By Brandon Curry

If I were aware of the sacrifices that I would have to make my freshman year, the outcomes would certainly differ.

When learning about cost-benefit analysis in my economics class, an epiphany struck. I had spent my first year in college far more focused on a leisure activity as opposed to refining my fundamental skills in my field of learning.

In order to understand my plight, one must know the cost-benefit analysis concept. Fortunately, the concept is self-evident. For one to make a well-thought-out decision, one must understand that we sacrifice one thing to gain another. This is similar in how we make purchases and trades.

My first year of college was certainly a rough one. My background is one of hard work and grit. In my freshman year I desired to pursue a degree in architecture. I had chosen that path because I spent so much time during my primary schooling years drawing and enjoying art.

During my first year, I was unaware of the amount of unstructured free time would be a problem and that it would cause anxiety. That anxiety had me searching for the familiar, and I found it in my favorite video game: Super Smash Brothers Ultimate. This game was my solace when I had to live alone for my last year of high school.

The game had allowed me to ease my frustrations and allowed me a taste of success, as I could see the results of my efforts. There were noticeable improvements outside of the game, such as an increase in reactionary timing, a deeper attention to detail, as well as the growth in my ability to analyze.

Despite all the positives I could discover with putting in so much time and effort, I had realized I developed a gaming addiction that had caused me to lose sight of the valuable opportunity sitting in front of my face.

This issue has not been a stranger to my fellow college contemporaries, due to the pressure of learning in a Covid environment where you are encouraged to stay in. For me, it led to depression and a disappointment in myself. Yet we cannot allow our mishaps and failures to define us. As for myself, I have chosen to do another cost-benefit analysis on the situation at hand. While doing so, I learned that the university that I go to has its own e-sports Smash Ultimate community.

Within that community there are like-minded students who can enjoy the fun of the game while having advice for dealing with the stressors and costs of college life. If I were to not be so wrapped up in my head, this opportunity could have slipped right through my hands, allowing me to fall back into this interpersonal struggle.

I believe my recent analysis on costs vs benefits has been a fruitful one and I only hope that others could implore such a logical thought process. It’s also been helpful to take responsibility for the problems my choice created, such as not achieving the grade success I could have.

Not achieving good grades can cost me money in the long run – another aspect of cost-benefit analysis.

Curry is a freshman, majoring in journalism, at the University of Missouri.