5 Reasons Every College Student Should Be Playing Dungeons & Dragons

5 Reasons Every College Student Should Be Playing Dungeons & Dragons

Yes, even you.

You've probably heard of a little game called Dungeons and Dragons. It's that game nerds play, right? Wrong. I'm here to clear up some common misconceptions about D&D and show you why it's one of the healthiest things a college kid can do.

We've all got our issues, and college is a stressful time. A lot of people get overwhelmed. Now that we're deep into second semester, some people have gotten the hang of it.

But not everyone.

That's okay. I'm graduating and I never got the hang of it. What I did get, was D&D. D&D is one of my favorite ways to de-stress and not think about school for a few hours. If the phrase "I wish I was somewhere other than here." has ever crossed your mind, here are 5 reasons for you to try out some Dungeons and Dragons with accompanying gifs from Critical Roll.

1. Anyone can play D&D.

How often do you have an activity where anyone can participate? The obvious is that D&D is not about being athletic, but it goes deeper. I've played with a lot of people who each have a unique mind. Some people identify differently and are afraid of talking about that in their regular lives. Some people face mental challenges that make every day an epic quest itself. When you're playing D&D, none of that matters. The person beside you is your friend and a party member. You may argue in-game, you may bond in-game, and you'll definitely slay some monsters together, and that's all there is to it. You can be in a room with people having fun who might normally never even talk to each other.

It may take some time to find the right group for you. That's okay, and it's worth doing. No one has to be afraid of being left out. I guarantee someone, somewhere really does want to play with you. The spirit of D&D is fundamentally cooperative. It is not like online games where there has to be a winner and loser. There's nothing wrong with those games, I enjoy them too, but D&D lets everyone have fun. There's no winning D&D, and there's no losing. It's just overcoming obstacles, together.

2. D&D is more than rolling dice.

D&D is a roleplaying game which means you'll take on a character and act like you're them. Some parties will be all about combat, and more power to them, but most parties are going to involve roleplay. You don't have to be an actor, very few people are. Also, I find a lot of people have some surprising chops once they get comfortable in a group. Regardless, the characters you play are going to life-threatening situations wrought with danger and ending with huge achievements. Literally, anything is possible in D&D. In one game, I dethroned the ruling council of a city and instated myself as ruler. I became tyrannical, but my character believed he was doing it for the good of the people. That whole process involved one combat. The rest was talking and planning. My party was by my side, questioning me and ultimately forcing me to see what I had become. The challenges of D&D are little microcosms of real world conflicts, but in D&D you can always find a way out. You're never lost for too long about what to do, and you've always got friends to back you up. It's extremely cathartic after the stress of going about regular life.

Make no mistake, I'm not saying we should live in a fantasy realm and not believe our real life is real. I'm just saying life is difficult and unwinding in a world where there's always a solution helps bring calm and perspective back around to my regular life.

3. Got anger? Get D&D.

If we don't find safe ways to express anger, we blow up. No one is immune from getting upset. Bad day? How does slaying a dragon sound? How about harnessing the power of a god and smiting some fools? Like I said before, D&D is cooperative, so you get all this release without having to make anyone else feel bad. D&D gives you clear tools for dealing with situations whether they're combat or escaping prison or trying to get into a party. Unlike life, D&D doesn't have scenarios where you do everything right and you don't overcome in the end.

Plus, humans are weird. Sometimes we just get a little bloodthirsty. I'd much rather people take that out on goblins than anyone real.

4. Be someone you've always wanted to be.

Are you a fan of anything ever? Welcome to D&D where you can be anything ever. My first character ever was based on Batman and Cloud from Final Fantasy smashed together. If you're normally a quiet person, you can experiment with being really loud and belligerent or exuberant. You can do anything you want as long as you're not taking the fun away from everyone else. Who hasn't wanted to be a wizard or a superhero or a knight or a pirate? Who hasn't wondered what they would be like with a different past, or if they just decided to be different one day? D&D lets you live as whoever you can imagine. Even more fun, you've got a group living out their own characters next to you. There's probably going to be some really strange exchanges that end in tons of laughs.

5. It's just a lot of fun.

It's so easy to get invested in D&D because you're playing a character you created every aspect of. Your character is an extension of you, so the two of you succeed together. When you slay that dragon, you feel it. Your party goes nuts. You can bellow out a warcry that anyone else would make anyone else wonder about your sanity. You get to laugh with friends that you may not have ever talked to if it wasn't for the game. Bonus: It's really cheap to start. Actually, you can play it totally for free if you don't want to get to complex right away. Even a serious player only needs dice and a couple books if they want them. It's cheap, pure fun.

Just roll with it.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

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I Weigh Over 200 Lbs And You Can Catch Me In A Bikini This Summer

There is no magic number that determines who can wear a bikini and who cannot.

