Arizona has been my home for seventeen years. It’s hot here. It’s brown here. There’s no water. It doesn’t change. But it’s home. I know where everything important to me is. Here are those people who I see every day, who drag me out when I have nothing to do, who encourage me. Here are also those people who have seen me grow, who have taught me and learned from me, who have nurtured me in my career. And yet, I’m leaving them, leaving the whole state.
You see, I’m moving to California in August to attend UC Santa Cruz’s Digital Arts and New Media MFA program. I’ve wanted this for a long time (since 2010), but it’s very terrifying. I’m going to leave all of my life behind, go a whole state away, live with three people I don’t know at all, and probably spend a lot of time by myself. Even still, I’m going to go. The opportunity is amazing, and it will be doing something I want to do with my life (making and studying games). So I’m grateful, and willing to go, it just seems so undeserving of me to leave all of this life behind. This is of course being overdramatic, as I’m not leaving everything behind and never looking back, but it still feels that way.
What I’d like to do here is pass out some gratitude. This is a bit long overdue, but I kept putting it off until some more definitive plans had been settled, but that just keeps getting further and further away.
So first, let me show some gratitude to the people who helped me on my current path to California. These are my professors and mentors. It’s been five months since I graduated from my M. A. so I think it’s high time I thank my chair, Maureen Daly Goggin, who supported my strange applied project and made me feel at ease during my defense. I’ll always remember when I first approached her about my applied project and we geeked out over old Sierra games. She gave me the direction I needed and made the whole process effortless.
In addition to Maureen, I got a lot of support from my professors. Most notable is Alice Daer, who introduced me to games studies and has supported me ever since 2008. She’s been a mentor to me over the years, and a person I can turn to in case I need help with academic issues. She’s really helped with navigation, and she’s one of the people who helped me get into my program by recommending me. My other recommenders were Betty Hayes and Zach Waggoner, who have each helped me in their own ways. Betty allowed me to subvert her classes and follow my own research, and Zach was the editor for my first publication. I’m grateful for their encouragement and criticism.
I should also pass gratitude to my friends and family, but since this is a public forum and they aren’t public people, I’ll spare their names. My closest friends know who they are and what they have done for me. I’m indebted to my roommate, and the people I see every week keep me sane and full of hope. Some I see less often, but they keep pushing me to be the best I can be. They want to see me succeed, and I would be remiss to deny them this. My parents have been supportive of my career, even if I am distant and will probably remain so.
Even though I am leaving home, I’ll bring all of home with me. I know this, and yet it feels like something is ending. Like I’m leaving and may never return. I know that I probably will, and this is just me being overdramatic, but that’s how it feels.