How Pokémon GO Helped Me Deal with Post-Grad Stress
Everyone knows Pokémon GO, the new mobile game by Niantic, has taken the world by storm. This simple game has mobilized the masses, even catching the interest of those who had never played video games before. Something that you might not be aware of is just how positive an effect this is having on people, including me.
This past May, I graduated from American University with a degree in film and media arts and marketing. Everyone knows that college is like a bubble, and the moment you graduate, that bubble is burst. Housing, bills, the job hunt and everything in between hits you like a bag of bricks. Some of us line up a job before we graduate, others get one shortly after, and some stay on the hunt longer.
I was close to being part of the first group when I interviewed with a company in Chicago. The process consisted of three phone interviews and four in-person interviews once I moved here. Given the title of this post, I am sure you know how that panned out.
The move to this big city had been difficult, to say the least. I had visited Chicago multiple times before and loved it. However, visiting a city and living in it are two completely different things. Away from my family and the friends that I had been close to for last four years, I had trouble getting used to my new surroundings. This started to change with the arrival of Pokémon GO.
At release, I had been in Chicago for over a month. I was a bit more familiar with the area, knew how to get around to notable places and the like—but wasn’t comfortable yet. I had been looking forward to GO’s release purely for the fun aspect of catching Pokémon in the real world. I hadn’t thought of what was going to affect me the most: Poké Stops.
The first time I launched the app and started walking around chasing Pokémon and those little blue squares around my neighborhood, I was surprised to see all of the places that I had missed. Even after having lived here a full thirty days. Thanks to the blue squares I later identified as Poké Stops, I started finding different restaurants and shops that I didn’t know about. Little by little, the game was mapping out a new Chicago for me.
This extended beyond my neighborhood after I picked up a job in the food business. I intended to make money while on the hunt for something bigger. Now, I was learning about different places and historical landmarks on my daily commute. Of course, I was also having fun catching Pokémon simultaneously.
Along with the Poké Stops also came the heavy social aspects of the game. For one, it’s safer and more fun to play Pokémon Go with a group of people, no matter where you are. Meeting people is one of the biggest fears people have when moving to a new city. In a way, Pokémon GO has made this easier in my experience.
Players have come together on social media, forming groups where we can all chat and plan meets to play together. Beyond that, other players have stopped me on the streets and eagerly made conversation about the game. In just two weeks, this game has changed how people interact, just as it has changed my view of life beyond the bubble I lived in for the past four years.
Even if you’ve never played any video games before, it might be worth it to give Pokémon GO a shot. Especially if you’re moving to a new city and are nervous about what’s to come. I truly believe this game has a lot to offer, and it’s only getting started—just like you.