Tag: CSUF

Alumni business

Alumni business

While a lot of this happened yesterday, I spent extra time throwing things together for a more fleshed out blog post now.

Just after Graduation a few weeks ago, I joined the Cal State Fullerton Alumni Association.

See? Tweeted and everything to prove it.

After a good amount of time spent resting, helping with the RUHS Band’s Silent Auction and dealing with car troubles, I finally drove back to Fullerton so I could pick up the swag that comes with my membership:

  • One big Alumni tote bag
  • One sleek and silver CSUF keychain
  • One AAA membership discount coupon that I don’t really need because my family is already a long-time member
  • One Alumni Association membership card that allows me to still use on-campus services, attend different events and receive discounts
  • A collection of partially-expired vouchers with offers including more discounts and one-day parking permits
  • And finally, one fancy license plate cover:
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Edited to be social media friendly.

Part of me feels that it’s perhaps cheesy to lean into the “I’m an alum!” mentality so hard on a public-facing medium like license plates…

But at the same time I put in four years of hard work and walked off that campus with a bunch of accolades.

So I think I’m allowed to be a little cheesy.

Plus this is the first time I’ve replaced that cover since purchasing the car at least four years ago and it was kind of falling apart. Who would’ve guessed this oddball collection of gifts would already be coming in handy?

It’s just too bad I didn’t have the free parking vouchers before getting to campus yesterday, as it turns out my last parking permit expired at the end of May.

Though that expiration does offer me the chance to show off a now-complete collection of permits:

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Some of my CSUF friends will yell at me for wasting so much money…

But hey, at least I got all of these permits in before the upcoming price hike, and they makes for a cool physical manifestation of my invested time.

Even with that El Camino College permit breaking up the uniformity.

Going to Cal State Fullerton was interesting beyond just noticing my permit expiration, however. In my four years at CSUF, three of which included work on the school newspaper, I somehow never made it to the Golleher Alumni House.

I did pass by this side of the building because of its proximity to the police station and Titan Student Union:

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But imagine my surprise when it turns out that large gate wasn’t the main entrance.

Rather, I had to circle around to this entrance I’d never seen before.

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You can see the State College parking structure in the background.

Once I found my way to the entrance, there isn’t much to say about actually picking up the Alumni swag.

Luckily I anticipated that.

Part of my afternoon was devoted to writing that Pokémon Sword and Shield Direct post, but I also arranged lunch with my friend Mimi at one of her favorite restaurants in Downtown Fullerton:

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Monkey Business Cafe is a place I’ve heard many things about through publications like Tusk because of their focus on helping homeless or foster youth who may not have the opportunity to get job experience anywhere else.

I’d just never made the time to go there for whatever reason.

But now I have, and I made their burger a litmus test for how good the food is:

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Because I love me some burgers.

It was… Okay. Not a particularly special meal.

Though to be fair Mimi got waffles and those looked really good, so perhaps the joint shines more on the breakfast side of its brunch offerings.

Either way I had a good time and the meal was decently cheap. I can’t complain.

Statistically surpassing 2017

Statistically surpassing 2017

About three days ago, the amount of views my blog has accrued this year surpassed the total from 2017.

With a lead-in sentence like that I’m sure you’re expecting this post to be an exercise in prideful self-fellatio.

To an extent I suppose it is, but part of the reason why it’s cool is because of interesting insights I believe I can pull out of the analytics. As I tend to look at.

For instance, here are the yearly statistics as of my writing this:

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The bar graph shows an overall trend toward increasing views, and that’s sensible considering my blog has evolved from a class requirement to a digital resume and regular part of my writing life.

In 2018 the number of views jumped sizably compared to the growth from 2016 to 2017 due to my Summer Initiative and its aftermath.

Last summer was when I shifted the emphasis of my blog from writing a few times a month (mostly archiving stories) to writing nearly every day.

The jump from 1,944 to 4,210 views makes sense when audiences have a higher volume of content to consume on an almost daily schedule.

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Notice the shift around June 2018.

And that was when I only wrote daily for half the year.

