Playing an MMO like World of Warcraft as a student drops you into a minefield of inflexible teachers and schedules, disapproving parents, unaccommodating raid schedules, and blithely tempting guildmates. Trip on any one of these drama bombs, and you're in for what we sometimes ironically refer to as "good times." Whether you're an independent college student or still working out your schedule with Mom and Dad, we'll show you how to set and stay on course while heading off the most common school/life/play issues before they strike.
If your parents are suspicious of or even dead-set against video games, your first task will be to convince them that gaming is an actual hobby deserving of their support. (If this sounds like your situation, show them why it's important that they care.) Parents today hear a lot of advice from so-called experts advising them to set hard-and-fast time limits or even categorically block kids from playing games at all. We're going to help you explain to them why those sorts of tactics miss seeing the forest for the trees.
Don't get stuck focusing on a single test, a single class, a single semester. All those people screeching at you to just log out and stay logged out until the report cards are in? Those are the people whose parents never helped them learn how to balance and manage their time, activities, and interests. The more thoughtful, reasoned approach is to team up with your parents to evaluate your entire schedule -- school, homework, extracurricular activities, a reasonable amount of physical activity, and hobbies such as gaming -- together.
Balancing games with the rest Here's the specific advice you need to keep you from slipping into the game at times that inevitably won't be compatible with real-world responsibilities. We show you what to do and what to say when your non-gaming parents don't get why you can't take out the trash right this very second or how you can plan a combined raid schedule/study schedule that gets the job done.
How to lobby your parents for more gaming time Show your parents you're ready to handle more game time. (Hint: Rep grind ahead.)
Things change once you're off to college and regulating your schedule and responsibilities is completely up to you. Brutal honesty is your best tool for staying on track. Know what your goals are so that you can articulate the habits and practices that will help you achieve them.
For a very few students, giving up the game might be the only way they can avoid the temptations to indulge in one more quest, one more boss, one more random. The vast majority of people, however, need a regular share of R&R. All work and no play leads directly to burnout and a festering resentment for responsibilities that should be your priority.
We have advice to help you develop your own plan for balance, too:
Top tips for achieving balance It's easy to forget you're not bulletproof. Consider all the basics when you're trying to figure out how to keep yourself afloat at school.
How to set priorities We'll show you how to figure out what's important and how to use that list to develop a working plan.
Consider temporary alternatives Some academic challenges simply aren't compatible with a long-term raiding schedule. Look for more flexible schedules and alternatives that keep you in the game.
Re-evaluate periodically Don't wait to bomb a test or sink an entire semester before examining what's working and what's not. The questions in this article for parents might sound preachy to your inevitably somewhat defensive ears -- but hang tough with the brutal honesty. Do you spot any signs you might have bitten off more than you're comfortably able to chew?
Dodge the drama and become that player everyone wants in their group with advice from the Drama Mamas. Remember, your mama wouldn't want to see your name on any drama. Play nice ... and when in doubt, ask the Drama Mamas at firstname.lastname@example.org.