An ode to Wizard101

Oh+no%21+Your+evil+teacher+assigned+a+big+test+the+same+day+as+your+English+paper+is+due%2C+and+your+wifi+went+out%21+Proceed+to+access+spells+to+fight+the+villains+and+turn+your+wifi+back+on.+Graphic+by+Baeyoung+Yoo

Oh no! Your evil teacher assigned a big test the same day as your English paper is due, and your wifi went out! Proceed to access spells to fight the villains and turn your wifi back on. Graphic by Baeyoung Yoo

Ellie White, Executive Editor-at-Large

I swear I used to have a social life.

But, like most of us, I’ve spent the last, and supposedly best, year of high school inside. Movie nights with friends, school events and club meetings have been replaced with online classes, too much procrastination and driving aimlessly around town with friends. As the year trudged on, I found myself, more often than not, spending my time in my room on my laptop playing video games.

I’ve spent an ungodly amount of time during my senior year playing a wizard game for children. It started as a way to pass time during the summer but has evolved into one of the only things I do to fill my free time with. I spend my weekends mastering Wizard101 ice spells and my weekdays going on epic journeys throughout a magical universe in order to defeat an evil spider.

Plus redecorating my virtual mansion.

During a year in which nothing was simple, the bright colors, happy music and child-friendly plotlines brought an unexpected sense of comfort. Call it escapism, or avoidance, but Wizard101 became the de facto replacement for what I lost during the school year. Can’t celebrate the holidays with family? Buy a Christmas tree from the in-game shop! Don’t understand a single concept from your Advanced Placement Statistics class? Good thing math and magic have nothing to do with each other! Or, has COVID-19 caused all of your college tours to be canceled? Just hop online and travel to a fun magical location within the game.

Just a side note: Wizard101 locations are decidedly unhelpful when trying to determine where to attend college.

But, at a certain point, games can’t replace the real experiences I’ve lost throughout the year. My final seasons of Speech and Model United Nations, two activities I’ve devoted myself to throughout all of high school, were held entirely online. Joking with friends in the hallways or during SRT has been replaced with an occasional Instagram message. My grades have slipped throughout the school year, as I struggled to adjust to online classes. And really, the only thing that got me through a week was it ending.

And the wizard game for children.

Yes, I understand my obsession sounds incredibly silly. But, we all have ways of coping with loss, and Wizard101 was mine. The simplicity made up for the uncertainty of school and the stress of listening to the news. And I’m sure everyone has had their own way of replacing the would-have-beens of the year.

As more shops, activities and public spaces opened up, my interest in Wizard101 began to fade. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the game. But I need it a little less each day. I have real world events to look forward to, like prom, graduation or moving halfway across the country for college.

School ends in a week, and with it, the best and worst years of my life so far. I’m still unsure about what to do with my Wizard101 account after I receive my diploma. After all, it’s done its job of getting me through the year.

But I think I’ll keep my membership, just in case I need some magical escapism for college.