This year I’m halfway to that number and we’re only at the end of May, which bodes well for further growth. Especially if I get a few more breakout posts like my Redondo Union Archives write-up:

Post uploaded on March 25, 2019

I may be on-track to surpass 2018 in views, but other aspects are faltering.

“Likes” is one statistic I have trouble explaining due to the lack of a noticeable tracker on WordPress. I can tell you that I received 129 likes on my posts in 2018 compared to the paltry seven in 2019 so far, but I can’t tell you why that might be.

However, I can say something about the trend in daily views and viewers.

As you can see in the 2017 v. 2019 analytics, I surpassed my views from two years ago with about 30 fewer individual visitors.

I’ve also noticed a pattern of more views-per-day recently in spite of less visitors coming overall. I used to see about six or seven views at most every day, but recently it has hovered closer to 20:

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Even yesterday, where I was so busy with family Memorial Day barbecuing and playing Minecraft with my friends that I didn’t write a blog post, my site received 33 views.

The last time I hit views near that high was April 24, when I wrote about my collection of graduation gowns.

If nothing else, I hope this post can be a positive affirmation for you regular viewers that people notice when you put extra energy into something. Even when that something is as silly as a personal blog.

I find the analytics fascinating to sort through so I hope you found them just as interesting to consume!

But if you didn’t, how about you take a look at this views-per-country breakdown:

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Because the map is always a fun thing to see in my opinion.


Featured Image courtesy of Carlos Muza via Wikimedia Commons

Wrapping up Gaming

Wrapping up Gaming

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. You heard it here first.

I’m officially done with Gaming…

In American Culture.

You know, that class I was taking for fun with my friend Mimi this last semester? Despite it neither fitting into my Comm major nor my Psych minor.

As you may recall from this great post, that class had the last few assignments I was working on. An essay and a Let’s Play video based on Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones.

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Up to 8 views as of this post!

This evening I found out that I got a 94 percent on both assignments, which landed me at a 102.22 percent in the class overall.

It looks like the professor added extra points to one assignment, and I don’t feel the need to address him in case that turns out to be an accident and we knock my grade down.

Gaming in American Culture was the last holdout for grades, so now I have the full scale of how my last semester shook out:

  • Comm 495T (Internship class) — 100 percent
  • Communications Law — 97.1 percent
  • Cognitive Psychology — 96.35 percent

My Honors classes don’t have grades associated with them… But I turned in my Project materials and give a presentation, which should constitute 100 percent.

Given all of the accolades I received along the way, not a bad way to end things.

Certainly good enough to feel confident in joining the Alumni Association:

Thus, my academic journey is over… Until I inevitably come back for a teaching degree or something.

Plus I’ll have to go back to campus for Alumni Association swag.

And I need to pick up my physical Honors Project once it’s printed.

But that’s all in the uncertain future. For now I can kick back and relax, even for a few days as I side-eye pieces of writing for Gladeo and looming job applications.

Actual gaming has been a huge part of my decompressing formula, because you’d be insane to think that my joke was an indication of actually quitting this sweet addiction.

In that regard, Gaming in American Culture gave me one last gift: An excuse to play through my favorite Fire Emblem game once more.

I didn’t stop playing Sacred Stones when I finished that paper. I’ve been carrying my 3DS around again to get through it.

As luck would have it, I happened to finish my current Eirika’s route run the same night as I found out my class grades. Hence the Featured Image and this picture of my favorite couple’s flavor text:

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Though I may have jumped the gun in pairing them together again so quickly.

I’m not going to say I regret the decision, because they’re my precious babies and I’ve always been the kind of person to fall in love with a pairing and ship them every time.

But Sacred Stones apparently has a mechanic where you can view previous support conversations from the main menu — something I believed only came in later entries.

Once I realized that, I decided I should go for new character pairings and appease the Completionist side of my brain since I’ve been stuck at the same level for years.

Even in this one run I found at least one new ship I adore in Lute and Kyle!

Definitely a great thing, but also deeply troubling.

After all, now I know there are new pairings that I may love… which is more incentive to try new support paths.

And I just so happened to save a separate file for Ephraim’s route.

