The Insomniac Special

5 Surefire Ways to HATE Your COD experience

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The Insomniac Special

Provided by Miguel Contreras III

Provided by Miguel Contreras III

Provided by Miguel Contreras III

Miguel Contreras III, Staff Writer

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For my first year of higher education, I played video games. I attended Lourdes University in Sylvania, Ohio and I was on athletic scholarship to competitively play the popular MOBA (Multi-player online battle arena) League of Legends with their newly christened Esports program. In doing so, I achieved a bit of a dream. Although I achieved a successful GPA in high school, playing League of Legends was my passion. As is the nature of passion, mine was swift to flip upon its head.

While attending Lourdes I enjoyed a wonderful broadening of academic horizons, intricate social dilemmas and, for the first time, authentic independence.

Once again, it was a successful year. The League of Legends team reached the playoffs with its star-studded roster only falling to the tournament favorites. My name appeared on the dean’s list, and I was invited to become an upperclassman adviser to incoming freshman.

Despite the team’s success, many of us were unhappy. I no longer loved the game the same way I had before. It wasn’t only because of events that transpired directly with League of Legends and my teammates. When something consumes a life and becomes its centerpiece it affects everything else, and everything affects it.
As many inexperienced hopeless romantics do, I began at Lourdes University at the same time my relationship became long distance. Although she remained in Illinois while I studied in Ohio, I loved her unequivocally. But sometimes when two people both say, “I love you,” they don’t mean the same thing. In a perfect cascade of heartbreak she called me the same night I earned the starting Varsity position I had aspired to for so long.

“I don’t think we’re growing together; I think we’re growing apart,” she told me.

I almost wish I could’ve believed her. But when she attended a homecoming dance the next night with a “platonic date” it left little to the imagination as to why I was emotionally clobbered. Video Games have no emotions, and whether I was pretending not to be coping with the latest round of pitiful, post-breakup love loss or not, League was going to remain frustrating. The negativity of those emotions compounded with one another.

I wouldn’t lose my passion simply by the loss of that love though. It would take a year of personality conflicts and poor program management to snuff it out. Even amongst other skilled and talented teammates I was amongst the hardest of grinders. My teammates didn’t always echo that sentiment. When they did it was often through a toxic megaphone. It was enough to disillusion me with what it might be like to work with other League of Legends players further up the ladder. Some of those same teammates I had watched play at the collegiate level for years while I worked my way through high school. Before attending Lourdes, knowing I would play with them was surreal. Playing alongside them was a tragic way to watch your heroes die.

Although I suffered in other relationships, all my professors at Lourdes University were wonderful. Through our discussions exploring the abstract, the scientific, and the personal, they assisted in unearthing a zest for life in all its facets. I spent years trying to escape a mundane lifestyle, starting as a little kid playing a videogame that never wanted to grow up. I now know I don’t have to.
I’d spent the last five years in single-minded and steadfast determination to become a professional League of Legends player. That goal was the primary reason I chose Lourdes University. After it fell out of its place as the centerpiece in my life, I was forced to reconsider what career I wanted and where I wanted to study for it. Although I had studied Psychology as a surprisingly enjoyable plan B for that same year, I decided not to return. Instead, I came to the College of DuPage to reevaluate things.

It’s safe to say that, although a growing experience, I’ve struggled in my time at the College of Dupage. On top of an abysmal GPA, dropping several thousand rankings in League of Legends’ and consistently missing weekly deadlines, the counselor’s office was suggested to me almost daily. (I’m doing better now- promise.)

Nonetheless, my short-term juxtaposition of experiences could help YOU understand what steps you should take if you, too, would like to soar, spiral, burn and start anew in such spectacular fashion.

1. Desync Your Circadian Rhythm


“Sleep is for the weak.” False. Sleep is for the week. Don’t get me wrong. I get that if we didn’t have to spend 8 hours a night sleeping we would get ⅓ of our lives back, but try to think of it as paying the time forward to double your return.

