I’ve been here awhile.

I started at Weber State University in fall 2015, a reluctant college student. I took courses to finish an associate’s degree until I stumbled into an Intro to Literature class and decided that, with no better prospects, I would declare an English major and run with it.

“You won’t make any money,” everyone said.

Yeah, probably.

I had some floating AP and CE credits from high school, which tanked my transfer GPA because I wasn’t as devoted to passing those courses as I should have been. However, they were good enough to let me finish a bachelor’s degree in three years, so in fall 2018, I graduated WSU with a Bachelors of English Literature in hand.

The degree has my name spelled wrong on it because I spelled my name wrong on my academic profile when I registered for college.

By 2018, I’d become a CRLA Master Tutor and had two years of editing experience under my belt due to opportunities WSU gave me, so take the “I spelled my own name wrong” as you will.

I began a Masters of English Literature the following spring because I felt like my education wasn’t complete yet. I wanted to be a literature professor because my literature professors in my undergraduate inspired me, or something heartfelt like that. You need a master’s degree minimum to be a literature professor, and, really, you need a doctoral degree.

“You’re still not going to make any money,” everyone said.

Check.

My first year of graduate school, the department hired me to teach introductory composition courses: English 1010 and 2010. I decided I hated literature and loved teaching composition and devoted myself to ensuring my master’s degree would prepare me for a doctorate program.

Doctoral program acceptance is more cutthroat than a cow falling into a river full of piranhas, so getting into one is going to be more luck than skill, but WSU has armed me with as much as it can to make me competitive, and for that, I’m grateful.

I probably won’t make any money, but that hasn’t stopped me so far.

I think what I’m supposed to do in this column, though, is get introspective about my time at WSU and come up with some valuable lessons to pass on.

I hate that crap, so instead I’m going to talk about Pokémon Go. I promise there’ll be a point.

Pokemon Go players during the Pokemon Go Fest in Chicago on July 22, 2017 (Wikimedia Commons).
Pokemon Go players during the Pokemon Go Fest in Chicago on July 22, 2017 (Wikimedia Commons).

I didn’t start playing the game when it became a global phenomenon — The Guardian reported that the game had more daily users than Twitter — back when it released in 2016.

I didn’t start playing the game when a former girlfriend and a group of friends tried to peer pressure me every day into playing so that we could raid together, a term which meant nothing to me then.

I didn’t start playing the game until May this year, when my roommate asked me to download it so he could complete a quest on the game by trading Pokémon with a friend. He told me it would take five minutes, and I could uninstall it after.

I named my character Ashfetchum69 because I think I’m hilarious. I helped my roommate complete the quest, then closed the game. But, I didn’t uninstall it, and that was probably a mistake.

Six months later, I’ve walked 210 kilometers — roughly 130 miles — with the game open and caught nearly 6,000 Pokémon. In other words, I’ve walked around 20 miles and caught about 1,000 Pokémon a month.

I’m drawing near the maximum level you can be in the game; the only thing holding me back is the exponential increase in amount of experience points you need to gain to level up.

I’m telling you all this because the game has played a nonzero part in me continuing my education.

WSU is a beautiful place to catch Pokémon and load up on useful items. There’s a Pokestop — a location you can visit in game to get items — about every three feet on campus, and Pokémon show up more than people with questionable politics do to a Joe Rogan meet-and-greet.

The game has incentivized me to go to campus every day, so I can wander around and catch Pokémon. It has kept me involved and invested in school during a time when it’s easy to check out as coronavirus cases keep rising, and it’s all too easy to become burdened with existential dread.

Instead of becoming bogged down, though, I look forward to heading up to campus every day and seeing what new Pokémon I can find.

Of course, I should probably include some other takeaways other than that I think everyone should download Pokémon Go and add me as a friend (I will carry anyone through raids).

However, you’ve all heard enough about staying positive and motivated during a pandemic, so I won’t repeat any of that. Frankly, my semester wasn’t disrupted due to the coronavirus, other than that one of my jobs has shifted work online, and we wear masks on campus now.

Find something to motivate you and use it to power through your education, particularly during the pandemic. I think that’s enough of a graduation column trope.

I love WSU, and I could not be happier to be finally graduating.

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