One of the hobbies Adam and I do together is play video games. It is a staple in our lives that started when we were kids. For me it stopped and picked up again when Adam gave me a Nintendo 2DS for Christmas when we were first dating. For Adam it is something he has never stopped since he got his very first GameBoy back in the day. I thought it would be fun to interview him and see what his thoughts/memories/opinions are around gaming and to share them with you. Check out his responses below:
Can you tell me about your first memory of video games?
“My most vivid memory of video games from when I was a kid was when I received a Gameboy color and Pokemon Red Version for my birthday in November 1998. I had been asking my parents for a Gameboy and Pokemon for a while, since it was the hot new thing and everyone had the cards and watched the anime. It was a really special moment when I received it and I still remember it to this day!"
What video game have you probably spent the most time playing?
"This question is twofold, since I definitely spent the most time over the years playing all the different Pokemon games, but that is more of a “what video game series have I spent the most time playing” thing. As for just a straight up game, it would probably have to be Halo 2. My brother and I spent an entire summer break one year playing that game (and getting insanely good at it). We both played it way more as the year went on as well, so I likely logged over 400-500 hours in that game."
What are your top 5 favorite video game franchises of all time?
When was the first time you played video games with other people?
"The first time I recall playing video games with someone else was when my brother and I played our copies of Pokemon Blue and Red, respectively. We would sit together and talk about all the things we were doing as we were doing them in the game; which looking back on it probably drove everyone else in our family crazy. Our family made fun of how many hours we could sit there playing these games and I even recall my grandma saying “They can’t even hear us when their heads are in those games!” but you know what? I totally did hear you grandma!"
Do you prefer to play games on your own or with friends/on teams/against others?
"This one is tricky, because I am not the type of “gamer” who sticks with just one style of gameplay. I really enjoy getting to play solid single-player games such as Skyrim, Pokemon, or other RPGs, and I also really enjoy playing team based games that are competitive such as Halo, Gears of War, Rocket League, etc. At this age though, I am definitely happiest whenever I get to play a game with my friends but we are all on the same team against the game (PvE gaming as it is called), because I really enjoy the teamwork aspect without having the stress of playing competitively against other real humans. This is one of the main reasons that the Dark Souls game series is so high on my list, since my friends and I can beat the game together, fighting the enemies and bosses in sync with each other."
What do you define as a “gamer”?
"I would define a “gamer” as someone who is passionate about video gaming and sees it as an art form that it really is. There is literally no other art medium like it. It brings together the music, video, reading, and learning aspects of all the other mediums out there and makes it into one cohesive piece (as long as it is a good game). I think that people who appreciate this and enjoy it should call themselves a “gamer”, and not think of it as only someone who plays competitively or earns money from gaming."
Do you see video games always being a part of your life?
"I really do. I can’t imagine a time in my life at this point where I will altogether stop playing games. Even with the stresses of moving, college, grad school, getting married, and moving some more, I have always carved out time to play video games. As I have evolved over the years, so too have video games. You can now play them portably much easier than when I was young, and with things like Virtual Reality (VR) on the rise, I cannot wait to see what the industry has in store for the future. Video gaming is a hobby of mine that I am very passionate about, and I love getting to share that passion with others such as my lovely wife, family, and friends. "
How have video games benefited you up to this point? (List several ways if there are several)
"I sort of touched on this with the previous questions, but video games have been a universal truth in my life that have been around all of the ups and downs I experience. When I was young, video games helped me learn how to read, reason, and helped with things like my vocabulary and understanding more about the world around me. As I grew, video games were an outlet and a passion that helped me when I would feel stressed from my family or friends. Times such as my parent’s divorce, going through puberty, high school and going off to college, were all surrounded by one never-changing constant; Video games. I truly think that without gaming my life would be quite different from what it is today, which may sound a bit over dramatic until you think about how something like your favorite television show, movie, or book may have helped you through tough or trying times in your life. Video games are a fun way to relax and destress, but they also teach me more about who I am as a person, and how I can work to achieve my goals. "
How have video games hindered you up to this point (if at all)?
"Probably the first thing that comes to my mind with how video games have hindered me up to this point is that they can on occasion be used as a “crutch” so to speak. Just like how some people will in their darker times turn to alcohol, binge watching tv shows, or overeating to make themselves feel better, so too have I been guilty of video games being this “crutch” for me. There have been times where rather than face my problems or try to fix them, I instead chose to instead jump on another game of Call of Duty. Or instead of going out and trying to make new friends and meet new people, I have chosen to sit inside and play Skyrim for 18+ hours on a weekend. My point is, people all have their own vices that they use when faced with hard times, and the reason they do these things is because they bring fleeting moments of joy and help distract us from the real issues at hand. By using video games in this way throughout points in my life, I would say it probably hindered me at certain points. However, just like alcohol and relaxing and watching TV can be done responsibly, so too can gaming. Finding the balance in life is what is important, because as they say, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing."
