Tucked in a dusty corner next to a rarely used pair of offices, there exists a collection of magic portals to different worlds. Outsiders looking in may see a dark room filled with colorful lights after-hours. They may see a collection of chairs and monitors occupied by the smiling faces of students and faculty enjoying some time away from the books. For me, I see a home. Infinite possibilities awaiting my hands when I touch the keyboard and mouse.
It can be hard to describe exactly what gaming means to me, especially to age demographics whose understanding of the topic comes from younger members of their family. After a freshman year in college spent alone due to an ongoing pandemic, I scrambled looking for something to do with the people around me. With in-person meetings being shut down, the internet welcomed me with open arms, and I found communities thriving online in ways I never knew even existed. Even if I only wanted to play with people from my school, there were hundreds, if not thousands of my peers who I could interact and game with. After the pandemic had died down a bit, the esports lounge on campus opened and I could meet up and hangout with my friends in person. I joined one of the official teams and competed alongside them against other Pac-12 schools. On a whim, I also joined a student broadcasting group and discovered a passion for commentating over those same esports titles, much like traditional sports casters for things like football or basketball.
I had fallen in love with something that I had no idea even existed three short years ago.
Finding passion within one’s life is a struggle that basically every human on Earth can relate to. Waking up every morning just to go to your 9-5, coming home exhausted, leaving yourself with a 48-hour weekend as the only break from the daily grind, it can be exhausting. Passion for your job, for the product you create or the people you serve is a beautiful thing, but also not something that everyone is blessed with. Maybe you’re young like me and have the freedom to explore your options while still in school, perhaps you are married with kids and a busy schedule, regardless of the circumstances it is important to continue bettering yourself. It’s never too late to try something new. That bird painting class you’ve always been curious about, give it a try! Somewhere, tucked in a dusty corner, there might be something that ignites a fire in you, and the only way to find that is to keep looking.
-Eddie Peterson, Research Intern