Farewell 2016: Farewell New York University

I am a little bit early, but I am ready to say goodbye to 2016 and my time at New York University! As of this Monday at 3AM, I officially submitted my final thesis, which makes me a Master of Science in Digital Media!


I want to write about my thesis and show you the fully playable demo of my game, but my book hasn’t come back from the bindery yet! In the meantime, I have been sleeping and trying to pack up my stuff, because in a little more than a week I will be leaving! As a celebration of the end of my school life forever, I have decided to take a month-long sabbatical to Hong Kong and Singapore, and will wrap it up with a visit to my grandparents in Beijing to celebrate Chinese New Year!

Hong Kong, Singapore, Beijing

I’m not just traveling to run around all the tourist attractions (especially since I’ve already been to Hong Kong twice) because my vacation is a chance for me to breathe from my everyday life. I’ve battled a lot emotionally in the last two years and it’s a chance for me to truly rest and spend time for myself. Part of taking a breath is getting off Facebook / texting, and instead enjoy life in foreign cities. I’ve already started preparing by finally reactivating my Instagram!!!

Follow me @pinkhat.jpg! It’s the same account I had before except I cleared it, so if you were following me before you’re probably still following me! I will also start following all of my friends again.

I renamed my account to pinkhat.jpg in reverence of my first and favorite snapback, a pink and black cap with St. Louis written on it which I bought on the first day of this year in St. Louis. The hat has significant meaning for me because getting it began the transformation of my self-esteem and demeanor. I am a lot more confident now than I was at the beginning of the year.

This year has been very stressful, so much that I dropped out of thesis for nine months, took only one class per semester, and quit the WordPress development job I loved. It was tough for me because I had to learn how to handle feelings of genuine happiness mixed with complete emptiness. About seven months into the year, I figured out that everything I was learning about feelings and friendships was the foundation of my thesis, which I spent the past four and a half months working on! I researched relationships between humans and put all my findings together in a video game. I’m proud of my accomplishments, especially since I did not expect to leave graduate school as a game designer at all.

I entered NYU “knowing” that I will become an app developer, and didn’t even consider that it would not happen simply because I had no idea how to deal with adult responsibilities and social life. In the first two months, I was harassed by a coworker and my college crew for my choice to pursue my studies, and also somehow got in a semi-romantic relationship where I didn’t even know we were more than friends. I also ended up spending the rest of my time in graduate school getting over a hardly-romantic but very abusive relationship. 2016 is thus very important to me because the highlight of the year was developing my own identity for the first time ever.

The freedom was what made me feel so happy, and also so empty because I didn’t know what to do with being able to control my own life. However, I have taken it step by step!

One of the ways I used my freedom was trying out different fashion styles. I used to dress the way men told me to and I feared wearing anything that wasn’t classy. I also thought I could only pull off straight red hair with a fringe. I tossed all that away when I bought my pinkhat, and this year I’ve tried everything from sneakers, hair accessories, trial-and-error hairstyles, and most importantly purple locks which faded to blonde, a color I have always been uncomfortable with. I have made the conclusion I really like a little bit of everything and my style is not having one. I also slowly became more comfortable taking selfies or having my picture taken once I was able to look at myself and see a whole person.

Me through 2016!

With my freedom, I did many other things I never would have been able to do before (in fear of judgment):

  1. Served three semesters in college ministry leading Bible study.
  2. Watched Zootopia in theaters in the middle of the night.
  3. Went camping – sort of, I lived in a log cabin dorm with lots of other girls.
  4. Went sailing and canoeing while I was there, though I am terrified of the water.
  5. Admitted my true love for dogs. ALASKAN MALAMUTES ARE SO GORGEOUS.
  6. Signed up to be a bone marrow donor.
  7. Learned how to play Bang!, the favorite board game of my male friends, and kept winning with beginner’s luck that now they wanna get me.
  8. Met a long time friend from Australia who visited the USA for the first time and toured my own city with her for a whole week.
  9. Saw my first Broadway show – Cirque du Soleil: Paramour.
  10. Learned how to fry an egg.
  11. Attended my first college lecture by sneaking into my friend’s trauma class, where I learned so much pertaining to my own health.
  12. Went to an all women’s retreat to enjoy time with my female friends apple picking and doing things away from them boys.
  13. Dressed up as Serena from Pokemon XY for Halloween.
  14. Rode a double decker bus for the first time to go ice skating with my friends.

