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Game Design School – gingerellies

gingerellies

Member

Posts: 50
From: Orlando, FL
Registered: 05-28-2002
I was told that someone was inquiring about game design schools, and I decided to write a little something about my experience with Full Sail Real World Education. Well, here it is. It is a little long.

I was playing Zelda: Ocarina of Time on my lunch break when Hunter came in. ďArenít you supposed to be back at work right now?Ē It was true, I was supposed to be back, but I didnít really like working in an office all day, answering phones and sending out reports. I wanted to enjoy my life. Was this too much to ask?

Hunter is a Christian musician and was planning to go to a really innovative school in Winter Park, FL (right outside of Orlando) called Full Sail Real World Education, to get his Associates Degree in Recording Arts. He pointed out that I love to play Nintendo and informed me of a degree program at Full Sail for Game Design. He asked why I didnít go back to school.

Hmm, that was a very good question. I had been to college twice since I graduated high school and dropped out both times. I just couldnít figure out what I really wanted to be when I grew up. Also, having always been great at math, college algebra was boring me to tears. It seemed Full Sail was the answer to all my problems. They offered a degree in a program that implied I would be better off not growing up and the classes were only a month to two months long. Well, I can do anything for two months! Plus I could have my Associates Degree in Game Design in just fourteen months. So, I called the school that very second.

I was transferred to a wonderful lady named Debbie Sanders. She is still a very dear friend to me. I told her my name and that I was very interested in the Game Design program. She was very excited and asked if I was any good at math. ďIt is my best subject,Ē I assured her. Well, she was thrilled to hear it and did everything she could to get me the financial aid and housing arrangements that I needed. Any little concern or question I had, I called her and she got me the answer. It was a sign of things to come at Full Sail.

It took me about six months to get my affairs in order to go to Full Sail. My classes started in February 2001. I went through a very uplifting orientation and greeted many of my future teachers. I was a bit overwhelmed, but at no time did I feel that I had made the wrong choice. The staff at Full Sail projects a confidence and willingness to help through any problem you might have, and believe me, they are fully prepared to follow through with that projection. They offer a great number of tutoring programs and tons of special one on one attention to make sure you get the help you need to get the information they have. It is tough, but if you are serious, you can make it.

Full Sail has been compared to Star Fleet Academy. I think this is a fair comparison. However, it would be hard to find a school more fun and enthralling than Full Sail. After you make it through mini-school (that is how we lovingly refer to the first three months of basic classes) the first core class you make it to is Physics and Math with Wendy the Math Goddess. It is very tough but one of the labs is going to Universal Studioís Islands of Adventure and doing a study of the physics involved on 2 major rides there. It was a lot of fun and a great learning experience. I have always loved to learn and Full Sail awakened that in me again. I will be eternally grateful to them for that.

Donít get me wrong, Full Sail is not all fun and games, it is very difficult. Combine the high level of knowledge you are receiving and the pace at which you are expected to get it and you see the Star Fleet Academy similarity. I really think the toughest class would be C++ with Arthur Johnson. However, if you are as in love with this industry as I am, it will be the most difficult class you will ever love. I learned so much in those 2 months it still boggles my mind to think about it. It is also the class with the most lab instructors assigned to it. So, be assured, you can get the help you need.

By the time C++ was over, those of us who made it through had formed a bond that will most likely last a lifetime. Itís a lot like going through boot camp. We all helped each other with labs and concepts. We worked together, ate together, laughed together and went crazy together. The long hours and complex lab assignments can really get to you if you donít have your friends around you to keep you grounded. You will work hard, long hours and pray often, but you will be a better person when you make it.

Full Sail offers many perks. A very nice laptop comes as part of your tuition. You will live with this laptop for the remainder of your time at Full Sail. Also, if you do happen to fail a class because of grades, as long as your attendance is up to par, you can take that class over for free. It is not easy to keep up your attendance as Full Sail is a 24 hour school. Many times you will be attending class in the middle of the night, followed by first thing in the morning. But, thankfully, there are many 24 hour eating establishments nearby. There is a full staff of extremely helpful people to assist you with anything you may need, and they constantly have their eyes on the industry to guide you when you get into it.

Upon graduation I was already offered a job at the gaming company I am with now. They came to Full Sail for Success Seminar while I was there and I had an opportunity to meet and talk with them. I was able to talk to them again at the Game Developers Conference in San Jose, CA in March 2002 just before my graduation. God blessed my journey through Full Sail in many ways, and He is working in my career today. I hope you will be as fortunate as I was. I feel confident that Full Sail is a great start.

graceworks
Member

Posts: 455
From: Corvallis, Oregon, USA
Registered: 03-03-2001
Thanks for sharing.

It is really helpful .. especially for someone like me considering to be "re-treaded" to a new industry!

Not sure I can talk my wife to 15 months in Florida though!

Tim

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Called by God. The passioned plea of a father. The journey awaits at Jarod Journey's.

gingerellies

Member

Posts: 50
From: Orlando, FL
Registered: 05-28-2002
It's 14 months If that helps any. And she would LOVE FL! I want to go back badly! It is the only place I've been where I can truely say, "It is a nice place to visit, but an absolute dream to live there!" I hope you make it down there.

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God bless and keep you!
-Ginger