“She’s so, you know, math-y.”
“She could be the nerdiest girl in...EVER.”
“She took physics. Like, on purpose.”
We’re not naming names. We’re not tagging photos. But middle school girls, we see you...slouched in the back of math class texting each other. We see you, we know you, and some of us - nobody-in-particular-so-stop-judging - might have been you. But on behalf of sharp, successful women everywhere - the surgeons, the programmers, the engineers, the economists - we have a spoiler for you. We know how this story ends.
The nerdy girl becomes the cool girl.
Like, in a big way.
You’re seeing it already - in #girlpower movies like Hidden Figures and Queen of Katwe. It’s on your sister’s bookshelf with new releases like The Other Einstein. You’ll see it on TV with upcoming teen-tech shows like Game Shakers. And most important, you’ve witnessed it among your peers. Missed it? Check out Maanasa Mendu, who was named America’s top young scientist at 14 when her renewable energy invention won the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge. Or Kiara Nirghin, who at 16 nabbed the Google Science Fair Grand Prize by developing a safer way to fight drought.
Yeah, they were in high school at the time.
Probably not sitting in #thebackrow.
But here’s the thing - these girls were once in middle school, just like you. They went to class and hung out in study hall. Maybe they traded playlists and watched YouTube videos. Possible they ducked the cafeteria and lived on leftover halloween candy in their lockers. Btw, nothing wrong with that. The point is, they were regular teens. With regular friends.
It’s just that when they had a question, they sought an answer.
And guess where the answers were? Yep. #STEM.
Hang on, hang ON...don’t think of STEM classes (science, technology, engineering and math) as nerdy girl subjects. Think of them as tickets that get you into the best venues and in front of the rock-star thinkers. Think of organizations like Girls Who Code, Techgirlz and Stemettes (to name a few) as ushers that will put you at the front of the line with a VIP badge, because they have all the extra tools and encouragement you need. There are tons of other amazing STEM groups out there, but you’ll find them. Cool girls always know how to find each other.
Seriously, admit it - the front of the line is SO much better than slouching in the back of the classroom. That’s not really cool anymore. You know what is?
So look around and find a problem that needs solving. There are plenty these days. Then use that lightning-quick brain of yours to join the ranks of today’s teens that are changing the world by being smart girls. Remember, when you feel your curiosity getting the better of you, that’s when you’re most likely to create something that makes the world better. Engage all the resources at your disposal - take physics, join the coding club, enter the science fair. Sharpen those pencils and brandish those calculators.
Wear your nerdiness with pride.
Because at the end of the day girls, we promise...there is Simply. Nothing. Cooler.