Tag Archives: College

Daily Prompt Reply: Video Games

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I was never addicted to what got in the way of my goals, though others might tell you otherwise. Thankfully, that is not me in the picture, but I swear that I’ve done similar things in the past. As if the picture didn’t give it away enough, My seeming addiction was video games. While I wasn’t addicted, I did use them as a coping mechanism to the point that I closed out the entire world and hid inside of them.

You get back from a long day’s work at college, school, or work, and what do you do? Some people watch TV, but that always struck me as dull and repetitive. Other people hang out with their friends, but for the past few years, my friends were always across the state line and had to drive 45 minutes or so to see me. Others just get right down to business and do some extra work from what they just got back from, start doing chores, and go to sleep feeling like they haven’t done enough. I feel like we can all agree that we hate being lectured by this last group like they are better than us. I’ve always been a work to play sort, anyway. Or as my father calls it, “Work to live instead of live to work,” the latter being my mother’s choice. I would get home, get any work that I needed to get done, done, and go sit down with my games. In high school, this was after I had gotten back from marching band practice, and in college I would go play backyard sports with my friends, so I didn’t really have the issue of getting fat for lack of physical activity. It didn’t seem that bad to me. The only issue was that, slowly, I started to try to do less and less work to try to get to the games faster. I started to eschew this or that, and it didn’t seem that bad. Things always seemed to work themselves out. That is, until I stopped doing certain pieces of homework altogether. When I didn’t do homework, I would feel guilty the next day and not want to look my teacher in the face. In college, this presented an issue because I could skip without the immediate fear of my mother, who was a holy terror when it came to school. I started to skip classes to finish work, but then I would skip the class intending to finish the work and never pick it up. My life became consumed with them. I even stopped playing sports with my friends because they would ask why they hadn’t seen me in class. They were just worried, but the combination of my guilt and my paranoia made it next to impossible to look at them straight. I would just sit in my dorm room for days on end playing games only coming out to pay the pizza delivery guy.

Thankfully, I don’t have this issue anymore. If I did, my father wouldn’t have me living in the same house as him. I’ve grown a lot, and frankly video games a way to hang out with my friends when they can’t drive to me and a form of competitive entertainment.

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Daily Prompt Reply: Exhale

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Today’s prompt hits me very close to home. I’m not going to be one of these bloggers that reminisce and such, so I’ll keep it as subjective as possible. Hey, maybe my experience may even help one of you out there. I can only hope…

I’ve always been a very intelligent person, and proud at that. As if you hadn’t already realized this by reading my other posts. Throughout my entire life in school all the way through high school, I had never even come close to failing a class, much less a grade. Even though I rarely made the honor roll, it was more from a lack of motivation. Whenever I tested, I tested higher than anyone else in the school, even those on the honor roll. During classes, I grasped an entire chapter from the textbook on the first day of a week-long lesson. My teachers actually got angry at me for NOT letting people cheat off of me. This may seem like me just bragging and talking about how great I am, but I’m not. I’m setting the stage for what comes next.

After I finished high school, I went to college, which is the natural course. However, I didn’t feel comfortable about it. This is a normal thing among college students. Most freshly-graduated, high school students see college as a daunting task lined with hurdles to leap over. Why wouldn’t they? All through high school, at least at the schools that I went to, we were told that college was a cut-throat place where if you didn’t flail in an attempt to swim, you would sink like a stone. While I didn’t believe all of that, I saw that I was always having to be pushed to get the small amount of homework that I did get done in the past. As I said, I wasn’t motivated. I could listen in school, never study, and still ace the test. I knew that no matter the work load, without my parents breathing down the back of my neck anymore, I was going to have issues. My father was willing to listen to these worries, but my mother wouldn’t hear it. I wanted to take a year to get my head straight, but I had $13,000 in scholarships. It’s not the most that I could have gotten, but it’s a pretty impressive amount. My mother was sure that if I didn’t take the opportunity right then, the scholarships would go away, and they might have. I couldn’t argue after that. All my life, I was told that my scholarships had to pay for college because my parents wouldn’t. Not that they couldn’t, but they wouldn’t. So I went.

When I got to college, things seemed alright. The classes were fast-paced enough to keep me involved, the people, though new and strange to me, were friendly and fun, and I was experiencing new things. I got lost in this newness partially. When the work started coming, I would do some, but it didn’t seem like a big deal. The first few assignments I didn’t even do because I couldn’t figure out the website that told us what our homework was. Essays were a nightly thing. Each class demanded a 3-page essay every time you went to class on most days. I don’t know if this is different than other college experiences, but that’s what I got. I am a very quick writer. I could write a 3-page paper that I was interested in in 15 minutes. The issue was that they had us write about these things multiple times, or they would have us write on trivial things. I lost interest, didn’t turn in a few, turned in others late. I thought my test scores would lift the slack like they always did. After a few tests, I looked at my grade. The color drained from my face when I saw the 43% on the screen. Apparently the work and the tests were weighted much differently at this college  than they were at my high school. I spoke with my teachers, and they explained that tests were quite inconsequential there. They were only there as a sort of formality or way to see what they needed to teach more of. I began not only trying to finish every project on my plate, but also everything that I had missed. Sadly, I was barely able to keep up with what I had, much less what I had let slip by. I would miss a class here so that I could finish this paper, and miss a class there so that I could finish that diorama. Eventually the teachers started looking at me sideways, as though I was the student that they didn’t want to see. I would miss a class and think, “I can’t face them after that.” A string of absences started to pull together that I could never recover from. Occasionally I would go to class to just do a test when I hadn’t been in for two weeks. I would ace the test, much to the professor’s astonishment. Then I would go back to my dorm room, and no one would see me for days. My mother lost her job. My dad fell on hard times. Now, even if I pulled things together in the second semester, I would lose enough financial aid that I couldn’t afford to stay. I became so guilty that I began to starve myself. I just wasn’t hungry. The pain of guilt that I felt overcame any hunger pain that I might have noticed. Finally, I had to tell my parents what I had been doing for the whole year, and that out of somewhere around 9 or 10 classes, I had passed two of them by the skin of my teeth. My father practically renounced me, and my mother clearly told me that she gave up on me as a person. I had nothing.

It was at the bottom of this seemingly bottomless pit that I took a breath. What could I do? I couldn’t salvage my classes. I couldn’t go back and changes what I did. I couldn’t talk or reason my way out of it. I couldn’t even manipulate people into it. What was I supposed to do? For once in my entire life, I couldn’t look to the past, and I couldn’t tactically weasel my way out of it. I was forced to look to the future. What could I do? I could move in with my father since my mother wouldn’t speak to me, much less see me or live with me  again. I could get a job to save up for community college, an idea that I loathed during high school. After I completed my required classes, I would have enough savings and aid to transfer to a good university. For once, I felt like I was in control of my own future, and my own decisions. I was calm, and I could see the light at the top of this pit, the echelon that I held myself to before college. I’m still working to get there, but I can see the light.

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