On The University of Southern Mississippi’s campus, there are many well-established groups, ranging from religious worship groups to academic honor societies. However, there is a much larger group without a solid face that lurks in every corner yet is rarely noticed: the Nerddom.
There are so many large groups of fans, or fandoms, who share a mutual interest in a show or game, that it is nearly impossible to cover everything with a single club or group. When combined with the introversion preferred by most fans, this can make it difficult for fellow nerds to mingle and share in their interests.
What many students do not realize is there are a number of resources available for nerds and ways to break out of the shell of introversion and into the land of Nerddom. For those interested in anime, there is an Anime Club on campus that meets each Thursday from 7 to 10 p.m. to watch anime and mingle with others who share similar interests.
“An hour before we begin, we consider this social hour,” said Amber Massey, president of the Anime Club and a junior forensic science major. “(This is) a time when friends catch up or, in the case of officers, we notice who is new in the room and introduce ourselves, whether in a case of social awkwardness or just sheer curiosity,” Massey said.
Massey encourages students who are interested in any genre of anime to attend the Involve Me! fair August 28 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and join the USM Anime Club Facebook page to receive more information about the club. “Making new friends usually starts with similar interests,” Massey said. “This is why the Anime Club exists.”
Those who may not enjoy anime but prefer gaming can look forward to the reformation of a gaming club on campus known as Game Over. While still in the formation process, this club plans to begin meeting in September and welcomes all types of games without discrimination, from card and board games to console and PC games.
For members of any fandom, be it “Doctor Who” or “Elder Scrolls” or “The Avengers,” there is a Southern Miss Fandoms facebook page run by senior elementary education major Rebecca Casey. This page promotes the coming together of all fans across campus and supports all fandoms with no discrimination.
“Everyone has something they associate with that can be included in a fandom,” Casey said. “What this group does is try to bring all of them together to celebrate and learn about the other fandoms the members are in.”
Casey also has advice on how fellow fans can meet each other on campus. “What students can do is wear something such as a t-shirt that shows that they like ‘Doctor Who’ or ‘The Avengers’ for example,” Casey said. “And when someone sees that shirt walking by they know there’s another person on campus with their same (interests).”
Casey hopes to possibly form an official club on campus for the members of this Facebook page and potentially host events on campus, ranging from a Nerf Dart war on Pride Field to a possible convention held on campus for students to attend.
Finally, for those heroes that reside in the world of comic books, Bombshell Comics is a comic book store near the intersection of 21st and Hardy in the same complex as T-Bone’s Records and Cafe that is less than five minutes away from campus. As an added bonus, the comic store offers a 10 percent student discount to anyone with an active student ID.
“Every Wednesday is new book day,” said Jason Adcock, owner of Bombshell Comics. “New merchandise ships to comic shops every Wednesday, so (on those days) we see a lot of regulars. There’s always buzz. Someone talking about the new movie that came out that weekend or the new comic that’s shipping out or TV shows like ‘Game of Thrones.’ This spot has a nice social vibe to it.”
“The biggest thing to remember is that everyone is a nerd when it comes to something,” said Jason Smith, a sophomore music education major. “Mutual nerdiness isn’t too hard to find.”
Fellow nerds, with all of these resources and support available for fans, we are all just a simple, “Hello,” away from falling in mutual nerdiness. With this in mind, do not fear the outside world anymore. Let loose your inner nerd, and please, feel free to go out into the world of the normal wearing your best fandom gear and join the Nerdvolution.