So between work and Minecraft with my friends, I might just be diving into this Fire Emblem rabbit hole again immediately.

Let’s just hope I don’t burn myself out before Three Houses.

No love for these bridal heroes

No love for these bridal heroes

Good afternoon, world! Been a while.

I took the last few days off because I was spending extra time with my grandparents and…

That.

After one whole day doing absolutely nothing post-Graduation, it’s about time I jump back into the saddle for my daily writing exercises!

What better catalyst for that writing resurgence than a new banner in Fire Emblem Heroes?

… In hindsight basically anything else. Because it figures this is a banner I could give no fewer shits about.

Personal obligations to consistency ahoy!


Bridal Belongings


When I say this is a post written almost purely out of obligation, I’m not kidding. Maybe it’s in contrast to my excited reactions for Berkut and Alm, but I can’t remember the last time a banner was this much of a dud for me.

When I first watched the video, I had no idea who I was looking at. Usually I’ll have heard of a character if they’re popular, but not this time around.

Sigrun and Tanith are from the Radiant games, interestingly paired with Sanaki’s appearance last year.

Meanwhile Pent and (Tempest Trial reward) Louise are from The Blazing Blade.

Both convenient gaps in my Fire Emblem knowledge.

Unfortunately, none of them have anything to their unit skills that stand out enough to make me care.

Thus, Fjorm is the only character I’m interested in because I know her and she has some interesting skills. She’s a flying healer who negates dancing and gives allies a grounded version of flier formation. That’s kind of cool!

It’s just too bad she’s the only one I care about, because that means I’m probably going to save my orbs for whatever Mythic Hero is rumored to be coming.

At least she’s the main focus of the Paralogue story. So we’ve got that going for us?


Paralogue 34 — Bridal Belonging

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It’s just too bad Fjorm’s starring role is undercut by vague generalities meant to push an unrequited love subplot that Intelligent Systems doesn’t even fully commit to.

Our story begins with the Order of Heroes taking Fjorm to the Bridal festival. She’s admiring all the dresses when one bride-to-be turns out to be:

A way cuter version of herself.

Damnit Heroes, stop making me want to summon for this one character on a dud banner. I need to save my orbs.

Alfonse suggests this Fjorm may from the future rather than just an alternate Fjorm. An idea that sets an entirely new precedent? I don’t think having future versions of your timeline’s self has ever been established before.

And I’d rather not think about the Back to the Future shenanigans that might ensure if the character is summoned under those circumstances.

We follow Bride Fjorm as she gets advice about love from the new units, suggesting she’s worthy if she unconditionally loves a person or would give everything to protect them.

She says there is a person she would do that for, and based on prior experiences I can surmise she’s talking about the player character.

But this Paralogue does everything it can to cut her off.

I guess it does that because once the final battle is over, Sharena offers to be Fjorm’s wingman after she refuses to tell Alfonse who she would “theoretically” love.

As prior experience suggests, Sharena also has a thing for the player character. Which means we’ve got a real drama-bomb building under the surface.

Because this wouldn’t be an anime gatcha game without all of the waifus being in love with you for no other reason than to incentivize spending money on your preferred smooch.


So that’s that. My cynical, bored take on 2019 brides in Fire Emblem Heroes.

I’m coming from the bias of ignorance, so if these characters are worth caring about let me know! I’d like to play through their games eventually, after all.

But for now, this is all I’ve got.

If nothing else it’s good to be back in the writing mood!

I’ll have more time to come up with things to write now that we’re in Summer Initiative take 2, but other than an official write-up on Graduation once I have my Grad photos I have no idea what I’ll be writing about.

It’s going to be a real grab bag. Look forward to that!

My new Let’s Play channel

My new Let’s Play channel

What’s up, gamers. T1meslayer here with a channel update for all y’all.

A few months ago I launched a series of toy unboxing videos with my sister that has gone on to achieve great acclaim. That first video has almost 100 views, and that not-LEGO Mimikyu was a star in my class’ Dungeons and Dragons campaign.

Our YouTube community has reached amazing heights, and I couldn’t be more proud of you all for helping me get to the coveted 1 subscriber milestone.

