Yesterday, a friend and I presented at a conference on VIDEO GAMES.
One of the hardest choices I ever made in my life, and I'm sure most people can relate, was answering "what the heck do I want to do for the rest of my life?" Some things were easy to cross out. I can't sing for crap. Being a math major got exhausting after a semester and I definitely didn't want to be the next chain-smoking Asian chick outside my Calculus II class due to stress (I will never forget that girl. She told me to get out while I COULD and I DID). Doing anything in business, sales, etc. meant I'd have to deal with annoying people and most likely scream at them in Spanglish and end up loosing my job and looking like the crazy Latina I am. Eventually, I chose to be an English major cause I love books and writing and it just seemed like I wouldn't tug all my hair out in frustration, although I grew a few grays in the process. I double minored in Linguistics and German Studies because I find languages to be fascinating and then decided I could combine my interests in language learning and English by going into TESOL.
That being said, finishing undergrad and going into grad was a little disappointing because I assumed I wouldn't be able to do some of the things I loved the most. Creative writing, reading literature, and even video games would have to fall to the wayside if I was going to seriously pursue a career in TESOL. At least that's what I thought.
Did I mention I just PRESENTED ON VIDEO GAMES?
Specifically, my partner Becca and I worked on how to incorporate console games into the ESL classroom because we felt that they had a lot more to offer students than the traditional Edutainment computer games used in classes. We looked at how we could define games as "L2 communication facilitators" and compared games based on authenticity of the language presented and interactivity of the games themselves. There's a lot more I could say about it, but let's just say it was awesome and leave it at that. I hope my partner and I will continue to work on this project and maybe even publish a paper on it in the future! :D
The trip itself was fun. Purdue University is about an hour and 45 minutes away from us. When we got there, we signed in and walked into a presentation on the Northern Vowel Shift. It was cool to hear about stuff related to what I'm learning in class. It's like "oh, sh*t, I know what those words mean and I get context even though I'm not doing this research." It's good validation I'm actually learning in grad school even though more than half the time I feel like I'm cramming information just long enough to say something not stupid in a class discussion. While sitting in this presentation, Becca and I realized that WE WERE IN EASTERN TIME AND WOULD HAVE BEEN LATE FOR OUR POSTER SESSION IF WE HAD LEFT EVEN AN HOUR LATER!! It is so jarring to be right at the edge of a different time zone. Thankfully, my phone switched to the right time zone because I was using GPS. After the poster session, we stayed to listen to some awesome presentations. Some of my favorites include one on spectrality in feminist portrayals in literature and another in the "coming out" genre in Peruvian theater. Seeing such fascinating, progressive research happening out there makes me happy.
Overall, I'm still freaking stoked this poster project even happened. Becca and I mesh well together and it was really fun to create and work on this project together. She's an awesome, quirky person that I love being around and I'm very grateful to have her as a friend. :) Thanks so much, amiga! I've also been really lucky to have an awesome professor (if you are reading this, you know who you are ;) ) who is not only a fellow nerd but encourages the combination of nerd-life to academia! Without his feedback, awesome conversation, and cronuts, I don't think this little project would have been possible.
Going back to the topic at hand, I think one of the most important things I've gained from graduate school is the realization that it is a lot easier than I thought to combine my many other passions with my career of choice. My future endeavors include possibly more on this game project, future game related projects, as well as a possible thesis related to fanfiction!
This nerd will live to see another day!
P.S.- Below is the conference posted we presented if anyone is interested! You may need to zoom in for the small text!
Some pictures of me and some of the places I've seen! I'm not a professional photographer so don't expect anything grandiose!