I love computer games of any kind. I have my whole life. I’m typing this on my dual 24-inch monitors that are connected to my custom gaming computer I built myself.
Just this week, I have played Diablo 3, League of Legends, Skyrim and tried my hand at the new Elder Scrolls Online. I enjoyed every second.
Now, some of you will instantly think “nerd alert!” while a group of you will identify with me and think that what I do is pretty cool.
Hobbies are beautiful in the fact that they can totally transcend social structure, norms and stereotypes.
I know football players that used to sneak off after practice to play Dungeons and Dragons, fraternity presidents who build computers and played World of Warcraft for seven years (wonder who that could be) and guys who most would consider geeks, offer me some of the best sports analysis and bracket advice I’ve ever heard.
There is a problem here, however. Lots of people are ashamed to admit their hobbies because some may seem uncharacteristic for their clique or their friend groups.
This really upsets me, that people hide what they have fun doing because of the fear that other people will judge them when at the same time, there are probably millions of other people who do it.
What place does anyone have to judge someone on how they spend their spare time if it doesn’t interfere with their lives?
If some people find happiness in an unconventional way, why try to make them hide it by embarrassing them?
I’m used to being called a nerd and a geek and for the longest time I tried to hide my love for video games, computers and musical theater from my friends and even from my fraternity brothers.
Then I realized, despite the initial jesting that is bound to happen, people really don’t care as much as I thought.
People will prey on your weaknesses and if you act embarrassed about something that you enjoy, you give people the chance to break you down and judge you.
If there is something you enjoy doing, you have no reason to be embarrassed about it.
I don’t think you can truly be happy doing something if you have to hide it from the world because you don’t want some girl in class to make fun of you for having a Naruto sticker on your notebook.
This takes me back to a valuable lesson of Bullying 101.
People who feel they have to put you down in order to make themselves feel better will always be around. Ignore them. Hold up your Doctor Who notebook and think about how jealous they are that they can’t have a cool hobby like you do.
I think everyone deserves the right to pursue what makes them enjoy life. Life can kind of suck at times and anything that we can do to give it that little burst of sunshine is always a welcome treat.
Next time you think of judging someone because of a hobby that they have, remember some terrible stuff could be going on in their life and you are trashing the one thing they actually do enjoy.
There is a group that constantly sits on the first floor of the Curris Center who always brings laptops and video game systems and hooks them up to the TVs.
At the same time, they have about 10-15 friends with them who bring their Gameboys and some lay on the floor playing Magic: The Gathering. I notice them every time I walk through and sometimes hear people toss out a snide remark at them because they are doing something considered nerdy or geeky.
I have nothing but respect for that group of students who day in and day out disregard the comments, do what they love and have all their friends with them while they do it.
That’s all we really want in life, right? To be accepted, do what we love to do and do it with great company.
If any of you people from that group are reading this, keep doing your thing.
Lots of people complain about stereotypes, but do nothing to break the mold. There are so many people in this world who are scared to branch out and try new things because they are worried of how people will react to it.
Once you let the people around you choose what you do, you surrender being an individual and you become a clone.
Who wants to hang out with a group of people who only do the same things as each other and like the same stuff and reject anyone who thinks otherwise?
That doesn’t sound like a group of friends in the first place.
Remember, no matter how alone you will ever feel you will always have a hobby. People may disappoint you and will come and go in your life but hobbies can be something you hold onto for a lifetime.
Also, people will always share your hobby, so you’ll never be alone.
If you enjoy doing something, do it. There should be no qualms or questions about that.
Column by Zac Garrison Junior from Franklin, Ky.