Some other achievements this year:

  1. Launched #OneLinerTestimony, a photo project where people openly shared why they follow Jesus.
  2. Made A Proper Haunting, a point-and-click narrative game and displayed it in the NYU Game Center show.
  3. Traveled to the Yucatan Peninsula with my parents and toured a Mayan temple.
  4. Took an intensive game development class in summer with an awesome professor.
  5. Got my bottom wisdom teeth taken out and only took painkillers once!
  6. Voted for Hillary and convinced my mom to as well (she wasn’t gonna vote).
  7. Designed Florian, a puzzle narrative game for my thesis which I will write about next time!
  8. Got my Master of Science in Digital Media.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!! Here’s to 2017, the year I return to adult life, equipped with skills to be responsible and emotionally healthy as I seek new adventures! Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram because I won’t be taking my laptop on my trip and will only be updating with photos! 🙂

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13 Comments to "Farewell 2016: Farewell New York University"

Michelle wrote on 22nd December 2016 at 5:05 PM

Congrats ^^ on getting your degree~ I’m not close to getting my degree and I’m not facing a impasse but I will get through it. 2016 has been an emotional and bad year for me, but I am glad it turned out well for you! 2017 will even be better for you and it’s a year I will strive to make better for myself, and my husband <3


Kate wrote on 24th December 2016 at 3:09 AM

Hi! I am new to your blog. 😉 Wow, you have a Master’s degree already. I can barely finish my Bachelor’s degree. lol Also congrats on your ‘newly found’ freedom. 😀


Tara wrote on 25th December 2016 at 1:34 AM

Congratulations on your accomplishment, Liv! I am so happy and relieved for you on finishing up your thesis and your programme. I remember the immense joy I’d felt when I’d finished my own MA. It was a bigger relief when I’d finished my “crapstone” project!

I think it’s wonderful that you’re taking the time to travel to unwind from all that you’ve gone through. Travelling can be exhausting, but I think in some ways it’s a lot more relaxing than doing a staycation. I guess it depends on the situation. Do enjoy your time abroad and catching up with your family and seeing all the wonderful sights ^^

Also, kudos to you for being more confidence in your style. Your style is awesome, and the fact that you’re doing it for yourself instead of for men is even better <3

You've done so much this year! I hope your 2017 will be even more fulfilling and filled with a lot of great experiences and memories.


Sakura wrote on 25th December 2016 at 12:27 PM

Congrats on getting your Masters!


Kya wrote on 26th December 2016 at 2:47 AM

It has been a massive year for you and I am so glad you have been able to explore yourself and discover many things about you. I hope that continues into 2017 and you have the best year yet! 😀


Kemi wrote on 26th December 2016 at 8:59 PM

Congrats on completing your time at uni, especially with all the hardships you had this year. Congrats on all you learned an gained along the way!

Definitely take time to relax during your sabbatical – sounds amazing! that is definitely something I want to do one day myself 🙂


Pauline wrote on 27th December 2016 at 9:11 AM

I loved reading your blog throughout the year Liv! Thank you for sharing everything from your achievements to your downfalls and being one of the most open and honest bloggers there is out there. ❤️

Congrats on graduating and getting your Masters degree! I hope you celebrate to the fullest and enjoy your time travelling – you deserve it so go out and make sure you take every moment in with positivity and light! I just followed you on Instagram, I can’t wait to follow you on your adventures.

