To my fellow nerds,

aka why I cried in my kinesiology class.

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My college, like most colleges, offers a variety of minors and specializations to spice up your resume and add to your degree. I am pursuing a specialization in health promotion because 1) I originally wanted to pursue child life 2) I might someday want to work at the red cross, make a wish, planned parenthood, etc. 3) because hdfs covers some health topics, I only had to take two more classes to get it.

and somehow I managed to save them until the last semester of my senior year. Bad decision? Yes. But this was the only time they were available and/or fit into my schedule.

Health psych starts bright and early at 8:30 in the morning with a peppy grad student who claims she doesn’t believe in powerpoints and writes all of our notes on the blackboard. Yes, not even a white board, a black board. Collective groan from the class of (mostly) all seniors.

But then there’s kin 121- “the healthy lifestyle.” A 3 credit class that combines lecture about living healthy and exercise. I, for a brief moment, thought I would enjoy this class. “it’ll be easy” I thought, “you’ve been working out” I thought, “you aren’t in too bad of shape and you have a low BMI” I thought.

well, let me tell you, I thought wrong.

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The lecture is a brief beginning portion followed by an hour of HELL.

The very first day we walked into the gym she announced we were having a fitness test. This consisted of running a mile and a half and doing as many push ups and sit ups as we could in a minute. Excuse me, run a mile and a half? on the first day? when we have not been training AT ALL?

Basically, I finished last. And it was really embarrassing. and everyone was standing around waiting for me and heard my time.

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After I got home from class that day I began researching classes to take instead. I was dreading it THAT much. “who needs a specialization anyway? It doesn’t even show up on your diploma.”

I ended up sticking it out though, telling myself that I’m not a quitter and hoping the non-fitness test days would be better. And for a little bit, it was. The next day of class we did relay races and I did not feel too out of place.

Then today happened.

Our sadistic teacher informed us that we were playing a game of tag. A game called squirrels and nuts (yeah, I know.). Basically we all had to stand in groups of three in a line and there was a “nut” who ran trying to find a tree (but not the tree next to them) and if the squirrel tagged them they would switch places and the nut would become the squirrel. However if the nut got to the tree fast enough the person at the other end of the line had to break free and become the nut. The person in the middle knew they were safe for at least one round.

I was the squirrel SO FREAKING MUCH. And it wasn’t even entirely because I only started running last summer and everyone else in my class is a kin major or an athlete and is tall and fit as heck, but because life hates me and everyone decided to run to the opposite end of my tree. It seriously got humiliating. I would run and try to catch those fricken’ nuts but I got tired by the fourth time! I even heard a girl say to her friend “that girl in the pink shirt has been in the middle a lot…” YES. I’m AWARE. SORRY I CANT RUN A 7 MINUTE MILE LIKE YOU CAN.

I then may have claimed a water break and walked in the bathroom and cried a little bit.

Then I treated myself to pizza at the union and was all like “HA. I just ate the calories I just burned off! TAKE THAT KIN 121!”

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…..except really nobody won here. for obvious reasons.

but also:

I have never been an athletic person. I HATE competing athletically, not only because I usually end up last, but because people get mad at me if I’m on a team.

basically my life in gym class:

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Why did I cry? Because it brought back so many memories. Memories of K through 9th grade gym classes. Memories of being filled with absolute fear when it came time for gym period. So much time coming up with ways to get out of it- any way I would not have to cry, or hide behind the tall kids to avoid playing kickball, or be teased by the MEAN and heartless overly competitive boys. Sports and gym class have always made me feel incompetent, humiliated, scared, and really bad about myself. And that sucks- a lot. Also I’m pretty sure there’s no way playing squirrels and nuts is going to help me in a future career about health.

Why does all this bother me? because…

I am a nerd.

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When I was little I loved harry potter, lord of the rings, anything fantasy, and reading. Things that are now actually kind of cool, but really weren’t when I was 8 years old. I’m still a nerd. In high school I was a theatre and A/V nerd, and now I’m a academic one. I study super hard, barely ever skip class, and spend my free time planning out my future and reading four types of books: books for pleasure, books for my future career/graduating, books about relationships, and books about religion. I am allllmost at a 3.6 gpa, and the only reason I’m not there yet is because of an evil science class and an evil history professor. I realize that’s not a 4.0 or anything, but my advisor tells me it’s good so I’m just gonna believe him….

the point is:

Our society values athletes and sports far more than academics and book smarts. And there’s something really, really wrong with that. I got 4.0’s in all my classes last semester except my art class (sorry I’m not picasso.), but this is overshadowed the instant I step into that gym. In the gym, I am a failure. In the gym, I am publicly embarrassed. The reason this makes me SO angry? (angry enough that I write an entire blog post about it that has nothing to do with my blog)

Because it’s wrong. It just is. When a student does poorly in a class, no one else knows besides them and their professor. When a student fails a test, or gets the worst grade in the class, or knows the least about the topic- it’s totally ok, and totally goes unknown, under the radar. So in a setting where myself, and the rest of us nerds excel, we are not applauded and publicly patted on the back for it  (well besides maybe cords at graduation, but that’s ONE day). Even the dean’s list is relatively under cover. But do poorly in a fitness test and everybody sees. The teacher can call out your time in a run, and everyone can see the amount of pushups you did because the sheet isn’t private with your student number like the rest of the courses, but has your full name on it. People who don’t excel academically or have a bad day aren’t put down in front of their classmates- so why should I?

Why can’t I at least be given a choice of fitness? If growing up I could choose swimming, yoga, pilates, or dance I would have liked physical education classes much more. My teacher also mentioned in the lecture portion that budget cuts sometimes take out P.E. classes. I can not tell you how badly I wanted to stand up and yell “WHAT ABOUT THE ART PROGRAMS THAT ARE BEING CUT?” People complain about child obesity, but they don’t realize that this is because of a) unhealthy food options in the cafeteria or provided by parents or b) because if you don’t like sports, gym class sucks. I imagine that if you provided kids with more choices in how they are active they would choose to be active more. My high school offered such classes, but as electives. Regular gym was the requirement and could not be substituted.

We pay the top athletes millions of dollars and teachers only make about $35,000 a year. Child care workers make barely above minimum wage working long hours, doing extra work planning outside of that, and caring for the future leaders, sports stars, and people of the world.

I’m not trying to say it’s easy to be a athlete. You have to train long hours, give up much of your social life, and have a lot of pressure from society to never mess up. But they also have billions of fans, are doing something they (hopefully) love if not like, and are getting paid way more than the people that (in my opinion) really deserve it.

It just really irks me. Without athletics there would be less entertainment, less traditions, and a lot more 6’5” 300 lb men looking for jobs. But imagine a world without teachers, doctors, artists, writers, computer programmers, and so many more. Us nerds bring culture, life, excitement, health, fix things, and take care of your children. I really hope I can help change the world someday- or at least a child’s life. And honestly?

I really don’t think I deserve to be a squirrel.

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…can you guys tell I really like using gifs now?

p.s. I found this and it totally made me smile. 🙂

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