That’s why I’ve decided to launch a new project.

I’ll be going toe-to-toe with industry greats like the Game Grumps and Markiplier through my brand new gameplay channel: T1meslayer plays.

As you know I’m a huge Nintendo fanatic, so that’s going to be my primary focus. In fact, we’re starting off with one of my favorite titles on the GameBoy Advance. Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones (2004).

To help stand out from my competitors, I’m taking a new approach to YouTube gaming that I like to call “non-chronological let’s plays.”

We’ve all seen the first levels of certain games played a dozen times as new channels start to play, only to collapse under the weight of mediocrity before they get to the end.

I’m going to solve that problem by starting with Episode 5 and then jumping around.

So if you’re up to going on this journey with me, you can see the first episode of my series here:

Thanks so much for sticking by me during this turbulent time as I get ready to graduate. Like, comment and subscribe to see what’s coming next!



Alright. Obviously I don’t have a gaming channel.

Sorry to disappoint those of you who might be interested in watching that cringe-fest.

This let’s play video is actually one of the final assignments for my Gaming in American Culture class. We had to essentially parody the YouTube video game scene to try and convey some ideas we’re focusing on in our papers.

My paper is all about Sacred Stones, so my let’s play is an episode of what would be my Sacred Stones playthrough.

It was a nightmare actually putting this together (as one might expect when trying to pull an 18-minute video off of their iPhones to edit on a 10-year-old laptop), but I actually really like how it came out?

Like sure, I’m terrible on camera. And technology was so difficult that I skipped blog writing yesterday. But I cut out dead air and added an editorial commentary track to inject some humor, I think it’s a nice piece.

Nice enough to share publicly, at least.

Yet sharing the video is bittersweet. This is literally my penultimate college assignment. All I have left is the final paper for this same class.

Today was my last day of college ever — and it also happened to be my Gaming in American Culture.

Learned about some interesting things from these presentations. In sports especially, like the existence of pickleball and the beer mile.

The latter of which makes me happy that I don’t drink.

“Bittersweet” is really the best way I can describe my feelings. I’m happy to move onto the next stage in my life, especially since I can share the celebration with my family — particularly my grandparents from Florida, who both flew in together for the first time since my Bar Mitzvah.

Almost 10 years ago. Yikes.

But at the same time I have genuinely enjoyed my time in Academia, and the idea of finding a real job still terrifies me.

You don’t have to worry yourself with that part of my psyche, however. For the next couple days I’ll probably be posting all sorts of positive things on social media to try and convince you all that my life is nothing but wonderful.

Because that’s really what social media is all about, isn’t it?

In the meantime, enjoy my cringe-y let’s play.

Please.

I’m proud of it.

Graduation hardware

Graduation hardware

It’s honestly not an exaggeration to say that I might pass out at graduation this Sunday from some heat-related illness due to all of the things I’ll be carrying.

That sounds like I’m looking for an excuse to brag, but I swear I’m not.

The Department of Communications commencement is going to be held out on the Cal State Fullerton baseball stadium, which means it’ll be three-ish hours in the sun. On top of my cap and gown I’ll have the college’s stole and my Comm Awards winnings; the Honors stole; and now a Kappa Tau Alpha tassel, medal and pin.

Dr. Rizzo said she’ll be able to pick me out of the crowd with a magnet, and I don’t doubt her on that.

Induction into the Kappa Tau Alpha National Honor Society for Mass Communications happened this morning, giving me those trinkets you see in my Featured Image.

However, while that seems like a subject I’d have a lot to say about… I kind of don’t?

It was a lovely luncheon that Dr. Andi Stein and other members of the Comm Department put on, where I joined 25 people being inducted on account of their “excellence in academic work.”

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It’s a sweet little resume filler, and I got to say hi to a few faculty members while I was there. Plus, there was food:

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The enchiladas weren’t special, but they were free!

So who am I to complain?

Unfortunately, the luncheon was kind of downplayed because I had to leave within the first fifteen minutes.

It’s not that I wanted to just dine-and-dash, but my Cognitive Psychology final happened to be scheduled at noon on the same day where I had a fancy event at 11:30 a.m.

