(#1) Valuable Life Lessons That Video Games Taught Me: Have Fun!

Dear friends!

My apologies for missing yesterday but life happened, but here it is! The MOST important lesson that video games have taught me.

  • 1. Have Fun!

    This one doesn’t need a story or a long explanation. Whether it’s life or games, sometimes we just get too into it and get too serious. Yeah, being serious isn’t bad but sometimes we shouldn’t take things so seriously. Life is short. Why not enjoy it?

Love,

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Janine

(#2) Valuable Life Lessons That Video Games Taught Me: Rejection Isn’t a Bad Thing

Dear friends!

I know rejection isn’t easy . Sometimes it makes you feel like trash, BUT YOU’RE NOT! Read on and find out how video games taught me how to deal with rejection.

  • 2. Realize That Rejection Isn’t a Bad Thing

    Let’s just say that I’ve had my fair share of rejections (Hell I just got rejected today by an interviewer). Rejections which range from small ones, like if I can eat a whole cake after dinner to really big ones like someone telling you they no longer love you. All those times, yes I did get upset, but in all honesty I thank games for helping me out. Thank you to video games because it made me better at dealing with rejection. Now you maybe thinking, “Huh? How in the world can video games help you deal with that?”. In all honesty I really can’t find the words to explain it clearly, so instead I can only try and make you understand by telling you a story. The time I realized that – for the longest time – video games have been helping me deal with rejection.

    So, fast forward to many, many years after my Ragnarok days, twelve years later to be exact. I find myself on TERA (another MMORPG). So, with TERA I’ve been one of those on and off people. Where I get tired of grinding, leave, then out of curiosity come back to see new changes and end up playing again. Anyways, I came back and basically I felt like a newb (newbie). I didn’t know how to do anything anymore and was overwhelmed by the amount of information that I had to re-learn. Different from my Ragnarok days I was now more confident to talk to strangers online and ask them for help. Confused with how the whole TERA universe was, I set out to find a guild.

    One day when I was just casually out trying to figure things out, a guild posted in global chat saying they were a nice guild willing to help players improve. They seemed like the kind of people I would want to hang out with online so I was like “Why not?” I messaged the person who posted and I had a good conversation with them. As the conversation went on I was getting more and more into it and really thought that I could like being in their guild. To my horror, this person asked me to go through a “tryout”. In my head I was screaming! The only thing running through my mind was, “Tryout? What tryout?! Like the ones at school?! I gotta show off my skills?! I just wanted to learn?!”. While I was having a moment, the person messaged me back telling me to be ready in five minutes because we were going to do a dungeon run. Still having no idea what was happening, five minutes pass and I was still confused, so I blindly follow these people to a dungeon that I was clearly not ready for. Long story short we almost fail due to my “lack of skill” and “knowledge” and this person basically tells me that…I suck. Watching my loading screen blankly, I felt hurt. Sitting in town, I was still hurt. With a dark cloud looming over my being, my real life being, I half-heartily did dungeons by myself thinking I wasn’t enough. All of a sudden, in the midst of battle, I started feeling silly. Why was I upset over a tryout in a game? I realized it was because I got rejected. Sad over the fact that my genuine desire to learn wasn’t enough for them and that they couldn’t overlook my flaws and see my potential.

    Sitting back at my chair, I started really thinking deeply about rejections in my life, I realized that experiencing rejections in game helped me develop a process. One that helped me ease my heart and mind. A part of it is reminding myself of who I am, what I know my skills and talents are, and that I shouldn’t sell myself short because of what someone else has said. Another is taking what people say and really looking at my actions and words, what I know, and see if I can improve on it. Video games made me see that the rejections you experience can help you grow. It does so by shedding light on your weaknesses and helping you become a better you.

Hope you enjoyed the second of this “trilogy” and I know that all of my examples involved MMORPG’s but rejections can happen in any game. For example, getting denied the chance to ult in Overwatch because Ana hits you with a sleep dart and you miss the opportunity to get the POTG (Play of the Game). Anyways, stay tuned! Tomorrow will be the most valuable life lesson I have learned playing games.

Love,

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Janine

(#3) Valuable Life Lessons That Video Games Taught Me: Resourcefulness

Dear friends!

Something came to me the other day and I really wanted to share it with every one! I wanted to share the three most valuable life lessons I learned through video games.

Growing up, I’ve always loved playing video games. When I was a child, I thought video games were all just for fun and games. For the most part they are, but now that I’ve gotten into the habit of really digging deep, taking a step back, and looking past what we see on the surface, I realized that my love for games have actually taught me so much. In this countdown trilogy -because I want to be extra that way- I’ll showcase the three most valuable life lessons I’ve learned from video games.

