
Fast-forward a few months, and I was the resident bully.  I was mean, petty, and physically
abusive. The only difference was that I was really sneaky about it. My nerd status gave me an in
with all the teachers and faculty members. Most of them knew me as a quiet, sweet little girl, so
when my former bullies went to them to tell on me, it fell on deaf ears. I was horrible.  I knew
everyone’s insecurities, and I would use them against them to get my way. Since I never got in
trouble, my parents had no idea about what I did at school. I was literally living a double life.  At
home I was a sweet, demure little girl, but as soon as I set foot on school grounds, I turned into
something dangerous. Luckily, that phase of my life did not last very long.
By the time I got to high school, I grew out of most of my behavioral problems.  What really
sealed the deal, however, was a conversation I had with my best friend. We had recently read a
magazine article about a girl who committed suicide after being bullied for years.  My best friend
told me that she had been bullied for a long time about the thick-framed glasses she wears to
correct her vision.  She told me about how she had always been self-conscious about her
appearance and how guarded she was when going into new relationships. She was clinically
depressed.  I could not believe that one of the prettiest and, seemingly, happiest girls I knew was
Ever since that conversation, I have been much more conscious of my actions. I have yet to
fall back into my old ways. Every now and then I say something that comes off as mean, but it’s
usually a misunderstanding.  Now, I am a huge supporter of the anti-bullying campaign.  Those
who know me now probably could not fathom that I could did such things. However, I am living
proof that nerds can bully too.  It really is the quiet ones you have to look out for.