It is about February every year when I realize that bikini season is approaching. I know a lot of people who feel this way, too. In pursuit of the perfect "summer body," more meals are prepped and more time is spent in the gym. Obviously, making healthier choices is a good thing! But here is a reminder that you do not have to have a flat stomach and abs to rock a bikini.

Since my first semester of college, I've weighed over 200 pounds. Sometimes way more, sometimes only a few pounds more, but I have not seen a weight starting with the number "1" since the beginning of my freshman year of college.

My weight has fluctuated, my health has fluctuated, and unfortunately, my confidence has fluctuated. But no matter what, I haven't allowed myself to give up wearing the things I want to wear to please the eyes of society. And you shouldn't, either.

I weigh over 200lbs in both of these photos. To me, (and probably to you), one photo looks better than the other one. But what remains the same is, regardless, I still chose to wear the bathing suit that made me feel beautiful, and I'm still smiling in both photos. Nobody has the right to tell you what you can and can't wear because of the way you look.

There is no magic number that equates to health. In the second photo (and the cover photo), I still weigh over 200 lbs. But I hit the gym daily, ate all around healthier and noticed differences not only on the scale but in my mood, my heart health, my skin and so many other areas. You are not unhealthy because you weigh over 200 lbs and you are not healthy because you weigh 125. And, you are not confined to certain clothing items because of it, either.

This summer, after gaining quite a bit of weight back during the second semester of my senior year, I look somewhere between those two photos. I am disappointed in myself, but ultimately still love my body and I'm proud of the motivation I have to get to where I want to be while having the confidence to still love myself where I am.

And if you think just because I look a little chubby that I won't be rocking a bikini this summer, you're out of your mind.

If YOU feel confident, and if YOU feel beautiful, don't mind what anybody else says. Rock that bikini and feel amazing doing it.

Cover Image Credit: Sara Petty

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The 3 Lies You Tell Yourself When You Dismiss Someone’s Compliment

Accepting compliments graciously does not make you prideful and self-absorbed.

I will be the first to admit that I am notorious for rationalizing myself out of compliments or just straight up dismissing them.

I only found myself with a better perspective after I got outside of myself (shocking, I know). Not only did I realize how offended I would feel if someone doubted or dismissed the genuineness of my own compliment directed at them, but I realized that I have actually been lying to myself in order to justify dismissing them! Red lights.

See if you can relate to telling yourself any of these lies, and make sure you read to the end for some truth to speak over yourself instead.

1. "They’re lying."

This is my go to because it's so easy to just think this and move on, which is horrible, but, apparently, I am horrible sometimes.

Maybe you don’t sound as harsh in the way you respond. “They can’t actually mean that.” But, ultimately, you’re still telling yourself the same thing. You’re literally lying to yourself about them lying.

If you can’t see the problem here, well, then, that’s a problem.

2. "They’re just saying that to make me feel good or they just want something out of me."

This reflects bad motives on those that (chances are) are genuinely complimenting you simply because your view of yourself doesn’t allow for the heartfelt and honest kindness they’re showing to you.

Maybe you try to make it sound good, like “You’re too nice to me.”

OK, no. This isn’t some kind of personal pity party that they decided to throw for you because they were like “Aw, she actually sucks, so I should probably be nice.”

These assumptions are so insulting, not only to yourself but to those people who see the good in you and want you to see it as well.

Imagine how you would feel if someone dismissed something you said to them in this same way. It’s really rude and hurtful.

3. "I'm not talented/pretty/whatever it is they’re saying I am."

This is really the heart of the issue because none of the other assumptions would be made if you didn’t believe this lie in the first place.

We have to completely change our internal dialogue. Start speaking truth to yourself.

Accepting compliments graciously does not require you to be prideful and self-absorbed.

I'm not sure where this idea got started, but apparently, it's running rampant through the streets now.

Words of affirmation are meant to do just that and there's nothing wrong with it!

And, if you feel like you don't even have this problem, because it seems like no one feels any need to compliment you, just know that Someone already has.

Your Creator knew you and formed you perfectly in His Image according to His will and what He knew would be good.

Isaiah 43 says,

"But now, this is what the Lord says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel... you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you."

Zechariah 3:17 says,

"The Lord your God is in your midst... he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing."

And Psalm 139:14 says,

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."

We have every reason to rejoice in what God has done in and through us.

Be thankful that He has given you these words and so many others so that you can be secure in Him and what He has spoken over you, rather than being overly preoccupied with what others are or are not saying. And if they are complimenting you, be happy to accept it and return the kindness.

Speak truth in love, not lies in self-loathing.

Cover Image Credit: Photo by Mikail Duran on Unsplash

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