I have a secret.
Sometimes, in the middle of the night, I sneak out and go longboarding for the sole purpose of watching the LARPers on the lawn. To my knowledge, LARPing is a fairly recent phenomenon. The vast contingent of students involved has shifted campus culture into the realm of galaxies far, far away: The kids here are into Star Wars. I like the zing of lightsaber blue slicing through muggy Florida nights (Anakin’s team always seems to win). They run around like crazy, shouting and chasing each other and hatching highly impractical missions that usually end in a dogpile of epic proportions. It’s ridiculous.
But I think these kids are on to something.
As products of our high school caste system and our glossed-over media culture, we spend so much time unhappy with who we are. Too many lunches at the loser table and too many model magazines have taught us that we don’t have what it takes to be happy. They teach us that we’ve got to fix ourselves before we can be ourselves. But just like your sadistic Chemistry professor, these teachers are full of crap.
College is a time to break the bounds that imprisoned us in high school. College is a time to explore the intricate facets of who you are and find people who share them. If you’re anything like me, between visits to the Campus Rec, volunteering, and classes specifically designed to annihilate your social life, you are under more than enough stress already— don’t add to that heavy load by trying to conform to a certain image. Getting involved with a group of people on campus who share your passions can have a tremendous impact on your confidence, enjoyment of college life and even classroom performance. Instead of hiding and hating who you are, embrace what makes you, you!
The LARPers have got this down pat. For them, LARPing is more than the latest pop culture phenomenon. I’ve seen these kids around campus, and they are never happier than when they’re fully embracing an alternate Obi-wan identity…snotty skater spectators be damned.
I’m one of those skater spectators. I’d like to thank my South Florida LARPers for the truth they demonstrate nightly: Do what you love; what you love becomes who you are. And when you love who you are, it’s like inviting happiness to sit on your shoulder and sing to you all the days of your life.
From the LARPers and the longboarders alike: May the force be with you.
Lauren Potts is an NSCS member at The University of South Florida. When she’s not studying for her Mass Communications classes, she can be found longboarding, doing yoga, singing or just hanging out with friends. She also enjoys being a part of the environmental and social justice clubs on campus. She can get stoked about anything; everything is an adventure. She can be found on Twitter @laurennbrrooke.