Looking back at my 2016 end-of-the-year post before starting this one off was a pretty interesting little experience. Mostly because I reflected on the fact that last year was a pretty universally divisive time with a lot of personal accomplishment that made things worth it all in the end.
This year, I have essentially the same thing to say. Except I would argue that the divisive part of things had been turned up to 11. Plus, while things have been great for me, a lot of things also have not been so great.
Spoiler alert, I’m basically just ready for 2017 to end.
Unlike in last year’s discussion, I won’t go too far into detail about my video game playing experiences this year. I kind of already did it with my top 10 games list the other day, even if that was in order of my personal enjoyment rather than the chronological order I played things.
I’m going to just leave this off as a ‘check that list out here‘ note rather than talking too much more about it, especially since I’m probably going to do a few more video game-centric posts soon enough.
Namely tomorrow when Fire Emblem Heroes New Year units are released.
To cover all of my bases in this post just in case you guys don’t want to look back, just know that I didn’t play nearly as many games as I would have liked this year, and while I thoroughly enjoyed just about everything I did play, it’s a shame I couldn’t have done more due to my time commitments.
Speaking of, those time commitments wound up bookmarking my 2017 more than my video games did in that respect.
The Daily Titan has been the main driving force of that throughout the year. While last spring semester was my first time being an editor for the paper alongside Megan Maxey, I continued on in that role both semesters this year, only getting better and better at the job (in my opinion, at least).
During the fall semester, I worked together with Sarah Wolstoncroft – who had been one of my amazing assistants the semester before. Then this last semester, I worked together with Brandon Pho – who again had been one of my amazing assistants the semester before. Amazing how that pattern works out in the smaller College-level news industry, especially when you’re one of the younger starting people in the room to observe it.
Looking back at my archive, I’ve written a total of 40 stories between these last two semesters combined. That’s a lot of writing, even kind of overwhelming to think back to considering everything else I balanced, and there are some of them I’ll probably never forget working on.
A couple of articles were really serious last minute things I’ve had to do, such as our reporting the night of the Las Vegas shooting. A couple of them have been little passion projects for things like video games, such as my reviews of the Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga remake and Fire Emblem Heroes. I’ve even done a few things I never quite expected to do at this point in what is a burgeoning career, like writing entire articles off of my phone while translating documents at Downtown Disney. The policies put into place by President Donald Trump, as well as things like the CSU-wide tuition increase, played big parts in the overarching issues we covered.
However, I think the stories I especially won’t forget are the massive projects I helped lead during my time as an editor.
During the spring came the work we did on Homeless in OC, a series that blossomed out of the Daily Titan advisor Bonnie Stewart’s Investigative Reporting class where I got to participate in the all night Point-In-Time count and do extended research into the Anaheim shelter system, particularly under Mercy House.
Spring was also the semester of the Eric Canin incident that shook up Cal State Fullerton. For those who don’t remember, at an anti-Trump rally early on in the year, an anthropology professor reportedly struck a member of the College Republicans club as both the protest and counter-protest made their way through campus. There wound up being many months worth of stories to follow as a political shitstorm erupted over the altercation, eventually resulting in the Professor coming back to teach as the verdict came out that he did strike the student, but there were enough caveats to the moment given it was his first offense that no harsh action was taken outside a few month’s suspension. That last story in particular was special for me in that our Chief Communications Officer Jeffrey Cook reached out specifically to give us information ahead of time so I could write a substantial story over the summer wrapping things up.
Part of the Canin story involved me growing a close relationship with members of the College Republicans club, which was extra useful come the fall semester when I got to be the lead reporter in our work on Milo Yiannopoulos coming to CSUF.
Granted, that whole experience did kind of wreck my Halloween this year, but the aspect of working on and learning from such a high-controversy story was something I wouldn’t change for the world.
Plus, I got to be on NPR because of it, so I definitely can’t complain about that.
The fall semester was also bookmarked by dealing with (current) University President Mildred Garcia. I got to be part of the team that did an interview with her toward the beginning of the semester, and I was also the person that covered the fact that she would be leaving at the end of the semester. In my opinion, it’s never a bad thing to build a good reputation with the higher-ups in an organization. Makes it easier to do things like get comments down the line.
