Dropped the Pen, Picked Up the Controller

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We have all heard the voiced opinions of the stereotypical “girl streamer” or the lack of representation of females in eSports. On a broader scale, we’ve heard of oppressed groups and discrimination. When it comes to the collegiate eSports scene,  leaders have proven to surpass these everyday challenges.

eSports was an opportunity for me – a hidden industry that came out of nowhere.

Two years ago, I was an aspiring journalist, running our school newspaper’s social media accounts while maintaining a lifelong, avid love for video games. One day, an acquaintance stumbled upon the Cal State Long Beach eSports Association during Week of Welcome and said, “I’d like to join, let’s go check this out.”

In those weeks leading up to our school’s annual gaming event, BeachCon, I became an observer and a newcomer in the eSports space – from watching the fighting gamers laugh at each other in one moment and then intently battle each other the next, to the PC gamers taking a break from their computer screens to get to know one another. I saw the many pros about our community, yet noticed the organization’s underlying issues beyond the illusion – issues that I wanted to surpass.

When the end of the school year came by, I made a decision that changed my life forever: I left all of my previous ambitions behind and replaced them for a leadership position within collegiate eSports. Although faced with opposition from the loved ones who believed that this industry was a “waste of time,” it became one of the best decisions of my life.

“Becoming a leader and observing my counterparts taught me something very important: don’t be afraid to exceed past what you think are your obstacles.”

Once, I was the reporter approaching the leaders about their ambitions for eSports. Now, the tables have turned. I’ve slowly departed my fears of not being heard nor accepted and replaced them with the dreams and desires of the greater community and myself.

Alongside my partner, we’ve seen collegiate eSports grow into something massive. Male and female student leaders alike have come together to create strong, distinguishable communities across the nation. Student athletes are displaying impeccable amounts of passion, hard-work, and dedication into their respective games to form the true meaning of collegiate eSports. Video gaming, in general, has become a generator for giving back to the community.

As collegiate leaders, no matter what race, gender, or size, we are here to foster the potential growth of our members. We are here to embrace everyone’s stories and teach them to exceed beyond their expectations whether they become a leader or an eSports athlete. We are here to create and give back to communities, fuel competitive drives, and continue our never-ending journey of leadership, confidence, and self-discovery. We do this for the Community. Competition. and Charity.

My name is Cat Tompkins, and I am the Events Marketing Assistant at iBUYPOWER by day, collegiate eSports leader by night.

Keep up with me on social media!

Facebook: facebook.com/cat0067

Twitter: @cat0067

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/cat0067

Reach me at [email protected] for any questions, comments, or inquiries about my experiences so far!

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by Cat Tompkins, on April 25, 2016

Public Relations Specialist at iBUYPOWER. Follow me @cat0067 on Twitter!