Gaming vs. University (it doesn’t have to be this way)

Posted by Megan on December 16, 2013

Journey to the Centre of York

Hey everyone!

Today I wanted to write about something that is near and dear to my heart – GAMING! I first became obsessed with gaming at the tender age of 4 or 5. A family friend had a Super Nintendo and I was instantly hooked (Super Mario World, anyone?). My love for Nintendo only continued as new consoles and handhelds were released. I got them all, right up until the Wii (which was kind of lame). My favourite console/handheld would be my beloved 3Ds, I still play it whenever I can. I’m definitely a Nintendo girl at heart, I’ve collected some Nintendo swag over the years and I’m still getting free prizes from my Club Nintendo membership – my walls are currently decorated with a bunch of sweet Nintendo posters!

An image of 6 framed Nintendo posters featuring Mario, Donkey Kong, and other classic characters.
All of my posters after I finished framing them. The one on the left was cut out but it’s an awesome history of Mario poster. I also have three rarer Nintendo posters coming in December-January! #GamerLife

In my early teenage years I also fell in love with PC gaming – Zoo Tycoon, Roller Coaster Tycoon, and Diablo II were some of my favourites originally. Once I learned about Sims, I was obsessed. Towards the end of my teenage years I fell in love with tons of ‘core’ games and I mostly played on the Xbox 360. Basically I love gaming, and I always have- always will. It’s hard balancing gaming (and all the different consoles) and the rest of my life, but it sure is worth it. Gaming, much like reading or watching movies, whisks you away to different realities. However it has the advantage of being interactive, and for those of us with active imaginations, it’s pretty easy to lose a couple of weeks (or more) to a great game.

Which makes it super frustrating to me when I hear my fellow students saying they have to give up gaming (or another hobby) because they need to focus solely on their academics.


You do not have to give up gaming or any other hobby to do well in school. And I don’t recommend that you do. Hobbies can provide us with creative inspiration, they are fun, they  help us develop skills, and they can also help lower or manage our stress. The important thing here, as always, is finding balance. Below are some tips and resources.

Gaming & University

  1. Remember my first Survival Tips post? I recommended a studying ratio of 45 to 15. One great way to incorporate gaming, even during exams periods, is to use your ’15’ for gaming. I realise this isn’t a lot of time depending on the type of game you are playing, but you can think of your gaming break as a reward for ’45’ of focused and productive studying. This would be particularly useful for casual games, particularly ones on your phone.
  2. I also recommended scheduling study sessions. While you are at it, why not schedule in some gaming sessions? If you use Google Calendar you can even have alerts sent to your smartphone. Just make sure  when your time slot is finished, you save the game and move on the next thing in your agenda. It’s okay if you have to get through a cut scene or something but save as soon as you can and stick with it.
  3. Did you know that York has some gaming-friendly and gaming-related clubs?! The main gaming-related club on campus is League of Legends (LoL @ York) . There is also a gaming-friendly club YAMA Anime and Manga Association. From what I’ve heard from other members, they often talk about gaming and people end up playing on their handhelds in the club office. So if you like gaming AND enjoy Anime and/or Manga, this is definitely the club for you. Don’t forget that you can also apply to start your own gaming club! And if you do, you know where to find your first member 😉
  4. Tight budget? If you are a frequent gamer, I suggest imposing a limitation on your game spending money. I’ve been guilty of rearranging my budget so that I have more money for gaming but less for stuff that is more relevant to my health and success. Don’t fall into that trap. You could buy games only if you meet your monthly academic goals or even just limit yourself – if you were buying 3-4 games a month, maybe scale that back to 1 or 2. Stick with the game that you really want and make sure you check out lots of reviews first so you know you are making a smart purchase. You can always catch up with the rest of the games during winter break and summer break, and if you aren’t worried about having the game in your collection you can always borrow from a friend who has already beaten it! Sharing is caring 😉
An image of Kirby from Kirby and the Crystal Shards 64
I named my adopted dog after this guy 🙂

Well, that’s all for now. Do you have any tips for balancing hobbies with academics? And what do you prefer to do? Balance your hobbies and schoolwork or focus solely on your schoolwork? Comment below to start an awesome discussion!



Megan is a third-year Psychology student. Follow her on her journey of self-development as she explores and ventures through campus.

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