Those big stories weren’t the only things that made this such a hard-working year for me. I also kept on with Dr. Jason Sexton as a part of Boom, which led to me becoming the inaugural editor for an offshoot publication called California Connections in the spring. That project did get off the ground, but most of the work in creating a publication is going to flourish in 2018, so stay tuned for that.
I also started on probably my first major internship over the summer by joining a non-profit organization called Gladeo. Gladeo’s goal is to create a database of business profiles and job descriptions that can all be in one place and help students decide what they want to do for a living. A pretty noble goal, and one that I likely would have benefitted from if I haven’t found my place as a Journalist.
Even if certain other events (that I’ll go into in a bit) got in the way of working hard for that group over the spring semester as well, I’m sticking on with them too and will continue to produce profiles as the organization revamps its web presence in the early months of this upcoming year.
There are still a few interviews I did with people who work at DreamWorks animation that I have to pull together into articles… But I will get around to that soon enough.
Among my journalistic ventures this year, I also got to do some cool things like visit the LA Weekly office. It was a great place and I got to meet some cool people as a result… It’s just too bad they were given a bad break just a few months later. It’s a shame, really. Especially since we know people who worked there personally.
On top of that, I’ve also had a few other fun trips throughout the year. Revisiting Old Fort MacArthur Days comes to mind, as does events I’ve taken part in at places like The Autry Museum. Plus, I got to go to the Fox studio lot for a movie screening – though I wasn’t allowed to take any pictures there, unfortunately.
Being a journalist is only half of my professional moniker, however. The other half is being a student, and I have to say that my classes have been quite enjoyable this year… For the most part.
During the fall I took California Government and got a wider understanding of just how crazy things are in the old Golden State I’ve grown up in. I also took Primate Anthropology, which gave me a pretty deep appreciation of our mammalian ancestors that I never exactly expected to care so much about. My aforementioned Investigative Reporting class allowed me to work with Bonnie and other members of The Daily Titan and journalism majors in general to do some really fascinating and personally perspective-changing research into Homeless populations. Finally, I also thoroughly enjoyed my honors class, which delved into the history of the modern world from a deep perspective, offering in part some really interesting connections to today’s political and social workings.
When spring came along, for some reason I decided to kill myself further by kicking things up a notch and taking five classes.
I coincided my work on California Connections with an internship class out of the English college under the instruction of our internship advisor in Communications, since I was able to get extra credits toward my degree despite not being able to take the Comm-focused internship. Beyond that, I picked up my minor in psychology and jumped right in with a Statistics course (with its corresponding lab) and a course in Developmental Psychology. Both were undoubtedly great entry points into the minor… Even if I admittedly was not the strongest stats student, at least in part due to the fact that I wasn’t a huge fan of my professor. However, my Multimedia Journalism class under Bonnie once again gave me a great opportunity to practice doing video journalism, which at one point helped me bolster my working relationship with the Project Rebound program on campus, and my Junior Honors Colloquium course began me down the journey of preparing for my inevitable Senior Honors project.
Plus, I was in the same class as the president of the College Republicans club, which made things vastly easier to keep up on the Milo coverage than it otherwise could have been.
Sheesh, just writing all of that out was a bit exhausting. Like a lot of people have asked me in the past, I too kind of question how I’ve been able to do all of this with enough competency not to necessarily fall on my ass in any of it.
Who knows, maybe I’m just a bit better at this whole life thing than I give myself credit for.
Despite this wealth of academic and real-life opportunities that have flourished for me over the last year, not everything in 2017 has been all sunshine and rainbows.
Namely, health has been a major concern for my family all throughout.
A lot of the beginning of the year focused on some of my dad’s diabetic complications, which led to him being off his feet for a long, long time due to the introduction of a number of foot surgeries into his life. Luckily, he’s way better now and did not have to go through anything seriously traumatic, so he’ll be apt to tell you that the big take-away from it all was the ease that comes from now having a handicap permit.
My mom and sister also went through their own little arcs, the prior dealing with bronchitis and badly scraping up her knees and the latter dealing with tendinitis that has minorly inconvenienced her blossoming career in music.
