Games & Academics Essay
By Aaron Feng
We all have something that helps us calm down, something that relieves stress, something to enjoy. For you, it may be a nice walk, reading a book, or taking a nap. For me, it’s hopping online and gaming away while joking with my friends.
When my dad introduced me to games, it was for an entirely different reason. From kindergarten to second grade, every time I woke up I had trouble staying awake. I would eventually just fall back asleep, and this would cause me to miss the bus or be late to school, which really stressed out my parents.. Since nothing my parents tried to do was working, my dad decided to download an original game that basically everyone knew about at the time – Angry Birds! As a result, I was able to stay awake before I got to the bus stop and not be late.
Once I was out of elementary school, gaming became a hobby, and that was when I met my good friends I am still friends with today. Back then, homework and classwork weren’t hard, and I had plenty of free time to hop online to start playing games with my friends, since the only homework that was difficult at the time was math and language arts. I may have not had many A’s or very good grades, but my parents still considered it acceptable.
Middle school was different. My family told me that since I was getting into higher grades and they wanted me to have a good life, it was time to stop playing games and put all of my focus towards school work. That didn’t sit well with me and since I was quite naïve back then, I refused to oblige. My grades were doing ok but they were starting to go down a bit. My parents were quite alarmed with this and they made me do a bunch of reviews over what I had previously learned. It was extremely boring and stressful, but they thought it helped. I didn’t. My family warned me that schoolwork when I got into high school would get extremely difficult and I should get good grades while I still could. I told them I'd be fine but I wasn’t very sure when I said it. Long story short, they didn’t take it well, but my parents were also very gentle on me, so even though they never showed it, I knew they didn’t want me to turn this subject into something that would divide us and cause them to feel that it was their fault, so they gave up trying to induce me and hoped I would soon realize that they were right on my own. But the issue was that I was also very introverted, even though I have friends, I barely talk about big things with them, I only talk casually with them
“Soon” is this year when I entered high school. The work at first was okay – I was getting good and decent grades on my work, but then they took a big leap and began to teach into material that I started to struggle with. My family was there to help me out, but I could tell that they were not happy with me, and I felt that feeling when you knew you could’ve done it better, but you just refused. I know we all have – there is no point in life where we went without a single time our parents got pissed off at us and we knew it could’ve been better. If you are one of the kids who managed to get past your early childhood without getting yelled at, congratulations, you're too lucky. My parents reminded me once more that the games were the issue. And that I needed to at least slow down. This time, I thought about their words for a long time. It isn’t easy to pause what you’ve been doing ever since the first grade. And even now, as I write this essay, I have still not succeeded in pausing my gaming attitude and focusing on school. That day I went out during the evening, telling my parents I was going for a jog. Instead, I went to a small but durable dam that was separating our pond from a stream. It wasn’t quiet, but it was peaceful, and I sat there, thinking about what to do. Normally, I’d be scared to sit on that dam alone since I have Thalassophobia, Nyctophobia, and a more minor case of Monophobia. But this time, I decided to make an exception, since it was the only calm place I could think of. While sitting there, I recalled all the times my parents had told me about how much grades would impact me later on, and how I had to work hard earlier so it would be easier later. That’s when I decided I was going to start trying to put a stop to my games and begin to study and pay attention during school.
I am still trying to put a time limit on my games, and it’s not easy. Like I said, putting a halt to something you have been doing for about a decade is not an easy task. But just because something is too hard doesn’t mean it’s impossible to do. My grades started to go up as well, once I actually began to start lowering the amount of time I play my games. You can also achieve success with something you once were struggling with too, once you put down your phone, controller, or whatever it is that impedes you.