A little personal reflection never hurt anybody

This Trimester was full of some really big changes for me. Until now I’d actively tried to force myself into every leadership role available. I endeavoured to have my hand on every aspect of the project and saw myself as a game design generalist.

I think it’s safe to say that at various point throughout the journey this Tri, all of those things have changed or disappeared entirely.

I took a step back on my projects and allowed my team to guide my actions. I actively (forcefully at times) tried my best to let friends and peers have ownership and agency over their own aspects of the project.

And I finally found the area I want to specialise, and not the vague, nonsense “specialisation” I’ve talked about in the past. A solid, tangible field with actual employment opportunities; with knowledge to absorb from years of literature, UI/UX design.

Unlike earlier trimesters though, these changes weren’t spawned from new knowledge or dramatic game dev upskilling. They happened because, in my eyes at least, I’ve matured. Both as a professional and an adult.

Things that were active mental efforts on my part, being kind in a team setting or looking out for my peers are now things I take great pride in saying are coming much more naturally. I’ve tried so hard to be someone that's better to be around, someone that’s encouraging rather than negative and works to help others improve as much as I do myself.

I finally feel like I’m getting there, getting to a point where I can say I’m proud of who I am and how I behave in a professional setting. People say it’s important to get along with the people you work alongside, but the more I progress in this regard, the more I understand how much further that goes. It’s not just about “getting along”. It’s about understanding them as people. Their likes and dislikes, their motivations and idiosyncrasies. And not just to be more “efficient” in the workplace, but because when those things come together, it brings everyone up a notch. Unknowns stop being scary and become new exciting challenges, obstacles become another thing to improve your skills.

I want to keep working towards this personal change, and I think that’s something that will keep ticking along in the background for my entire life. When I came into this degree, I saw myself as mean. I acted mostly with my best interests at heart and I was often awful to be around. In all honesty I don’t ever want to fucking see myself like that again.

But I think I have the tools, and more importantly the awareness, to keep this positive momentum up and continue to mature and grow as a teammate, a partner, a friend and a son.

This momentum is something I really want to bring into my professional aspirations. I want to start moving forward with a much more direct focus on improving my skills, knowledge and application of UI/UX design. Not only is this to improve my standing as a potential employee or intern, I also think it’s important to have something clear to work towards.

I’m going to (already have) start reading more texts on game design theory as well as try to absorb any and all information around UI and UX.

I also want to start playing more games with a critical eye. Recently when I’ve played games I’ve resented the fact that my perception as a consumer has changed. But knowing more about a band doesn’t make me like music less, knowing how a movie was made doesn’t reduce my experience, so why should I let it impact how much I enjoy playing the games I’m setting out to make?

Talking about this self-improvement is all well and good though. I’ve done it before. I’ve said plenty of times how much I want to get better at something.

But not once have I set myself any goals, no ways to measure my succeed and gauge my progress. But I do know what I want to achieve. It may seem trivial to some, perhaps unreachable to others. But it’s something I really want, it’s something I need

I want to be proud of my work, and I know the only way to do that is to make sure that I’m giving it my all in every possible way, including giving myself the time and care necessary to remain healthy and motivated throughout this endeavour.

Just as much as I want to be proud of my work, I want my peers and friends to see my improvement as well. Recently I’ve realised how important it is to be open to the people around me, to seek out feedback, criticism and approval from my peers.

Sometimes it’s hard. I have gotten better at it, but it’s still a really difficult thing to do. But the opinion of those around me, both of my work and me as a person, is one of the most important things to be aware of.

I also want to keep writing. I’m disappointed in myself for having let my blog fall to the wayside these last few months.I’ve finally sort-of-almost-nearly found my Google Doc voice (though I’m the first to admit my metaphors get a bit pretentious at times).

I think the next step I have to take to achieve all this is to be more public. More public with my blog, my projects, my thoughts and opinions (within reason, looking at you Twitter) and learn to use the feedback, positive and negative, to improve my practice and myself as a person.

These last few months have been exhausting, and I know the coming months are going to be even bigger. But I’m not dreading it like I have in the past. Because I feel like I’m moving in the right direction.