  • 3. Resourcefulness

    I’ve played a lot of MMORPGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game).
    I was basically on Ragnarok Online all day and night when I was twelve. As someone who was so young and obviously not allowed to talk to “cyber strangers” (according to my parents) it was hard to play the game as a lone wolf. So there I was, my twelve year old self, racking my brain as to how to get premium items. The only way to get premium items – without using a credit card at the time – was to win events. To do so, you needed top notch gear, and in order to get that, you need to farm and hunt monsters and bosses for materials. I know, that sounds like a lot of work, and it was. I initially thought I can farm items by myself, but boy was I wrong…After dying to the easiest boss (only about a million times) I finally admitted it to myself that I obviously needed a better way to get what I needed. So I checked the market place frequently, but lo and behold! All the items I needed cost A LOT of Zeny (Currency of Ragnarok Online). I felt discouraged, but then I started noticing a trend. There were certain items being sold at the marketplace that -when bought in bulk- generated a lot of money. The thing about these items too, is that they were relatively easy to farm. People just didn’t want to spend time hunting those monsters! An idea sparked in my head. As a lone wolf I didn’t have any priest (class in the game) friends that’ll teleport me for free to places or money to spare to take the teleport service, so I walked and got really good at memorizing maps. I knew exactly where the optimal places were to farm the monsters that dropped those items! So I set on my adventure to farm. I dedicated a day to farming those monsters and sold my drops in the market. Let’s just say I got more than enough to buy a top tier weapon (which I needed in order to succeed). After that, I kept doing the same thing. Watching market trends, hunting, getting items. By the end of it all, I managed to get my premium items, own three guilds (sorry mom and dad, I eventually talked to “cyber strangers”), and conquered two castles. So moral of the story: Don’t get discouraged. If there’s a will, there’s always going to be a way.

    How does this apply to my life now? Well it applies to a lot of areas of my life, but an example would be in my career. Now I’m taking a different path to where I initially thought I would end up career wise and I’m basically teaching myself how to be an exceptional UX/UI Designer (but also a decent Front-End Developer) and since most tools and resources that are being used in the industry aren’t the cheapest, I go to networking events to learn from professionals in the field and take bits of knowledge and suggestions from them in order to build and kick start my career. I also read a lot of free materials online in order to achieve this goal. All in all, I always remind myself that there is never a dead end. Just take a look around, be creative, and find a different path to get where you want to be.

Stay tuned! Tomorrow I will post what the second most valuable life lesson video games have taught me. I hope you enjoyed this short read and hope you keep reading!

Love,

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Janine

Feeding My Curiosity: JQuery

Experimenting can lead you to some funny discoveries. From my previous post I mentioned that I have been learning some JQuery and JavaScript. So roughly two days ago after finishing this video tutorial on JQuery sliders I thought, “Hm, what kind of effects can I accomplish with this? If I speed this up, can I make a stop motion effect? Make it like a .gif?”. Hungry for results, I set out to feed my curiosity. I hastily opened up CodePen and got typing.

What I found out from this “mini experiment” is that yes, you can indeed create a stop motion effect by using photos that show your subject moving in small increments between each frame. I achieved this by simply taking what I had learned from the tutorial and simply reducing the, animationSpeed to 0 (You can change the animation speed by increasing this value). This is because I basically decreased the “duration” of the slide animation to 0 milliseconds. Honestly, when I think about it…it seems kind of useless to think of it as a “slider” at this point since I’m basically omitting the “slider” aspect. However, it’s not completely useless in a sense that I learned to look at things from a different perspective and that sometimes unconventional methods can help you achieve your desired goal. Aside from that I don’t know if I recommend this method because I think it will affect the performance of your website and slow it down (It does keep your images crisp though as opposed to animating it and then exporting it as a .gif).

So, from this little brain blast that I had, my “main take aways” are:

  • There are different ways that elements can be manipulated using JQuery that gives the same effects
  • JQuery is powerful and can be really fun to fiddle around with
  • There are many ways a problem can be solved and sometimes unconventional methods can help you achieve your desired goals

If you’re interested in more of my work or material I had used to accomplish this please visit:
My Personal Website
My CodePen
Twitter (for some of my UI work)
The video tutorial I watched before carrying out my “experiment”

The Beginning

I wanted to start a blog to share my journey. It started when I wanted to add more to my personal web site, but couldn’t really find a place to add more. I wanted those who came across it to know more about me. To know me beyond my projects and the short introduction I had put about myself. I wanted to connect with people on a more personal level. I wanted to share personal experiences, the things I learned, and how new experiences have given me a new perspective on life. So here it is, my beginning.

