About Danarvis Bland
When Danarvis Bland was in middle school and told his mom he wanted to make a career out of video games, she was apprehensive.
“When I got to high school, it started to get more mainstream,” said Danarvis, whose friends call him DJ.
His mom saw that more and more colleges were offering academic and recreational programs around gaming, and that the industry offered professional opportunities in technology, visual arts, business and more.
“That’s when she started to support it,” DJ continued. She even encouraged DJ to register with Next College Student Athlete — the recruiting partner of the National Association of Collegiate Esports — in order to find opportunities to compete in collegiate esports.
DJ considered a few schools with esports programs, but chose Russell Sage College for its communication with him during the application process, and the diversity he found during a visit from his home in Chicago.
“I came from a smaller high school. I prefer smaller schools over major-scale universities,” he added.
Now, DJ is one of the two highest-ranked Overwatch competitors on Sage’s new esports team, and a Business Administration major.
His business classes are helping him develop the skills and knowledge to build his own brand as a content creator in the video game sphere.
“I am learning a lot about audience, products, and in my marketing classes, about selling,” he said.
DJ said that there are a lot of things non-gamers misunderstand about video games, “like the community that surrounds it and the connections that people build that are so amazing.”
But he’s seen people — like his mom — change their minds about video games.
His role on Sage’s first esports team and his business education are giving him more opportunities to promote the sport he loves.
He admits he is surprised sometimes, when he looks back.
“If you told me years ago that I would come to college off of playing video games, I wouldn’t have believed you.”
“I came from a smaller high school. I prefer smaller schools over major-scale universities.”