Dilligence in Being Swamped

TrippinOn the one hand, I like school. I seem to have been in school for the majority of my life, and hey, why stop now, right? As such, you might know that I’m in the middle of pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Business with an Accounting focus. Sounds like fun? Depends on your perspective…

I think that those of us with college degrees often underestimate the luxury of time. You know the drill – technically, a college environment consists of prolonged adolescence, with the added bonus of no parental authority of security. Most of the time, you’d want to socialize or “experiment”, as they say, within various social circles, and this makes you an “adult”. Not that I really did any of this, since I took a commute to work for various reasons (chief among them the distance between the college and I, and secondly due to the full scholarship for four years). In between all of this foolishness, then, comes the actual classes. When you’ve got (literally) all the time in the world, a university class takes little to know effort. Procrastination makes a whole lot of sense when you’ve got until class time, and even then (in philosophy, at least) you don’t actually have to read anything if you’re good at arguing. Add that most classes that don’t quantify material never consist of final exams, and that’s the long and short of a liberal arts degree.

A business degree, however, deals with quantifiable material, and that changes things. At least in my online college program (because, seriously, who wants to drive to a classroom with a bunch of dumb kids (which, when I was age 18-21, included myself) or even has that time?), each 8 week course consists of tons of reading, homework, a test – the list goes on. The course clearly isn’t designed for an adult who wants to obtain an A in every class, I can tell you that much, and it shows. You could literally get overwhelmed with this level of work, at least in doing it well; combined with the other obligations currently on my plate, it seems like a handful, to say the least of it.

And yet, I don’t mind the egregious workload all that much. I am, by nature, a scattershot multitasker. I am not sure whether the Internet, video games, or some other media entity caused this, but I find myself flitting to and fro between various subjects all the time. Like right now, for example, I’m reading a blog called The Legendary Chicken, which is about some dude trying to hit legend rank in Hearthstone as a goal by next year, at the same time as I right this. This is why I tend to dip into a video game for a few hours, and then quit if it doesn’t hold my interest – if you can’t be engaging in a few hours, then I find it difficult to power through something too easy (like, a lot of games) or simply too wordy (Western RPGs, I am looking at you). You need a compelling hook to snag a busy adult, and that applies even in my case! The length of said game matters little, if the game itself proves fun and interesting.

That’s why I often like having to dive into several projects at once – when I do finally get to play something, it keeps me focused on a particular objective for a long period of time. I must have played Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin for 5-6 hours on Monday, which has been my only actual video game time this week (not by choice!). Despite not liking it as much as the original Dark Souls, I found it absolutely delightful this time around. I like to think of it as a reward, and having tons of alternately exciting/tedious busywork around my video game time often makes it far more enjoyable than it would be otherwise.

DSII-Scholar-of-the-First-Sin-One

The graphical upgrades ain’t half bad either!

I imagine there’s some psychological effect rummaging around my brain, surely, but I suppose that doesn’t make the situation any less valid – i.e., work can make play more enjoyable. That’s something you can miss if you don’t work quite enough. Considering I basically did nothing but book editing and video games for two months or so after constant school last year, you find out it isn’t very healthy for your mental constitution! Even if the workload hits you like a ton of bricks (and forces you to work constantly for about 10-12 hours – hey, I’m thorough), there’s always the silver lining of finishing something. Guess this explains why all those “roguelikes” hold little appeal to me, eh?

So yeah, I do feel a little exhausted figuring out statistics (in several different ways) and accounting information systems, but I honestly don’t mind doing new things that challenge me. Video games thrive on novelty, after all, and learning new subjects doesn’t stray too far from that course. Being busy might put you on edge sometimes, or make you complain (yes, complain I did, until I realized how stupid it is), but none of that will get the job done. Man was designed for work, and play as a complement to it; inverse priorities will end up in some bad places.

I guess this sort of situation makes you understand why Proverbs emphasizes work to such a degree: it’s good to do it. Doing things that are not fun is part of being a Christian, oddly enough, and that’s been something missing from American Christian evangelical efforts. People don’t find that attractive at a glance, but there’s a satisfaction to be found that you just cannot find otherwise. I believe it might come from a sense of contrast – sure, you shouldn’t work too much, but too little is just as bad (insert extended digression about challenging video games here – kidding!). God wants us to work, and this makes a lot of sense just critically analyzing my mental states.

I hope this was, at least, a little bit enlightening. You gotta be excited about work – not enjoy it, of course, but enjoy the challenge of it. It’s good for you!

The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing,
But the soul of the diligent is made fat.

Proverbs 13:4

About Zachery Oliver

Zachery Oliver, MTS, is the lead writer for Theology Gaming, a blog focused on the integration of games and theological issues. He can be reached at viewtifulzfo at gmail dot com or on Theology Gaming’s Facebook Page.