Always Writing

What I learned Yeserday | What I write Today | What I hope for Tomorrow


September 2013

New College? I was too! Let me share a secret or two

How to be successful in school:
Well, at least some suggestions –

With many young people I know off to college this year particularly, I felt inspired to write this article, though it maybe a few weeks late, hopefully it’ll serve to encourage all you new freshmen out there!

To be honest, this is probably my expertise – school that is. If I could make a career out of going to class and making the grades, I would do so in a heartbeat. But I have no desire to be a professor, so I had to finally leave. I guess I could take out a loan and go back to be doubly qualified in some other field of study, but without a real income at the moment, probably not the wisest idea. However, I am always happy to share the knowledge I have acquired. So, here’s a brief post on how I went from an average of a 3.0 in high school to a 3.8+ from freshman year to graduate degree. Here are a few of the most important pieces of advice I can give to new college-goers.
1. Do not miss the first day.

While this may not sound like rocket science (because it’s actually not), I find it surprising how many fellow college friends of mine felt justified in missing the first day because it’s shrugged off as “Syllabus Day.” While true, this is when you can learn what makes your professor tick. Without even knowing it himself, he may say something that you should cue you into his expectations. While his syllabus may say “docks 5% for each day an assignment is late,” his tone will indicate how much he despises late work and how you could quickly lose personality points with him, which yes, do come in handy, especially around finals time when you’re out sick with that virus going around, and your hard drive crashed, and your dog actually ate your homework (or, worse case scenario, your final project…). “Syllabus Day” – the First Day – yes, the cell phone policy sucks and is belabored, but don’t miss an early chance to make a good impression by being there on time and willing to listen to his shpill.

2. “Get Involved!” with your college community – it’s not as lame as it may seem

I know it sounds a bit hokey (especially since this phrase seems to be plastered wall to ceiling), but it’s true, this is the time to network and who knows you might make a friend from it, or… boyfriend (Gasp!). But before you run off and rush, pick a group of people that you share interests with. I was definitely one at first to hesitate to be gun-ho for the “Get Involved” movement, which you’ll hear blare from bull horns from every organization on your campus quad. You’re an individual who doesn’t have to conform for any group! -True. BUT! Here’s the thing, we’re built for relationships, and while staying at home on youtube and tumblr is a good time, (been there, done that), you will build an eclectic collection of memories – and despite who you are – I know you want to live a good long life and look back and smile. Even if it’s just a few classmates from your Art appreciation class – you should connect with your community. You’ll hopefully be there for the 4-5 year haul, and it’ll be a heck lot easier with a support group. So whether you pledge Greek, or go geek with anime and art clubs – make friends – be involved with them. I promise you won’t regret the decision to try.

3. Never Give Up! Never Surrender!

Maybe a bit dramatic sounding and something you’ve been told all your life. Well, college isn’t any different, but it’ll certainly be easier now, more than ever, to quit. I switched my major five times, and attended 6 university campuses + 1 community college. Believe me, I wanted to quit after each failed attempt at a different degree. However, I realize (despite what media may say) there is value to that diploma. It may not bring your dream job immediately (hello, my blog title?), but the sense of accomplishment is one thing that will remain. Yeah, yeah, sounds a bit sentimental, okay, maybe a little. But, in all seriousness, in a struggling economy, a politically divided nation, and a quickly falling-apart world (too doomsday?) – you need something you can look on and say confidently that you did on your own! (Hopefully with that support team you made from #2). Why, you may ask? As someone who is trying to pursue a hard road as a writer, it gets discouraging to feel as though your effort is not good enough. But when you can look back two or three years ago and say, “I kicked butt for four (or five, six, or seven) years and it was hard! I can do this!” (Whatever “this” may be). And before that, don’t forget the twelve years that got you to your senior year of high school!

Don’t discount your accomplishments and successes, let college be one of those great wins! I definitely did not do college perfectly – could’ve been more social, could’ve settled on a major sooner and actually have a real job now – but I refuse to regret my experiences – made great friends, have many pictures I look back and laugh on, had my first boyfriend, and traveled the world (literally!) – make the most of your stay and be proud of yourself. You made it to the starting line of this exciting race to your bachelor’s degree. Reward yourself (and your parents who may be funding you) and get to the finish line.
I will probably share some other stories of my college successes (and not such-successes) to encourage you all 🙂 I hope if anything, you can know I am rooting for all of you college kids and am here cheering for your success – wherever it may take you.

*I own none of the images*


Achievement Unlocked – Entry Level Internship 10 C’s*

(Warning: Not a prime example of my writing, but certainly a stream of consciousness moment in a fit of excitement)

So, while I have several articles on the back burner (anxious to finish them), I have to commemorate this victorious moment of career advancement! No, I didn’t land a book deal, nor did I even earn a single dollar from an article (though I am about $0.10 + for my yahoo contribution). I have been offered an internship with a successful business woman who will train me in entrepreneurship, marketing, online presence, and WordPress pro skills.

(not mine, and nor do I have these skills, but maybe I’ll learn these too one day)

While it won’t earn me a penny (for now), I am excited to feel as though I will be a working student – learning on the job as I will be part of a blogging team for her company.

I have had several jobs, but only one that I obtained on my own merit (i.e. no connections beforehand), but it was a glorified sales clerk position (shift leader, fun times – you know what I mean if you’ve been the closing shift person).

