Of course, being a Shimer student, the question I get asked the most is "why Shimer?". Next on the list is "why are you so pale if you're from Florida?" but I usually just ignore that one. So, why Shimer? My story is a little different from others. I went through high school certain to one day be a journalist. I was Editor-in-Chief of my high school newspaper and of the literary magazine. I was published in city and county papers and online. My heart was set on NYU and I had never heard of Shimer.
Then monetary complications arose and NYU was no longer an option. I was heartbroken. It was surely the end of everything, I'd have to go to a community college and live at home. This went on until I got something in the mail from Shimer. An advertisement and it spoke to me in ways even NYU hadn't. I knew that this had been the real plan all along, that my drive for NYU had been a stepping stone to get to Chicago.
After last semester, I knew this was the right choice. I knew I could thrive in no other place than at Shimer. I still plan on being a Book Editor one day, I'm just going to use a very different path to get there. I spent my Winter Break speaking at middle schools in my county about journalism, but I slipped in a little about the Great Books program as well. I'd say things like, "journalism helps you understand and appreciate the world around you, much in the way reading original texts at Shimer is helping me now" (see? I'm sneaky, like a ninja).
Coming back to the Windy City from Florida (which is also very windy) after break, it took a few days to transition back into Shimer mode. I had spent my break seeing friends and family, reading quite a bit, playing video games and swimming. Now I have to remember to bundle up before going outside (winter in SFL is a week or two long and rarely gets below 40) and to get my reading for class done before anything else.
I like the reading for my classes, honestly, I do. Even when they're not the most enjoyable things I've ever read I realize I can still get something out of them. However, I really like other things too. Things that take up way too much of my time sometimes. Things like video games.
Now, I wouldn't say I'm an addict (my roommate and friends back home may disagree) but I do enjoy several hours of sitting in front of my television screen and exercising my thumbs. I play Wii, as many students here do, but Nintendo is no longer where my loyalty lies. I am an XBox lover, through and through.
I spill blood in Call of Duty, pull pranks in Bully, crank out the music in Guitar Hero, devote days to Oblivion, and now I've become a zombie for Mass Effect 2. I love video games, and I see nothing wrong with that love--it's a healthy, happy compulsion of mine. Mostly.
I even did last semester's Writing Week project on video games. I wrote a twenty-page paper on their history and ethics. The point is, I came to Shimer to do what I love, read. But I love other things too, and that's alright. The reading takes up a lot of my time, but budgeting my time and being responsible leaves me plenty of time to give into my video game cravings too. It's all about finding the balance.