” the highlight of the year was developing my own identity for the first time ever.” This is something I want to work on in 2017, for the last half of 2016 I’ve been confused on who I am and what I want after some destructive relationships too. I hope to heal in the next year and develop my own identity.

Happy new year Liv! <3


Georgie wrote on 28th December 2016 at 2:52 AM

Oh congratulations on submitting your thesis. Holy shit, you’re finally done. 😄 I was going to joke and ask if you were sure you didn’t want to do a PhD, but aye, I know Masters degrees can be hell. Wooohoo, go have a much-needed break!

I realised I was already following you on Instagram, so I left it at that. 🙂 Looking forward to see what you will post!

My hair pretty much did the same thing as yours, ugh. It’s a shame, mine looks like a honey-mahogany now, and like you, I fucking hate blonde. LOL. My mum keeps telling me “I wish you would go blonde”. Makes me want to puke. Nothing against people who have the colour, but I hate it on my hair. I hate it a lot. So now it looks like it’s heading in that direction and I’m doomed. 😛 Anyway, I won’t speak more about purple hair failures, you probably understand my hair woes, purple just does not stick well. 😞

I saw my first Cirque show this year too (Kooza)! I definitely want to see another one. I’ve seen two other musicals (Miss Saigon and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) but definitely want to see more. 😎


Jenny wrote on 28th December 2016 at 11:22 AM

Congratulations on getting your degree, what an amazing accomplishment! And not just that, but all the personal achievements you’ve made throughout the year as well. It sounds like your journey has had its ups and downs, and good for you for not letting the bad parts keep you down, but instead, allowing them to push you further up 🙂

A month long trip sounds like the perfect way to allow yourself to relax and just enjoy the sights, I hope you have a safe and wonderful trip!

PS. Totally agree with you on Alaskan Malamutes, they’re beautiful dogs! I’ve wanted one ever since I started watching Game of Thrones xD


Cat wrote on 29th December 2016 at 2:35 AM

Congrats on getting your Masters! I’m glad that the second half of the year was a lot better for you, and I think you’ve accomplished so much! I enjoyed reading your list of achievements, and I love how you experimented with different fashion styles. That’s still something I haven’t got out of my comfort zone on. I think the purple hair looks so good on you!

That’s a good idea to take a month break to relax. I’ve never been in China during Chinese New Year, so I’d love to hear about that later! Have fun on your trip!


Amy wrote on 30th December 2016 at 7:10 PM

Congratulations on getting your Master’s degree. It must be amazing to see that all your hard work has paid off!

I hope you enjoy travelling. You definitely deserve some time to relax and have fun after all the hard work. I can’t wait to see the pictures on your Instagram!


Becca wrote on 1st January 2017 at 12:05 PM

Oh my goodness, congrats Liv!! So exciting to be done with your finals and to have your masters! I’d love to hear more about your thesis when you get everything back because it sounds really interesting. What a great way to celebrate your accomplishment, too! Your trip sounds like it will be amazing so have fun and enjoy yourself! You’ve earned it!

Woot! Love that your name is inspirted by the hat you bought in St. Louis! I like to think my city is pretty great. 😉

I love that picture of you with the purple hair. You look so happy and free in that one!

2016 was such a big and eventful year for you, so I hope 2017 is all that and more for you. Can’t wait to read about your adventures, so enjoy your time off girl!


Sue wrote on 2nd January 2017 at 11:06 PM

Congrats Olivia on earning your masters! So proud of you! It was rough for you, yet you have been resilient. Really enjoy seeing you change over the years, even now. You lead a college Bible study group!! And your #OneLinerTestimony was a success. Even the small stuff like learning how to fry an egg contributes to growing. 🙂

Following your Instagram, even though I can’t post on my Instagram account due to having a Windows phone. They only allow Apple and Android users to post.

Glad you also find time to travel. It’s nice to have breaks from your work/study environment, and go somewhere else, do new things, relax, and explore.

Looks like you had a great 2016, with both happy moments, and struggling moments.


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