07.22.21

High school grad pursues passion for gaming

Dear TRENDS Diary,

I graduated from high school in 2020—a COVID graduate. My parents were pushing me to go to college. I definitely wasn’t interested. Instead, I wanted to pursue gaming. I gamed all during high school. I found it fun, engaging and relaxing. And I was good at it. Everyone said it was a dead-end pursuit. No one makes a living from gaming.

I thought about gaming like football: Most people never make a cent from playing football, but a few people make a living and an even smaller percentage of people make a lot of money from the sport. No one was interested in my comparison. Everyone wanted me to go to college.

I really wanted to see what I could do with gaming. From what I saw online, some were great; some were boring; some were weird. Just like everything else.

Eventually, a gamer let me play out his evening. Then others did too. I started getting a following. I have to admit there was some luck involved. But I also was a good gamer and a good talker. I even started making money. Not a lot, but as much as I was making at my entry-level job.

Still, everyone wanted me to go to college.

One day, my mother went for a manicure. She talked with the mom of a 10 year-old boy. It turns out he’s a gamer too. He had even seen me gaming. Later, my mother got a text from this woman. Her son was so excited. He said, “My mommy met the mommy of my gamer idol. He’s my favorite because he’s nice to kids. Today’s the best day of my life!”

My mother forwarded me the text. She said she was proud of me.

She still wants me to go to college though.

- Jesse Milne, as told to Glenda Russell