As soon as that final ended, I had to cross campus to finish the arc I established yesterday by picking up parking passes for graduation.

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Everyone understood my need to scram, but I still felt bad about it. When there are only 24 other inductees it’s not easy to slip out unnoticed.

It all worked out by the end, however. I got the tassel and my psych final wasn’t horrible (I self-calculated getting an 80 percent at the lowest), which means I’ve officially completed my psychology minor requirements.

Though that doesn’t mean I’m done with school just yet.

My online final for Comm Law — the class I’m worried about — should be opening soon.

Once that’s out of the way, I’ll dive headstrong into my Gaming in American Culture paper.

So there are still a few steps, but I’m that much closer to getting my degree.

Unless of course I die of heat stroke at the ceremony, in which case I suppose this will all have been for naught.

But you all know I can’t die at the ceremony. If I did, there would be nobody to write a cringe-filled blog post about what an amazing time I had celebrating my academic achievement to bury deep-rooted fears about transitioning into the professional world.

We can’t have that.

That time of year again

That time of year again

Hope everyone enjoyed their Mother’s Day!

We Rochlin children celebrated by getting my Mom breakfast donuts (as requested), went out for lunch and then had fancy home-cooked pasta for dinner. A very food-focused affair.

Spending the morning and afternoon with her (as well as the night with my friends losing hours to Minecraft) left me with no time to write a blog post. Though it was all a nice stress relief…

Because as you can see from my baggy-eyed Featured Image, finals and graduation anxiety are undoubtedly taking their toll.

When I wasn’t with Mom yesterday, I was working on my last few college assignments. Ever.

For instance, the Final cheatsheet for Comm Law:

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It’s technically not a requirement, but the cheatsheet for my midterm was extremely helpful. So making this one seemed sensible.

… Especially considering I get extra credit for the selfie.

Comm Law Final Cheatsheet
Eating the pain away.

Taken at lunch, with a cameo by Mom’s arm. Because taking a break in the middle of eating to do homework is the perfect encapsulation of my life.

Comm Law is arguably the biggest stressor, as it turns out that is going to be a cumulative exam. Even though it’s online and we have cheatsheets, it will undoubtedly be a nightmare.

More than Cognitive Psychology, anyway. I should theoretically be studying for that now, but the first two exams were so easy that I don’t feel compelled to kill myself here.

If anything, the more stressful parts of tomorrow are around that exam. Like the Kappa Tau Alpha Communications Honors Society induction ceremony around noon.

Which I’ll have to leave early to take my Psych exam.

That event will get me the last pieces of hardware for my graduation attire, which means I’ll have to finally have to figure out who should do my professional Grad photos.

Because that’s a thing everyone does.

However, I’m currently more concerned about parking for graduation. As I found out, the tickets I secured for my family  do not cover their parking at the event. I needed to get a separate parking pass for that — and that deadline was at the end of April.

Had to make some calls while I was waiting to hand off that sweet Gladeo computer so it could go to a better home. Editing videos, as it was meant to be.

Throw in my semester textbook return, getting a legal document notarized (like a real adult) and going to the gym, and you’ve got my scatterbrained mentality for the day.

At least once Psych and Comm Law are out of the way, life should slow down.

As far as my assignments go, I’ll still need to put together my Honors Project — which I’m working as I write:

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Then I need to finish my Gaming in American Culture paper. An endeavor made slightly more difficult by surrounding circumstances, but I’ll get to it eventually.

Oh, and let’s not forget that my Dad’s birthday is coming up.

So that’s the whirlwind I’m currently cycling through. I keep trying to remind myself that once I’m through this week I won’t have to worry about college ever again…

But frankly that seems to freak me out more.

Instead I’ve been trying to drown out the incessant thoughts with more Games Done Quick speedruns.

Because seeing someone beat a game like Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door in under four hours is enough to really melt the stress away.

Meeting expectations

If my life were a series of Sesame Street episodes, the word of the day would be: Meetings.

