I found this site, ironically, through the World of Warcraft official forums. I spent about an hour here reading other people's posts, and some of them, esp. those made by Medea, really struck a chord with me.
I'm a college student, in my last year. My responsibilities this year are overwhelming. In addition to normal classes, I need to write a senior thesis, and go through the job-hunt process. I started worrying about this stress-filled year from early summer!
My online-gaming addiction started when I was in high school, with Everquest. Since then, I've played DAOC, Anarchy Online, FF11, City of Heroes, ATiTD, Sims Online, and now, World of Warcraft. Just like with all the other posters, this heavy investment in the online world has severely hurt my real life.
Up to entering college, I had always been an overachiever in my real life. I was a straight A student, won international piano competitions in Washington, Italy, and Moscow, was on the swim team, math team, student council... I was so busy during high school that I did not even have an open period to eat lunch. However, looking back, I always envy how HAPPY I was during high school. I can't explain it.
The hard work paid off when I got into Harvard early action during December of my senior year in high school. Gaming had already begun to take a toll then, but I was so stuck up and bloated with pride that I used the acceptance letter as a weapon against my parents' advice. "See? I can handle it," I told them and myself. I did not realize that my entire self-esteem and self-worth hinged on the sense of achievement, that gaming was working so quickly to take away.
What followed was two absolutely disastrous years at college. The competition was much fiercer at Harvard than at high school. All around me were people who were just as smart as I was. I had never before faced such adversity in academics, and this only pushed me further towards the escapsim of MMORPGS. Long story short, I did progressively worse each term in grades that during my junior year, I had to take the entire year off to refocus work fulltime in an entry-level data-entry job. I did not choose this myself; the University Ad-Board required it of me because my grades were so bad.
I moved out of my parents' house during this time, because our relationship had by this time deteriorated so much that we could not talk without getting into an argument. Because my job did not pay that much, I could only afford an attic room in an apartment building. It was dirty, and roaches crawled out at night. It was horrible. And yet, every day when I got home from work, I played on the computer until early morning.
After fulfilling the required full-time work, I moved back in with my parents, and started volunteering at a youth center in Chinatown, teaching ESL and piano, and helping kids with their homework. This made me feel a lot better about myself, and I stopped playing games. I took summer courses, and got A's in them. This convinced the Administrative Board to readmit me in the fall, and I managed two As and two Bs in that fall semester. However, WoW released during that time, and I started playing heavily again. Looking back, I honestly belive that if I hadn't picked up WOW again, I would be much better off.
I was still living at home, commuting to school and back every day. My parents did not trust me at all. I still wanted to play, so I played mostly in the nighttime when they were asleep. Again, schoolwork suffered. During the spring semester, my dad found out that I was still playing MMORPGs and that I was dropping some homework assignments.
It was an early morning in mid-April, with the semester almost over. My dad went into a furious rage. He went to the kitchen, picked up a knife, and came at me -- I was so stunned and surprised I could not move, and just sort of fell backwards onto the floor. Still holding the knife, he came over to me and raised it in an upstroke, but did not attack. At that time I became unfrozen, and ran outside in my socks. I had never been so scared in my life. A couple minutes later, my dad came out and told me to go back inside. I ran in and called the police.
It was stressful, to say the least.
I HATE MMORPGs. I HATE THEM. I HATE THEM. They have destroyed my relationship with my parents, and put my college graduation in jepardy. And yet, I still play. All these things I have to do this year -- and yet, I still play.
Edited by: KraveChocolate at: 10/1/05 13:24