We saw them this past week, creeping around corners, dueling outside of Green Hall and sometimes walking on campus like average students, albeit equipped with foam swords and mischievous grins: the players of the “Human vs. Zombies” game are a great mid-semester reminder of how important it is to let off steam and relieve anxiety.
More and more College students are participating in this campus-wide game every semester, which is essentially an elaborate version of manhunt. All but one of the players are humans at the beginning, identifying themselves with strips of cloth, while a lone zombie kick-starts the game going by “killing” — or touching — humans. Once a human is touched, they are infected and must try to turn the remaining humans to win the game. Humans win by avoiding zombie contact for an entire week.It’s not unique to the College — hundreds of campuses in the U.S. have adopted “Humans vs. Zombies,” with varying rules and contestants — nearly 2,000 people regularly participate at University of Georgia, while it’s a sport of its own at host school Goucher College — and there are other fantastical clubs out there. At Middlebury College, for example, dozens of students flock to on-campus fields each Sunday to play Harry Potter-inspired games of quidditch.These games are easy to dismiss, but there’s a reason they’re so popular: it’s important to relieve stress, even if that entails dressing up (down?) a little and laying traps for your friends in Bliss Hall. Last week, The Signal published a phenomenal piece on “Generation Y” being the most depressed generation, called “Generation Y and the infinite sadness,” and it was just another piece of evidence on the seriousness and worsening state of mental health in the U.S.
This is the most anxious country in the world — it’s not even close, according to a 2012 study by the World Health Organization — where 80 percent of college students frequently suffer daily stress, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. There’s so much to feel anxious about, from looking good every morning to wondering how you’ll convince an employer you’re worth being paid real, non-Monopoly money. It can be easy to feel weighed down by the pressure that comes hand-in-hand with college life, and it’s essential to find a release.
That’s why it always brightens my day to see humans and zombies in a not-so-epic battle on campus, three feet away from where I’m walking. I’ve heard a lot of complaints about the game, and I understand why it’s not for everyone. But if it helps some people completely escape the stresses of college life for a few hours, more power to them.