However, If you’d like a fast track to suffering with withering mental stability, be sure to never go to sleep at the same time, and make sure it’s 6 hours or less before, “if I wake up now, I can get ready, drive to COD, and walk in the minute class starts!”

For those of you less inclined and looking to make a change: Let your memes rest.  They’ll be there in the morning.


2. Don’t socialize- EVER


“Trust no one, not even yourself. Everyone sucks. I’m tired of people hurting me.” If you find yourself toiling in similar social cynicism: Bravo. You’ve discovered the imperfection in humanity. If not, you may find yourself in the camp of, “I want to say hello, but my crippling social anxiety says otherwise.”

In either case, allowing cynicism or fear to dictate your relationships is a great way to find yourself in lonely, paralyzing introspection and circular thinking.

There’s a lot to do on campus. Too much really. Not to mention a comprehensive palette of personalities that can accomodate most interests, quirks, and mannerisms. Sadly, it’s not taken advantage of nearly enough.

Even if you take a chance to find your niche and miss, just remember: It’s a commuter campus the size of a small town. You can disappear and try again somewhere else.


3. It’s All About the GPA


A fellow classmate once said to me, “I hate these nursing classes, but I can’t wait to be a nurse!”

As intriguing as forcing myself through courses I don’t enjoy for the sake of a grade so I can land myself in a career field I suddenly discover I have no interest in sounds, I’ll take the scenic route.

Many students at COD maintain other academic aspirations, and consequently envision themselves requiring a specific grade point average to get there.

Where looking ahead certainly can be useful at times, rigidly confining yourself to numerical mandates could mean driving straight when life’s inevitably winding path turns left.

Classes, their credits aside, represent a stop in lifelong learning, including outside the classroom. Even classes of relative disinterest can be sources of inspiration, given the opportunity, and can lead to great discovery on a path that doesn’t have to be so straight and narrow.

But I digress, if I see or hear about one more “quadratic equation” I might throw up.


4. Only Move Your Body to Retrieve Food From the Kitchen


“I’m not lazy; I’m energy efficient.” I can appreciate practicing stillness, but when the monks did it I don’t think it was in front of a screen. In fact, for those of you unaware, if I attempted most of what they do while moving I’d find more than just my pride wounded.

This is at least in part because COD has a wonderful food court where I regularly indulge in generous servings of waffle fries and secret grilled cheese sandwiches from Subway (you didn’t hear it from me).

But I found something else while exploring the range of the domain, something terrifying- the gym. Ironic to hear from a vacating sports editor I know.

I can’t claim to be a gym rat or have regularly taken advantage of the facility, but it’s what made me realize that, with such pristine equipment at my disposal, I really had no excuse.

Exercising doesn’t have to mean trying to look like a greek Adonis or sculpt a summer six pack. Very modest amounts of activity does wonders for the mood, body and psyche. Not to mention it’s an exceptional way to manage stress.

I’ll shamelessly plug here: The entire athletic facility is free to students after being registered for 12 credit hours. Do yourself a favor.

Or, if you’re more like me and gyms aren’t your thing, doing something physically exerting but fun keeps it interesting. I’m a whirlwind of hazardous flailing limbs when I dance in my basement- but at least it makes me sweat.


5. Listen To Me


“Who is more foolish? The fool, or the one who follows the fool?” Let’s be honest, I don’t really know what I’m talking about. I’ve admitted my shortcomings for good reason: I’m just figuring things out as I go. But for better or for worse, I’m OK with that.

Your first semester, or returning semester, at COD, and perhaps beyond, is about your personal adventure and endeavors. So do it your way. Stay true to your passion, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

In the meantime, if you’re able to mine even a nugget from what I’ve written, it makes every uncertain and restless evening consuming a gluttonous quantity of waffle fries with a pen in my hand worth it.


Good luck, don’t suck, and don’t forget to keep reading!
– Miguel Angel Contreras III

P.S. Thoughts, feelings, or spontaneous schemes for world domination? Let me know!

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