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!
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.
With my freedom, I did many other things I never would have been able to do before (in fear of judgment):
- Served three semesters in college ministry leading Bible study.
- Watched Zootopia in theaters in the middle of the night.
- Went camping – sort of, I lived in a log cabin dorm with lots of other girls.
- Went sailing and canoeing while I was there, though I am terrified of the water.
- Admitted my true love for dogs. ALASKAN MALAMUTES ARE SO GORGEOUS.
- Signed up to be a bone marrow donor.
- 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.
- 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.
- Saw my first Broadway show – Cirque du Soleil: Paramour.
- Learned how to fry an egg.
- Attended my first college lecture by sneaking into my friend’s trauma class, where I learned so much pertaining to my own health.
- Went to an all women’s retreat to enjoy time with my female friends apple picking and doing things away from them boys.
- Dressed up as Serena from Pokemon XY for Halloween.
- Rode a double decker bus for the first time to go ice skating with my friends.
Some other achievements this year:
- Launched #OneLinerTestimony, a photo project where people openly shared why they follow Jesus.
- Made A Proper Haunting, a point-and-click narrative game and displayed it in the NYU Game Center show.
- Traveled to the Yucatan Peninsula with my parents and toured a Mayan temple.
- Took an intensive game development class in summer with an awesome professor.
- Got my bottom wisdom teeth taken out and only took painkillers once!
- Voted for Hillary and convinced my mom to as well (she wasn’t gonna vote).
- Designed Florian, a puzzle narrative game for my thesis which I will write about next time!
- 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! 🙂