Our sweet puppy Ace just turned 6 months old so I wanted to talk about some of the development we've seen in him through Month 5. We last left off at Week 17 so it only seems appropriate to base it off of months vs. weeks now. For starters, Ace has hit several milestones including:
These all seemed small as they were happening but thinking back and remembering where we started I realized these were huge milestones! Three weeks ago I was pretty sure he might never learn "bed" and that he would just wait for me to drop treats on it forever. Ace has also grown up a lot in his behaviors. He self-entertains a lot with his favorite toys, he is a lot more mellow (and open for snuggling), he seems to understand Adam and I and what we are communicating better than he ever had before, and he is in full puberty mode. He has started marking trees and light posts on our longer walks (thankfully he has not marked in the house) and he has become more confident when playing with other dogs.
This weekend will be Ace's first experience with boarding and his first time away from home for more than 3 days. It will also be Leo's first time at home alone without Ace for that long since bringing Ace home. We are a little anxious to see how it goes, but the place we are boarding him is really nice and came recommended from several friends. I am sure he is going to have a ton of fun, I just hope he gets to the fun part sooner rather than later. The Three Dog Bakery visits are still in full swing (in fact I am sure we'll stop by when we pick Ace up on Sunday) and we get all of our dog biscuits there since they are made in-house. Watching this sweet pup develop and learn new skills has been so fun, and he has become so emotionally in-tune with Adam and I it is insane.
So there is nothing I love more in the winter months than a warm, savory, hot dish of sorts. A crowd favorite is the traditional shepherd's pie, and Adam and I make some version of it every winter. This time we took a chance and left out the breading to follow our current diets, as well as used venison since we have so much in stock. We are calling it a "Hunter's Pie" and honestly it might be the best take on Shepherd's Pie I've ever eaten (and I love a good breading).
One of my goals for this year was to run a 5K and last Saturday I competed my second one in the past month! I intended to follow the None-to-Run plan and honestly just really failed at it. For the first 5K I worked to give myself a month to train, which really turned into two weeks of semi-training (it is important to note that I had not run anything in months and was not on an even slightly consistent work-out regimen before those 2 weeks). For the None-to-Run guidelines I had a lot of trouble with wanting to just be able to run without the extra time. I ended up only running once or twice a week with a once a week with a Pilates work out thrown in between, which did not help me build up much endurance at all.
With a surprising time, a new motivation, and one month until the next race you would think I learned my lesson and started training to improve, right? Wrong. I ran twice that week, but with the weather, an approaching vacation, and peak advising season beginning I started only making it to the gym once a week and really falling behind on training. Adam and I went maybe 4 times that whole month, and I started to have some real anxiety. So, the week before I followed the same steps I did previously, and this time I went in with the mindset that I would not run this 5K at my best. Instead I would make it a planned work-out so that I could keep training and avoid the intense soreness that followed the Wizarding Run.
For fun, I made a pre-plan of Adam and I's running schedule for this week and the weeks to follow. It is great for anyone starting more "in the middle" than the average beginner. It is important to take your own health and other factors into consideration, while our work outs work for us please feel free to adjust them at your own discretion.
Asian BBQ Chicken Dish
Directions for Vegetable Rice:
While I have only been an academic advisor for 6 months now, and I work in an office that is more hands-on than most advising offices, I thought it would be fun to make a list of things Academic Advisors wish students knew going in. This is based off of collective ideas and thoughts I've heard around the office, so I hope you enjoy the tips!
1. Book Your Appointments Early
2. We Are Here For You
3. When We Send You An Email, Read It
4. We Are Humans
Crazy, right? To think someone could be sick sometimes or go on a vacation every once in a while; but it is true. We are here to help you, and we love our jobs, but sometimes life happens to us too and we may need to reschedule an appointment. That does not make us care any less, it is just what makes us human.
5. We Can't Give You Professor Recommendations
A big misconception I hear about on what academic advisors do is when I hear complaints about, "well my advisor is the worst because they told me to take ... class!" Or "Ugh my professor is the worst, I can't believe my advisor would tell me to take their class." The classes we "tell" you to take are classes you need to graduate, we have no control over when it is offered or who is teaching it. And we can't tell you not to take a class because of the professor, because opinions on teaching styles are often so subjective. We can recommend classes/options/electives that other students have enjoyed, but for those it is still really up to you on if you choose to take them over another option.
6. Know Your Degree Plan
When you first begin at most institutions you are given a degree plan for your major and your academic start year. Whether that is a sheet of paper, a fancy degree works website, a giant book of majors, or a combination of the three, you have access to what classes you need to graduate. Part of being human is that advisors also sometimes make mistakes. We do our best not to, but seeing so many students it is hard not to miss some things.