However, the other big medical complication of the year came from one other than yours truly.
I haven’t exactly talked about this little chapter of my life too publicly because it was a very personal thing, but at this point I’m well past the blunt of it and figure now would be as good a time as ever to recount the details for posterity.
During a blood test as part of my routine check-up in September, the doctor found that my blood platelet count was abnormally, if not dangerously low. When that result continued to show itself, I was sent to a Hematologist, where we tried a number of treatments to resolve the issue, such as taking steroids over a long period of time in hopes of correcting what was believed to be a potential issue with an overactive immune system.
When that didn’t show as promising a result as expected, I instead took part in an Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IvIG) treatment. After two days worth of a number of hours sitting in a chair, I wound up being in the lucky .01 percent minority that suffered from aseptic meningitis as a result of the treatment.
It was a viral form of the problem, which meant it wasn’t nearly as serious, life-threatening or contagious as a potential bacterial strain would have been. However, I landed in the hospital for a couple days as a result.
On the one hand, I will admit that it was kind of nice getting a reprieve from the world and some quiet time to catch up on work while I was there. Though, on the other hand, it obviously put a wrench in… Basically everything. Even after I got out of the hospital, where I got to try a bunch of new things like a spinal fluid tap, there was at least a week afterward that I still had to rest at home and couldn’t look in the light for more than a few minutes.
Once my life began to normalize again, I was still a little fuzzy-headed for a while, but eventually I got to a comfortable place again, where I continue to stay today.
Unfortunately, despite the fact that my blood platelet count normalized perfectly after the IvIG (a rather ironically perfect twist of fate I’d say), the number has fallen back down since. It’s an issue I might be dealing with for the rest of my life as things go, but for now I can happily report that things are going fine.
That long, drawn-out experience which interrupted a part of my 2017 was only one part of why I’d say things were so rough. Among them were the echo chamber of news that I now tend to subject myself to as a semi-professional journalist.
I don’t like to get very political on my blog here. Or anywhere, in fact. My whole choice in career is built upon the ideal that I should simply be a reporter of things, as objective as possible about as many things as possible. So, I’ll leave it at this. Watching things happen in the world of national politics that I don’t agree with has been a constantly draining force in 2017, especially given that it seems to be all we hear about day-in and day-out for months on end.
Though as usual things like video games and time with my friends are a great escape from that endless grind, as I mentioned before I’ve found myself busier than ever with the work that keeps me immersed in that world, so it’s been a fairly relentless cycle.
Even with all the negativity that has defined 2017 for me, however, I can’t help but continue to look optimistically into the future.
2018 has some big projects in the works, such as the hopefully successful publication of California Connections toward the end of this spring semester.
On top of that, I’m going to be working as a staff member of The Daily Titan through the journalism concentration capstone class, Comm 471. Alongside that opportunity for a break from the hard-working job of editorial board that I’ve hammered at for the last year-and-a-half, I’m also going to hopefully be an assistant on a more feature-focused desk to give me a better grasp of the newspaper as a whole.
Past that, 2018 should hopefully be a year where I find myself less downtrodden by things like medical concerns. With a Nintendo Switch in my possession for the whole year ahead, it should also be a good opportunity to try even more games should I find the time to do so.
As I like to get meta with this site as well, I’ve put together 103 posts throughout this year (this one included), and I’ve gotten a good chunk more views in the process.
I’m looking forward to watching this little passion project of mine grow about as much as everything else, since it really has developed into something I enjoy doing. One thing I’d like to do in the coming year is hopefully diversify what I post just a bit more, but we’ll see what my time permits.
Lastly, for now at least, 2018 will also be the year that I turn 21. A typically sought-after time where I’ll finally be able to round-out the governmental privileges of adulthood like drinking. Though I don’t plan to do a whole lot of that, I admit I am looking forward to a certain sense of prestige that comes with it.
If you have any favorite, or I suppose not-so-favorite memories from 2017, feel free to let me know about them in the comments section. I’m hoping it’s been an overall happier year for all of you out there than it has been for me, since I’m just about ready to leave everything behind for something better around the corner.
Here’s to a Happy New Year for everyone who continues to stick around on this little journey I call my life!