People always ask me “Tim, you seem to have mastered this whole college thing. Friends, relationships, academics…how do you have it all together?”
The answer is quite simple. I’ve mastered college using the skills I learned as a Pokémon master. Nintendo taught me all the lessons I ever needed to know with the release of Pokémon Red in 1996.
People who don’t believe in fun or happiness tend to condemn Pokémon Red as a frivolous children’s game. I, as an enlightened member of society, insist the Gameboy masterpiece is as a metaphor for the struggles of human life and the importance of meaningful relationships.
Early on in my life the choice between a Squirtle, Bulbasaur or Charmander thrust itself upon me. The decision would determine my entire future. I struggled, barely sleeping and consulting multiple advisors to help me weigh the pros and cons of each one.
The starter affects the rest of the game, it determines what other Pokémon I pursue, and whether or not I would go on to defeat the Elite Four one day. I liked Bulbasaur, but was it really a practical choice? Compared to a Charmander or Squirtle, could I really defeat gym leaders with it after my training was done?
I ultimately learned that while the starter choice remained important, my effort and passion in raising my Pokémon was truly the crucial element to a successful Kanto Journey.
So when it came time to choose a major I was calm, cool, and collected. I had already played this game. I recognized economics might be more financially lucrative one day compared to classical studies and political science. However, my overall dedication and level of interest to my chosen majors were more significant to my a successful career in the real world.
Be conscious of the people you invest time in. You may venture out in the wild – or the Mods – when a Rattata appears. An inexperienced or insecure trainer may catch it, as it’s the first Pokémon to come around. After all, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of adding another notch to your Pokédex.
Soon you may realize that the Rattata is pretty common. Gossip sources tell you A LOT of other trainers have had one before. Many say it’s an easy catch. You realize that the Rattata, although at first may have had some redeeming qualities, will only evolve into a Raticate – a nasty, sleazy, ratchet Pokémon that only brings you down in your journey through Kanto.
The game permits you to carry six Pokémon. Wouldn’t you rather be on your journey with a Pikachu? Sure it may take a little more effort to find. But, it’s a cute electric type that you could one day see yourself giving a thunderstone to evolve. With 150 other options you realize that the Raticate isn’t worth it. You deserve better. So date Pikachus, not Rattatas.
Oh, and remember if you try to “catch em’ all,” you will definitely be catching something.
It would be great to own all 151 Pokémon. In fact, I highly encourage going out into the wild and exposing yourself to different environments and a wide array of creatures.
Unless you have an exorbitant amount of free time though, it’s ultimately better to focus the majority of your energy on a few Pokémon. Really get to know what makes each one of your team members special and dedicate the time to make them strong. In the end, these are the Pokémon that will help you defeat gym leaders and get those badges.
Similarly, it’s important to have deep, meaningful relationships in college. You want friends who have your back when you need them. Just like getting a Pokémon up to level 60 though, these things take time and effort.
Especially here at BC, we try to be the very best, the best there ever was. We will travel across campus searching far and wide for ways to be well rounded, highly involved and a stellar student. But when it comes down to it, most of us will fail once in a while.
Red taught me that failure only makes me stronger. When a gym leader defeated me, I learned about what moves and strategies work. I gained experience and was ready to take on the next challenge, stronger and smarter.
Sure, it’s tedious to level up some Pokémon. I know I’ve spent countless hours in O’Neill playing on my phone just to evolve a Pidgeotto. The hard work pays off though and left me with a high level team that set me up for success in the rest of my Kanto journey.
So whenever I take a tough course or struggle academically, I remember that it’s only making me stronger in the long run. It forces me to master learn time management strategies, learn where to get help and evolve into a better student.
If you want to make it in college, you better play Pokémon Red. Anyone who tells you otherwise probably works for Team Rocket.
DISCLAIMER: Consequently playing too much Pokémon in college may result in poor decision-making, suffering relationships and friendships, and poor academic marks.