I am going to make an argument. Here it is: you should be a nerd and become actively part of a fandom. Now, I’m going to explain why.
During the time of social isolation and fear of COVID-19, many people are turning to television, social media, films, music, video games, and books to help them get through this current state of crisis. We see Instagram and Snapchat posts with movie nights and photos Netflix screens. I know that I certainly have been burying myself in books and new series. Fantasy can be an amazing escape that allows you to both understand and begin to process the world around you...and to lose yourself in a different one. I found the most exciting thing about media works to be fandoms though.
If you have heard the word “fandom” before, then certain things probably come to mind. You most likely think of Tumblr and Comic Cons - the most commonly heard of virtual and physical gatherings of nerds. Now those things certainly have fandoms, but it goes beyond that.
For those of you who have not heard of “fandoms” before, I will explain. A fandom is “a group of fans of someone or something,especially very enthusiastic ones” (1). This is often used with “nerd culture” - you see the term commonly applied to fans of fantasy or sci-fi works (such as the Doctor Who fandom), though it can apply to anything.
We have this weird culture where being a “nerd,” “fangirl,” or “fanboy” is sometimes looked down upon. Being in a fandom (or being in the wrong fandom) is weird in many groups, though the situation has been improving over the years. I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with being enthusiastic about something you love though. Especially during a scary time such as this, that enthusiasm in life can be vitally important.
Being involved with a fandom can give you a great sense of community, since that’s exactly what they are. It can give you and your friends something to talk about. It can create a way for you to make online friends, which is ideal when we are in a time of social distancing. There are entire Facebook groups and message boards dedicated to virtually anything you can think of.
It also can lead you to creative outlets. People create fanarts and write fanfictions (some of which are later turned into actual works, as seen with the Fifty Shades of Grey series, which started out as a Twilight fanfiction). Cosplay is a huge thing that I have personally been involved with for years. That is when people create or buy costumes of characters from their favorite shows, books, video games, etc. For many, this is also helpful because it allows them to pursue creative interests with some guidance and/or motivating factor behind it. These can be great hobbies to pick up while you are stuck at home.
Lastly, just finding something that you enjoy, and are able to distract yourself with, can be really good. Don’t go overboard with binge watching or the like - remember to prioritize getting your work done, to eat/drink at proper intervals, and to get some exercise. I know that a lot of my sanity has been maintained by diverting my focus elsewhere though, escapism for a time.
I want to challenge you. Find something that you enthusiastically enjoy. Be beyond apologetic over what you enjoy. Find others who love it too. Use that positivity.