After our trip to New Orleans you could say Adam and I left inspired. We have always talked about Gumbo and Crawfish Etouffee but have never actually made it ourselves. With most of the ingredients already taking residence in our kitchen we decided to go for a venison gumbo. I should warn that this recipe lasted us almost a full week, only coming short because we shared some with friends at work. With the northern winds blowing in for a chilly week it has been the perfect lunch/dinner, and it seems like the gumbo continues to gain flavor each day.
We are approaching my absolute favorite time of year - the holiday season - and a few of my coworkers and I have already started to think about, pick out, and even purchase some of the holiday gifts for our friends, families, and secret santas. I pride myself on picking out thoughtful, fun, and occasionally elaborate gifts for those close to me, whether it be for the holidays, their birthday, or just a rough day in general. So here are a few tips that have really helped me whether getting a gift was a well-thought out process or a last minute grab!
1. Keep a list on your phone
2. If you see something early, buy it (especially if it is on sale)
3. Stay Organized
Are you a gift-giver on a budget? Or just the kind of person who always forgets what they got or plan to get someone? Keep a running Google Sheet. It helps Adam and I budget what we are able to spend, keep track of what gifts are for who, and gave us an idea of what we were looking for during Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. We ended up saving almost $200 the first year we started this trend, and it helps us reference what we've already given family members. It also helped because in joint gifts (either from Adam and myself or from multiple family members pooling in) we were able to keep track of who was pitching in for what.
4. Stock up on some universal gifts
This may seem counter productive, but it is not what you think. If you have the opportunity to stock up on universal gifts like an Alexa, an iHome, a classic book, a coffee mug with candy in it, etc. it can really save you in a pinch. It happens so often that a birthday comes up or someone brings an unexpected guest to a family holiday event that require a last minute gift, and it is not always reasonable to run to the store. Having a few back-up gifts that are easy to wrap can be a life saver. Personally, I love to overstock on Bath and Body Works products when there is a sale so that I can combo a few as a gift if needed. That works well because if we end up not needing them for a long period of time Adam and I can still use them ourselves so we don't feel as though we wasted money buying those items.
5. Think about the person
This may seem obvious, but to sometimes it is easy to get wrapped up in getting a "good gift" vs. a gift the person will appreciate. Ask yourself, is this person sentimental? If yes, a picture or something from a memory is a great gift; but if the answer is no it is important to look more into gifts the person might find "useful".
Another good question, is the person going through a major life event? One of the best gifts I've ever received was a cookbook of recipes compiled from my grandmother's kitchen. My aunt went through all of the cookbooks and note cards, even scanning some instead of typing them if it was a recipe she wrote by hand. My aunt gave copies to all of our family the first Christmas after my grandmother's passing and I still believe it was the perfect gift. It carries so much sentimentality, but is also something I've used 20+ times over the past year. It was very relevant to what was happening in our lives right then.
One last tip to consider, what is something this person will actually use? It ties in to the other two questions but is still strong enough to stand alone. This is something I really struggled with for a while because I would think of things I live vs. what another person would like. Coffee mugs are amazing if you drink coffee/tea at home, but for a person who hates coffee or is always on the go it may be better to consider other options. This especially applies to children. When choosing gifts for kids it is so easy to think of what we liked as a kid or interests we want kids to take on, but it is much more beneficial to ask their parents what their interests are or if you are able to ask the kids themselves. Every year I debate getting my brother a book or a cool science-y toy, but he loves football and playing video games so gifts revolving around those things mean so much more to him.
I hope these tips can help you this holiday season, and maybe just in general! Giving something to someone else is a gift all on its' own, and it feels great to give something that brings them joy. What are some of the best gifts you've received and why were they the best? What are some of the best gifts you've given to others? Let me know in the comments.
Being a huge Harry Potter nerd surrounded by other Harry Potter nerds, there was a night recently that was discussed which harry potter characters fit the different engineering majors that we advise. We had so much fun coming up with them so I hope you enjoy our list as much as we enjoyed making it!
Chemical Engineering - Draco Malfoy
Aerospace Engineering - Madam Hooch
Biosystems Engineering - Neville Longbottom
Architecture/Architectural Engineering - Luna Lovegood
Civil Engineering - Fred & George Weasley
Mechanical Engineering Technology - Harry Potter
Industrial Engineering - Ginny Weasley
Mechanical Engineering - Dean Thomas
Fire Protection and Safety Engineering - Seamus Finnigan
Computer Engineering - Percy Weasley
Electrical/Computer Engineering Double Major
I am a student affairs professional, an amateur chef, and an adventurer at heart.
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