A while ago, -before graduation to be exact- I started thinking about life after school. It was a little frightening because honestly, I haven’t known a life outside of it. I’ve been in school since I was three and let’s get real, “adulting” didn’t seem as fun anymore. Well, not as fun as when you played pretend in preschool. It was scary not thinking about going back to school because I had always felt that school guided me in a way that my parents couldn’t. Anyways, after university I really had to think about what I wanted to do and what kind of life I wanted to live. To be honest I was lost. It was like I was lost in a black hole, never able to find my way out. I felt like I learned so much in university, that coming out, I felt that I knew nothing. I didn’t know what I loved doing, clueless about what kind of work I wanted to do, and even worse, had no idea what I was truly passionate about. Thank goodness to my significant other and my closest friends who gave me the emotional support I needed in order to push my fears away and push me in the right direction. To all of you, I am truly grateful.

The journey out of this “black hole” started when my significant other linked me a Reddit post about having “non-zero days”.  It was an article where a man had shared his experience and how this “non-zero day” mentality had contributed to his success. The “tl;dr” of the post is that basically, do things every day that contributes to your growth and betters your life, even just by a little. I took this article to heart and wanted to try it out. So the first day, I thought about what I had wanted to do. Growing up in an Asian household, my parents were still stuck in the “old way” of thinking. That basically, if you don’t get a job out of university, you’re not that great, you’re not trying hard enough, you’re being lazy, and that happiness comes after the money. So, like my old self I thought, “I need to get a job so I can make them proud! Today i’ll apply for 5, no, 20 jobs! I can do it! Non-zero days here I come!”.  I started looking on LinkedIn, Indeed, and the UofC career link. I started looking at all the job descriptions, requirements, researching the company, you know, the works. That day, I only applied to 7 jobs. Needless to say, I was disappointed in myself. However, that day I also realized that I only wanted to apply for the sake of applying. My heart wasn’t really in it. Most of the time I found myself saying, “It’s fine, just get experience for a year, leave, whatever.”. I did this for a good month and after countless applications I only got two interviews. Those interviews were eye openers. I was so close to getting the jobs, but sadly was always beat out by countless years of experience, we’re talking about 5-8 years industry experience. My experience with coming so close was both a blessing and a curse.

Coming so close was a curse because I had come to the point where I had thrown in the towel and given up on applying to anymore jobs. At that point I thought, “Why bother, I’m not going to be good enough for them anyways. In this economy there’s always someone that’ll have that experience and that’s who’ll always get the job.”. However, blessings, by definition, are “God’s favors and protections”. Not getting the jobs but coming that close made me think, “Yes, alright my skills are still worth something! Still relevant.”. However, not getting the jobs forced me to take a step back and really look at the big picture. I realized that had I gotten those jobs, it wasn’t me that would be happy. It would be my parents. This didn’t change my decision to stop looking and applying for more jobs, but gave me a new direction.

My “new direction” involved learning. You’re probably thinking, “Wow, spend 5 years in university and you STILL need to learn? What were you doing?”. Floundering, that’s what I was doing. Anyways, I started looking back on all the courses I had taken in university and really thought about what aspects of those classes I enjoyed. I started re-learning and practicing SQL, PHP, HTML, and CSS because I really enjoyed my database management systems course. In a week though I dropped practicing SQL and PHP because I found I was more interested in the web development aspect so I added JavaScript and JQuery to my “to learn and practice” list. Eventually, my learning had lead me to UI/UX Design. I read countless blog posts about the topic and really found myself immersed in the material. I enjoyed reading “The Design of Everyday Things” by Don Norman and really enjoyed creating UI for the “Daily UI Challenge”. One day while I was creating UI and creating personas, I stopped. I stopped to think and realized that as I was doing this work, I was happy. For the first time in a very long time, and I mean a long long time, we’re talking about since high school here. I was happy doing this work.

Today, I aspire to be a UI/UX Designer. To me there are a lot of aspects about it that really resonate with me such as being given the ability to give users a good experience. As someone who’s worked in customer service for a long time, when someone tells you that they’ve had a rough day but with your service you managed to help them feel better and happier,  you can’t help but also feel happy. I also value creativity and as a UI/UX Designer you’re given this opportunity to be creative, think outside of the norm and make connections in different ways. Another is the the opportunity to connect with people. As a UX Designer connecting with people and being given insight to how they think and how they do things is exciting and eye opening. Almost like you’re walking into a world that you’ve never known. It only took a year, but I know this is where I want to be and this is what I want to be doing. I want to continue growing in this field, so I’m working on networking and learning from others. To those who are reading, I hope you look forward to more of my blog posts, connect with me, and get to know me. For this is only the beginning.