The SAGeeks series is all about celebrating the geeky and nerdy sides of all of us working in higher education and student affairs. The series is edited by Jenn Osolinski and Lynne Meyer. Check out our resources page for more geeky goodness.
I'm a geek about pretty much everything - musicals, Doctor Who, Harry Potter, Legend of Zelda, astronomy, physics, and a lot of other things. I have been this way since I was a child, obsessing over Pokemon and Sailor Moon. This led to me being a not so popular kid when I was in school. On top of being a geek about the aforementioned things, I was a teacher’s pet to boot and truly enjoyed learning everything I could. I didn’t have many friends, and was constantly bullied, not only for being nerdy, but for being fat. College changed all that - I found friends who had similar interests. College became a place where I began to discover who I truly was as a queer agender person - which ultimately led to me pursuing a career in Student Affairs.
Now, as a new student affairs professional who took a job in a new city after graduation, I struggled to find friends outside of my institution. In a strange twist of fate, my geekiness, in conjunction with my role as a student affairs professional, has helped me find friends, find a personal outlet outside of work, and find a way to let my geekiness shine.
My most recent geek discovery--and now nerdy obsession-- has been the Rocky Horror Picture Show. The first time I attended a live show was with a group of students who were on an outing with the Programming Board (yay discounted extra ticket!). After that first show, I kept going back, and eventually joined the cast. One of the things I love about my cast is our emphasis on equality and social justice themes - from gender and color blind casting for the shadow cast to audience participation lines that calls out racist/sexist/homophobic comments and lines. For me, being on cast is the first time outside of my job where I can be my full authentic self as a queer agender person. It's a place where I'm accepted just as I am, and have built amazing friendships outside of work. More than anything, I’m relieved to have peers outside of work. Beyond a “How’s work going?” conversation, I can unplug, relax, and have fun.
Authenticity is something I value, and I'm open with my students about my secret life as a Rocky Horror cast member. I only mention it if it’s relevant to the conversation, but if they were to ask I wouldn't deny it. My boss even came to support me on my first night playing a character (The Criminologist). It is a lot of fun when my students come to see the show - I don't think I'm the person they would expect to see on cast - and it gives us something unique to share. My cast has become my home outside of my institution and something I wouldn't trade anything in the world for.
So if you are ever in Atlanta on a Friday night - come see me at the Plaza Theater for the midnight show and let me share my nerdiness with you!
JLP Prince serves as the Director of Community Engagement at Agnes Scott College, a private liberal arts women’s college, in Decatur, GA. They hold a B.A. in Religious and Ethical Studies and minors in International Studies, History, and Communication from Meredith College (Raleigh, NC) and a M.A. in College Student Development from Appalachian State University (Boone, NC). JLP is a strong advocate of experiential learning within a global context and works so that all students can engage in experiential learning. They are passionate about topics surrounding social justice and equity and enjoy having dialogue around philosophy, intersectionality, and the understanding of difference. In their free time, (in addition to Rocky Horror!) you'll find JLP hammocking outside, reading a book, singing in Agnes Scott’s Collegiate Chorale, or having a grand adventure.