Balancing a semi-professional gaming career with a high school lifestyle


Noah Epstein

One student finds time to compete in esports while also being a responsible student.

With final exams looming, junior Kajus Miliunas sits in his room, with the door closed, his eyes glued to a computer screen. Profusely sweating, Miliunas is currently competing in the highly competitive game of Counter Strike Global Offensive.
Paying attention to each and every move made by his teammates and opponents is critical for Miliunas to remain
at the top of his game. Counter Strike Global Offensive, also known as CSGO, is an online, multiplayer, first-person shooter game. It was released in 2012, and since then it has been one of the most popular video games around the world.
As of January 2019, there were around 20 million active users who play the game on a frequent basis. However, when it comes to the world of esports, professional CSGO is one of the most highly watched and anticipated competitions,
often held at large gaming tournaments around the world.
Miliunas plays the popular video game for approximately four to six hours each and every day. “I started playing CSGO when I was 4 when my brother first introduced me to the game and I’ve been hooked ever since,” Miliunas said.
Miliunas is highly ranked at the game, as he is in the top 500 within North America in addition to the number one ranked Lituanian American in the world. CSGO is a very large part of Miliunas’ life, as his average ranges around 45 hours a week.
The game has become a lifestyle for Miliunas, and he looks to balance his school work as well. This is an ongoing struggle for the gamer.
“I usually play every night from around 6 p.m. to 12 a.m., and often don’t leave time for homework in between,” Miliunas said. “But I make it work.”
With all of the hours of CSGO he plays every day, one could guess it would be hard for him to manage his work. And this struggle reaches beyond Miliunas. Many teens are still learning how to balance enjoyment and fun activities with the stresses of everyday school.
According to the American Psychological Association, 42% of the teens did not know how to manage their stress. With increased pressure within schools and pressure due to social media and peers, it can be almost impossible to set time aside to deal with stress. But for Milianus, he found a personal solution: “I try to get my homework done right after school and I usually study in the morning if I have to.”
For most students this isn’t the case.
Junior Angelia Berti explains her struggles within managing homework and friends, “I often go to the library to ‘study’ but end up getting nothing done, and I think that’s the case with many students these days. We live in a world full of distractions, and homework and studying seems to take the back seat. Often I find myself rushing to finish my homework the classes before they’re due, creating even more stress.”
Miliunas explains that CSGO is his escape from the stress he endures, and allows his to unwind from a tough day at school.