As I have begun to pursue my writing career, I began looking specifically for internships that might act as a launch pad for my business. I literally have flung myself at an array of positions, hoping on a prayer someone might see raw talent to be refined. Honestly, I had given up hope and was about to settle for a bank teller position (it even came with benefits), but I received a welcomed response from one company that specifically noted my creative writing style. My heart leaped at the fact someone unknown to me took a striking interest in my words.

I won’t go into details about the position just yet since I was just offered it today, I have to still officially say, “Yes.” But I felt the urgent need to document my success as an up-and-coming writer! On my own, I have ventured out on this new journey and have thankfully taken a solid first step.

(not mine, but very appropriate for how I feel)

Hopefully between babysitting, tutoring, and this internship, I just might make it to the second step.

Wish me luck 🙂

*C’s = Career Points

A New Journey 

With this being my first official wordpress post, I struggled to figure out exactly what I would say. This also marks the start of a personal goal for me, that is, to be a full-time writer. Ambitious, I know, especially for someone who is rather shy, meek, and often lacks the needed confidence required to attempt such a feat, but I press forward in probably ignorant bliss hoping I may actually make it one day! With that said, I thought as I begin a new journey for my  career life, why not begin talking about the latest game I completed: Journey.

When I decided as of this year, I would happily claim the title “Gamer,” I did so with the understanding that this new identity opened up endless possibilities for new adventures, excitement, and discovery – all from the comfort of my room. I have not been disappointed and have thoroughly enjoyed my time investing in my new adventures.

As I have indulged in my couple of hours a week with Master Chief, Princess Peach, and fighting Diablo, I remembered a seemingly forgettable demo – Journey. I had heard of its claims to fame, but frankly the demo felt sparse and a little too vague for my liking. What I do fondly remember though was the music.

Earlier this year I was privileged enough to hear live from the composer of this Grammy-nominated score at Video Games Live in Austin, Texas. The music was beautifully orchestrated as if straight from an Oscar award-winning film. Yet, this humble and unassuming game from Thatgamecompany crafted not only a musical masterpiece, but to my pleasant surprise, an equally captivating world.

As I confessed, the demo did little to pique my interest initially, but once I had the game in hand, I felt an urge to re-try this uniquely presented platformer. As I settled into my comfy chair and my palms warmed up to my controller, I felt embraced by the first track of the Journey theme number, as the string instruments echoed its low and haunting notes. I suddenly felt eager to begin the game and whipped through the first section (as I had already experienced in the demo), and excitedly looked forward for the rest of the adventure to unfold.

I was not disappointed in the slightest.

I will take a small step back away from the initial gameplay and say, as a writer, I truly appreciate a story that reveals itself through its beauty rather than its words. Of course, words and dialogue are crucial to many narratives, but a visual work such as Journey did not rely at all on these normal components to tell its story. Instead, the music, tones, movements, and single notes become the storytellers and work side-by-side with rich colors and graphics to paint a gorgeous tale. My imagination was able to focus on these components and fill in blanks as to what the characters in Journey must be thinking, feeling, saying, and hearing.

Similarly, the main character had no real facial expressions, yet I felt a deep connection as I would to any other protagonist that fulfills a quest in any other game, book, or movie. Though the red-hooded character remained silent, pristine art direction and a precisely tuned orchestra filled this void with life and a voice. That voice became my own as I found myself relating to the hero (or heroine). I felt as though the struggle to travel alone and the challenges I faced pulled out insecurities of loneliness and fear as I pushed through each level. I found myself anxious to come across more flighty pieces of cloth or dolphin like companions (that suspiciously looked like the dog-esque foot rest from Disney’s Beauty & the Beast). They were my faithful companions that not only encouraged me on my quest, but also, gave me the strength to carry on, or fly on, in some instances. Without them near by, I felt very lonesome and wary that I was on this journey on my own.

Perhaps I sound too much like an eight-year old who is still afraid of being in the dark by herself, but the game truly evoked emotions and fears that at times made me hesitant to continue. I was not necessarily afraid of “dying;” it was the fact the world of Journey felt so grandiose and vast, and that I was just a tiny, hooded creature following some grand beacon in the distance. I was anxious to get to that light on a hill to find out what I had come so far for and what sort of ending awaited me. In small ways, Journey paralleled very much how I see my own life – a literal journey through beautiful, difficult, lonely, dark, and majestic places to reach this light at the end and hopefully be told it has all meant something.

I do not want to spoil the game for anyone, so I will resist the urge to talk about the end, but I will say that it left me wanting more but realizing it did just enough – like eating a healthy portioned meal and feeling satisfied but wanting a second serving, but you know you should stop now, because what you had was perfect. Although, there is an aspect of re-playability to complete objectives; to me, that’s not what the draw is to play again.

As I said earlier, there is a strange connection I make to the game and my own life. Journey is a metaphor; a reminder that my life is filled with obstacles, challenges, companionship, trials, and tribulations, but I keep my eyes on the Light ahead which remains my steadfast hope to push forward with the faith that my journey’s end will reveal the source of that Light and I may bask in it with the knowledge that my life’s purpose was fulfilled. Perhaps, I have looked into an indie game too deeply, but I feel as though if a simple two-hour game helps remind me that my actual life is worth traveling, then I certainly have found quite the worth out of this little gem called Journey.

I look forward to my next game that captivates me just as much as this one has and until then, I live my life, apart from the gaming world, anticipating the discoveries and excitement that are just around the bend.

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