Pretty much as soon as I woke up, I joined Mom at a local Starbucks to have breakfast with Tatjana — the wife of Magic Moreno, who I spoke to for Gladeo not long ago.

Worth reading if you haven’t.

Breakfast was a nice, quiet opportunity to relax and sip down a little coffee. Both of which are very important the week before Finals and graduation.

Speaking of relaxing. I mentioned Tarantino movies the other day, but I’ve also been chilling out by watching some speedruns from various Games Done Quick events.

For those of you who don’t know, GDQ is a series of video game marathons where games are played for record times, under conditions ranging from basic 100 percent completion to multi-player races and even bizarre hacks like randomizers.

All to raise money for charity while showing off cool tricks. Definitely worth supporting.

My tastes are currently aligned with Super Metroid, A Link to the Past and Mario Sunshine.

However, I’m watching a neat Super Mario RPG run while writing this post, so that’s worth a shout out.

GDQ aside, after breakfast I made my way to Fullerton for the semester’s last CSUF Society of Professional Journalists meeting.

We ate pizza, discussed what did or did not work about our events and elected part of the board for next year. Most of the current group is graduating, so it’s a big old passing of the torch.

My girl Kristina, who is not graduating, will be taking over as President. And I know she’s going to kill it.

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From left to right: Jared Eprem, me, Harrison Faigen, Rick Piñon, Kristina Garcia and faculty advisor Frank Russell. Photo taken by Anita Ally.

Guess I’ll have to update all my social media descriptions pretty soon to reflect all this graduating/moving on from things.

That’s certainly what I started doing last night.

Job applications. Gotta love them.

I’ll get back to that eventually. In the meantime, from SPJ I went to my next meeting in the Honors Center to try and complete a few more graduation requirements. Namely getting my Honors Project title page signed off on.

Which I did:

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Now all I have to do is compile the stuff I’ve done so I can officially turn the damn thing in and move on.

While in the Center I had a lovely chat with Dr. Simoes as well. We spoke briefly at my presentation, but today he was more than happy to congratulate me for getting the project through this next step.

He even told me he’ll be buying a copy of my book once it’s published — so long as I sign a first edition for him.

It was very sweet.

After all of that I came back to Redondo and set up a meeting with Michelle to give back that lovely computer I’ve been holding onto. Too bad I never got it to full working condition on account of internet issue, but it’ll be much happier with a video editor where it belongs.

Once that was done, I went to probably my most important meeting of the day:

A meeting with the treadmill.

Because with all of this graduation stress on my shoulders it honestly feels great to go burn some calories and let off some steam.

Highly recommended stress relief, folks. Especially if you can watch some dope GDQ runs while you’re running!

You know I’ve got those great set-up/pay-offs.

The penultimate week

The penultimate week

My apologies for the absence this last weekend, oh loyal viewers — wherever the five of you may be.

I took a little time for myself following the Honors Conference (both my panel and a few friend’s panels I attended on Saturday) to focus on the last few assignments I have to complete before the semester is over. Next week.

I’ve also spent a good chunk of the weekend letting the existential dread of realizing that “this week is my last full week of college” drape over me like a heavy blanket.

Seriously, what? That’s not real. Who allowed this?

To be fair, I may go back to school one day and get a Masters or teaching credential so I can be a teacher in my later years. Seems like that would be a cool way to give back after I make a name for myself.

But that’s not really a matter for here and now. I’m mostly just nervous about the incoming inevitability of having no excuses to not go after that name.

Because that is terrifying.

So I’ve been relishing my last few college-oriented assignments. Turning in my Internship hours, pulling my novel’s prep work together for the physical Honors project and watching old Stephen Colbert videos for Comm Law.

For my Gaming in American Culture class, my last assignment (other than the final paper) is to read Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One for our discussion on virtual reality this Thursday.

Or… In my case, to re-read Ready Player One. Much like Ender’s Game, I read this book a few years ago. Well before the Spielberg adaptation was even announced.

Thus, similar to Ender’s Game, I’ve decided to take my re-consumption of the story in a different form: Listening to the audio book.

Cue YouTube-style Audible shill.

But not really, because Amazon isn’t paying me. If anything, I’m paying them — or at least my family is.

