Tonight, my brother and I started grinding for Oni Genji. For those of you who don’t know, the challenge involves playing fifteen games of Heroes of the Storm, expires tomorrow, and rewards those who complete it with a special skin in Overwatch. Being the proactive person that I am (yeah right – I just had too much time over winter break), I had already played the requisite amount of games. In fact, I had even played some bonus ones after finding out I actually didn’t mind Heroes of the Storm. My friends play League, and now Overwatch, of course, so I hadn’t gone much past, but I had done a little. Tonight, I finished out the thirty-game reward, and my brother got half of his Genji grinding done, with a plan to do more tomorrow morning. But grinding on beginner bots has reminded me of a couple things: first, life involves grinding; and second, grinding doesn’t always have to be terrible. In fact, it can be quite fun.
Take college, for instance. In many ways, college is a grinding exercise. You build up skills and experience which you will later use to succeed at life, far more so than if you had skipped the leveling up part and gone straight into business. Some people will succeed without grinding. Others will grind and be unable to carry with it. But for most, grinding is the key to success. As my fellow League players have told me so many times, you have to farm to win.
At the same time, however, college can be a fun time of your life. If you think of it as just work and classes, that’s all it will be, but if you try to find the fun in it at the same time, you’ll find that there’s a lot more than you were originally expecting. Everyone here is roughly the same age and we share a lot in common, from political views (not always) to the places we grew up and the games we enjoy. It’s a place where friendships are just waiting to be made.
When college ceases to be solely focused on academics and becomes about the experience, it gains an infinite amount of function and appeal. This quarter alone, I am in two classes with industry professionals and taking an independent study with one of my favorite professors. When you have classes like that, anything is possible, and the research I do this quarter might actually be useful for people years down the road. What’s more, it’s something I’ll enjoy, and I wouldn’t be taking it if I was overly worried about academic performance or picking the right classes to get good grades. Instead, I’m choosing to focus on the experience, on gaining skills rather than on chasing grades, and I’m of the opinion that my studies, and my leveling up, are much the better for it.
So college, just like life, and just like a lot of games, can be a grind. But grinding is only boring if you make it that way. Add some friends and some cheese into the mix, and it can become quite entertaining. Just remember, you don’t always have to grind the same thing, and you can switch around as often as you please. Life is about gaining experience, and there are a multitude of ways you can do that – you don’t have to stick to just one job, one school, one major, or one city. Explore your options. Maybe Baron’s Keep is a nicer town than Woodsquat. Maybe silver dragons are more experience efficient than gold ones. And maybe, just maybe, you can get away with some cheese.