I woke up in a cold sweat. The terrible dream had returned. It felt so real, I couldn’t shake it. Standing there alone in the room, fairy outfit on, wand in hand but alone and sobbing. My little angel, my darling Angela. All she had wanted was an ice skating party. I had got it all right, well nearly all. I’d organised everything from the venue hire, Melbourne has an excellent ice rink, to the food and even the party bags. The one thing that slipped my mind, sending the invitations.
Angela, alone and inconsolable, could barely look at me. I had ruined her fifth birthday and she would never forgive me. Luckily it was just a dream. When the day finally arrived I let out of a sigh of relief when the entirety of Mrs. Brown’s prep class turned up raring to skate. Angela had nothing but a smile and some smeared chocolate brownie on her face.
I never did tell Angela about my dream. I had experienced the same nightmare before her third and fourth birthdays. I feared it was my subconscious preparing me for a major parental failure in the years to come. I felt I had struck lucky this time. The party was a hit, a full turnout in fact and I did not want to tempt fate by trying to one up myself. Of all the birthday venues Melbourne has to offer I had really hit the jackpot; Food, entertainment, cheap parking and all within reach of the city. In the years to come we celebrated Angela’s birthday on the ice. The venue never changed and the crowd only grew. The invitations were consistently sent and fun was always had.
Angela is now 15 and organising her own birthday parties. Today is the eve of her sweet sixteenth, a major milestone in her adolescence. As I lay awake thinking of this landmark event I hear a scream. It’s Ang. She had the nightmare. No one turned up, she hadn’t sent the invites. Who knew nightmares could be hereditary.
During my time as a student, I took a number of game development courses. Melbourne is just great for these cutting-edge game courses and I had a great time. Along the way I realised how social you’ve got to be to make it in the industry, so here’s how I made the most of my IT courses.
Getting involved in extracurricular activities may not be as important while you’re studying humanities or even something more practical like science or law. However, game dev is special because it’s hands-on, creative and vocational all at the same time. Getting involved in things outside of your classes will help a tonne when you’re looking for a job after graduating. For example, I took part in a yearly game jam with my friends. We stayed up for three days drinking coffee and building a game. It was hard work but the game turned out awesome and it was so fun to see what the other teams had produced. I’d also recommend checking all the notice boards at uni, keeping up to date with your facebook feed and even asking your tutors what to get involved in outside of your game design course.
Meeting people in your industry is just as important for maximising your career prospects. You basically have to go to all the events you can go to, say hi to everyone and chat with everyone you can. For me as a shy person it was quite challenging at first but I did ease into it. Once I shed off my youthful insecurities, I found that most people are pretty pleasant to deal with (especially people in the gaming/IT field – they’re so chill!) and more often than not they’re willing to help hook you up with your next job or gig. I even got chatty with people at my part time job (I worked in a bar at the time) and was surprised to find that even this helped me meet some people in the industry. Talking to everyone sure was an unexpected way to make the most of my gaming courses.