I will say the re-listen has been pretty worth it. Not only does the audio book make it easier to reacquaint myself with differences between the written and cinematic versions while doing other work, the act of listening is that much more fun because Wil Wheaton is reading it.

Wheaton’s reading leads to some beautifully meta moments, because he is personally mentioned in the story.

For instance, Wade Watts (the story’s protagonist) talks about Wheaton as a great representative of user interests on an elected council in the virtual reality world of the OASIS.

He says those lines without a shred of irony or winking to the audience, and it’s great.

But yeah… That has basically been my life. Everything y’all missed over the last couple days, other than helping a few friends through their own stressful life situations and watching Kill Bill with my family. Alyson had never seen it, and we needed to rectify that.

I know it’s a hot take for me to say it, but that movie is genuinely still incredible. A visual splendor.

If you need a little stress relief, like I have with all this impending graduation fatigue, go watch yourself some Tarantino. Or play a little Don’t Starve.

That’s my advice.

My Senior Honors Project debrief

My Senior Honors Project debrief

These graduation milestones are really starting to gear up.

Today’s adventure took me out to Fullerton with my parents so I could officially give my Senior Honors Project presentation.

It has been literal years in the making. After I spent some time reflecting on my novel and compiling the work behind it into a PowerPoint, I was finally ready to cap off my time in the Honors Program by speaking on a panel about creative writing projects.

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Here’s me with Valerie on the right and Stephanie on the left.

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When I attended Welcome to CSUF day four years ago, I was intimidated by the project during the Honors Program introduction. The idea of a year-long, self-driven (for all intents and purposes) undergraduate thesis that had no guidelines was terrifying.

I was able to stave off the fear by remembering the long college career I’d have before it would be a concern, and by latching onto people like Dr. Sexton — who I met that day and would later take his class. Which led to much more.

But the fear of the Senior Honors Project never fully went away.

Even when I decided what I wanted to do for my project, there was a period where I fell behind on my Honors courses because I couldn’t find a mentor. Then Dr. Rizzo came along and helped change my trajectory.

Yet the prep for a creative writing piece didn’t click as easily as journalism, which the recent Comm Awards showed I’m decent with.

However, being at the end of the road has given me hope that perhaps I haven’t been bad at the Honors Project thing either.

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Technically the certificate was from the COMM college, but still.

As I’ve transitioned from figuring out the scope of my project to actually preparing and writing, my fears also refocused from uncertainty and lack of guidance to figuring out how to share my work in a way that really conveys how special it is to me.

I practiced my presentation after the Honors Gala last night and it felt a bit shaky.

But in front of a crowd of my peers and mentors, things went exceptionally well. Mom even got some pictures of me doing my thing:

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She caught some good moments. Me with my characters and my little yellow book.

The presentation went off without a hitch, and I was more than ready to answer a questions from the audience. So it was great.

But once everything was said and done, the post-panel interactions went even better.

I got to introduce both of my parents to Dr. Rizzo (though she met my Dad at the COMM Awards) and had a blast watching them interact.

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It was even more fun to give her the gift I’ve been preparing.

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Surprise, this piece was for her all along!

I had to thank her for all of her help thus far, after all.

She cried. Which was an unexpected, but sweet little surprise.

Dr. Simoes was at the event, which was a great surprise considering a section of my presentation was dedicated to his help finding resources for my imagined civilizations.

So was Tyler Siedentopp — though that makes sense considering he’s the program’s Co-Curricular Coordinator. Turned out to be a nice way to wrap up our time together.

The most surprising attendee was College of Communications Dean Ed Fink. Everyone on my panel was a COMM student, but I was not expecting someone like him to come.

Apparently he had some very nice things to say to my parents after my presentation. Wish I could have been a fly on the wall for that conversation, since it seems like I’ve made a good impression all around campus.

If I have any negatives about the cathartic day of presenting, it’s that I have even more hardware to put on during graduation.

I swear I’ll pass out from heat stroke in the mid-May sun.

But you know what, it’ll all have been worth it considering the kinds of personal enlightenment I’ve felt getting there!