Being keen is kool

Why it’s important to remember our nerdy Year 9 selves

cam students Cambridge cambridge students Cambridge University College Freshers geek Keen Life nerd Tab the tab university

“Wow… you’re really keen” said a boy I fancied when I was 13.

Unfortunately he wasn’t referencing my pre-pubescent crush, but rather my passionate extolling the virtues of Pride and Prejudice. Needless to say, this was not the boy for me (Mr Darcy forever), and the fact that he saw my keen-factor as anything other than making me an awesome human to be around should have been a pretty clear sign that he wasn’t worth my time.

True love of all keen Austen-ians since 1995…

We’re Cantabs, and at the risk of sounding more narcissistic than usual, it’s a pretty far assumption to say that we were all the ‘keen’ ones in our pre-Cambridge lives. We were always the ones with our hands up first in class, to whom further maths was still not enough maths, the first to sign up for the sports teams and audition for all the plays. We were the ones volunteered by teachers to speak at events – just to advertise the presence of the one student who kept the school out of special measures.

In essence: we were keen little nerds at school, it got us here and we should embrace our geeky selves.Why is it then that the fear of seeming too keen persists? To those who utter the words:

“Urch! I did hardly any work this week”

“Me too! I don’t understand anything”

“I know, I’m totally failing”

I blow my big brass horn of bullshit. Please, the people who said this probably also stood in line at midnight to get the next Harry Potter instalment, made their own comic book to explain photosynthesis and were the only ones to dress up on ‘Victorian day’.

Basking in the glow of the sunrise in the library, AKA a fresher’s second home

I have no doubt that everyone at one time or another feels like they can’t keep their head above water, and that’s OK, but that’s no excuse to wash over the fact that you came out keen from day 1, and that’s pretty darn cool.

People who are keen always seem to be really happy, and why shouldn’t they be? They’re doing what they love. And in the black hole spiral of depression that Cambridge can make us feel like we’re falling into at times, it’s a good idea to remind ourselves that this really isn’t a bad life, is it?

Happy, calm but keen people are so nice to be around, and to paraphrase the immortal words of Elle Woods “happy people just don’t shoot their supervisors”. What’s more, in the (what I hope will be immortal) words of La La Land “people love what other people are passionate about” – being keen not only is cool, therefore, but it makes you cool, and who doesn’t want that?

Elle’s about as keen as they get, but no one would say she isn’t cool

So I’m calling bullshit on all those who claim not to be keen. You are, and it’s what makes you a beautiful, unique and ever-so-slightly intense (without being creepy) individual.  Embrace your inner nerd and let them show.

Talk loudly about politics in the line for hall – express those controversial opinions, and try to convert others to your peculiar way of thinking. Get up at six even though you don’t have a lecture until eleven just so that you can get all of your work done AND see the sunrise. Be passionate, be angry and most importantly be keen.

You should never be afraid to show the fire that got you here.