College, Basically Persona 5 on Merciless

As an avid, autistic gamer who took a gap year before college due to crippling mental health issues, you could imagine my confusion the moment I started going back to school for the sake of my education. I was prepared to be overwhelmed with a bombardment of information that would result in my inevitable drop out.

However, I never found myself meeting that fate due in part to the fact that I decided to take on college by the horns through interpreting every action I took in my day to day life as if I was playing my favorite video game that I had the pleasure of playing within my gap year: Persona 5

Cover Art for Atlus’s Persona 5 (2017)

The game of Persona 5 is based in Japan in which the player takes on the avatar of a nameless silent teenage protagonist who is tasked with the mission of correcting the evils of society alongside a group of likeminded individuals. They act as a group of “Phantom Thieves” who work in the night to correct society and protect the weak.

Other than battling enemies through complex turn based combat and dungeon crawling through palaces to achieve their goals, the thieves also carry out their daily lives as teenagers. As the protagonist, you get to choose what you do with this time whether it would be through working a part time job, deepening your bond with your friends/teammates, or studying for the upcoming exam.

Somehow my brainrot for this series connected to my college experience and assisted me in getting through it.

I think we can all agree that time is never on our side when it comes to time management, it’s the enemy of all college students as it never seems to be on our side in terms of how we manage it. It can quickly become overwhelming with countless assignments, part-time jobs, maintaining social relationships, and much more.

Within the game, it feels as though the possibilities of how you spend your time are endless. But just like life, you have deadlines for significant story events and you can only do two activities a day before your talking cat screams at you to go to bed.

However, you can easily manage time once you start prioritizing your daily activities. Create a spreadsheet of what you do through your day to day life and cut out what activities waste time and what other activities could use more time and attention. Take into account what times your brain is the most active as that has a huge factor in when you should retain the most information while studying (Ex. My brain is personally more active in the early evening). Like in game with this method, I found myself living my life happily with my friends during the afternoon while speeding through my priorities and getting what responsibilities I had within my course work done during the early evening when I’ve learned that my mind is the most active.

One must also take into account their part time jobs and when it is best for them to be scheduled. As living expenses are extremely expensive in America, it is critical for an individual to become self-sufficient and have enough money to pay for rent or food.

Always maintain a good chain of communication with your managers in order to negotiate a schedule that works for yourself and will benefit you financially. I personally registered for classes within three separate days, focusing on leaving four days open for any potential shifts. Luckily, I was able to schedule one night class, so I was able to have one morning shift and three afternoon shifts throughout the week.

This strategy resulted in me accumulating the perfect balance of hours all the while leaving wiggle room for a secondary activity later in the day after my shift is completed.

I have a solidified set of beliefs in which I believe that a human never stops improving, even personality wise. I took it upon myself to improve my guts when it comes to simply overcoming test anxiety, knowledge by educating myself in order to avoid ignorance, kindness to improve my own personal karma, etc.

Throughout the game, you can partake in over fifty different activities that can improve your social stats, giving you access to begin hanging out with characters that may need a shoulder to cry on, someone to stand up against their ex-mafia boss mother, or even curse out a government official for pushing your best friend.

The Social Stats you can improve in the game of Persona 5.

The college experience is complex and a puzzle of how you can manage your time wisely, ensuring that you have time to not only take on the beasts that await you in the exams and assignments, but to also make time to improve on your individual growth and prioritize your financial wellbeing. Persona 5 perfectly encapsulates this struggle and can even teach the player how to prioritize and sort out activities for the sake of completing their responsibilities while taking some time for themselves.

A random picture of a happy Jason Mamoa as a “requirement for this assignment” (Comp Class Kahoot! 2021)