This is the first in a series of several blog posts by guest writers we hope to run in the coming weeks and months. This post was written by Dan Gillis who runs an incredibly entertaining blog titled Consumed by Wanderlust.
Several years ago I discovered Sporcle. And by discovered, I mean that someone out there found Sporcle and passed the link to someone who knew someone who knew someone I knew. This was prior to my Twitter account, and I’m pretty sure was in the early days of me having joined Facebook. Which means I found out about Sporcle via email. It’s a little crazy to think that email used to be the prime source of spreading the awesomeness of the internet back in the day. Regardless, at some point Sporcle passed through my email inbox.
Most other websites that were sent to me came and went, holding my attention for a fleeting moment. Sporcle was different. It was simple; without flashy bits, streaming this, blinking that. It was just a list of puzzles. Puzzles about American presidents, naming the countries of the world, and other such nerdly pursuits. To put it simply, Sporcle was a complete nerd paradise. And I felt completely at home for several reasons:
- I am a self admitted nerd, and I say that without hesitation. In fact, I say that with pride. Nerd pride. Or Geek pride. Whichever flag you wish to fly is absolutely acceptable here. Sporcle is the bastion of Nerds and Geeks. A place where we can gather and compete with ourselves and others with similar interests.
- I was – at the time of discovering Sporcle – working on my Ph.D. thesis in Statistics. Taking a break from that for even a few moments always induced some sort of guilt in me. And that in turn caused stress. Which made me want to take longer breaks to relieve said stress, only to feel more guilt, and more stress; clearly a vicious cycle. Sporcle, however, allowed me to take a break, but still feel that I was doing something academic. I mean, if I were memorizing the elements of the periodic table, I wasn’t completely wasting my time. The fact that the chemistry department was to be found one office away from mine made this logic even more sound in my mind. Studying the countries of the world became essential to my degree because I was attending international conferences.
Anyway the point is that Sporcle was a refuge for me. It allowed me to relieve some of the stress of my PhD. It provided escape. It allowed me to embrace the nerd within. It satisfied my need to learn things outside the world of statistics. It taught me things I never knew. It reminded me of things I had forgotten. It was, and still is, one of my favorite websites to visit.
So, from the bottom of my Ph.D., I say thank you Sporcle. You’ve helped me out more than you can possibly know.
Dan Gillis, consumedbywanderlust.wordpress.com
Ph.D. Statistics. Assistant Professor. Wanderluster. Nerd. Runner. Biker. Yoga’er. Traveller. Not necessarily in that order.