Student Post: Tips From a Current Student

Student Blog Post by Shannon O’Guinn, Freshman pursing a Bachelor of Arts in Games & Game Design

How did you select your area of study and how will you utilize your degree?

I was born into a family of hidden talents. Musicians, artists, writers, people with ideas that they never put into use. I had slight talents in everything I did, because rather than focus on one talent and pursuing it, I decided to be a jack of all trades and explore all of my options.

From a young age, I watched my father and my brother play video games, everything from Call of Duty to Doom to Halo to Resident Evil. When I began to think in middle school about what I wanted to do with my life, I went through subject after subject: I like history, but do I like it enough to make it my career? Writing stories has always been a side project for me, but can I make it as an author? Sometimes I feel like I’m a good musician, but can I take that anywhere?

It dawned on me one day: Why not create video games, the art form that you’ve loved since a kid? I could combine my love for music, writing, art, and technology into a project that other people could enjoy. The outlet that video games could give me was enticing. So, I decided to become a video game designer, and then major in Games and Game Design at Webster University.

What motivated you to complete your degree mixing ground and online classes?

I chose to dive into online classes at Webster University along with ground classes at the St. Louis campus because it appealed to me as I could save time and gas by simply going online and completing all my assignments.

Online classes require self-discipline and responsibility, along with time, focus, and attention to deadlines. Don’t be afraid to try out an online class, especially if it is beneficial for time management and/or finances.

How do you stay organized, and what are some of the best tips and practices that you use to stay on top of your courses?

Personally, I utilize Google Calendar for phone notifications of important dates, as well as a physical planner where I keep track of all of my classes as well as homework. I also print off required texts available on WorldClassRoom to make notes on.

Tips:

  • Immediately write down homework and due dates, whether in a planner or on a notepad.
  • Check your planner or notes daily, as well as the WorldClassRoom class page for updates.
  • You know yourself best; if one binder helps you organize all of your classes, or if you need a binder for each class, take care of it before your first day of class and always have it on hand.
  • Specifically for online classes, having a solid copy of the required texts is often helpful in case you need to highlight or make notes in the margins (paper texts or books you bought that you don’t intend to sell).
  • When reading a required text, especially if it’s a longer piece, keeping notes on an online pad (Google Docs, Microsoft Word, etc.) often helps you understand the text better.
  • If something doesn’t make sense, ask the professor. While online courses are usually completed on an individual basis, there is still a professor and they are often open to questions. Classmates are also available for discussion.

How does your schedule impact your time to study?

I’m a rather busy bee, so any days I’m not at school, I’m at work. That being said, study time is every space in between classes and outside of them. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend jamming your schedule with as much as I do, but for me, personally, it works and it keeps me productive. I’m not as active as a family member should be, however they understand my position. It’s all about communication. As long as you don’t stress yourself out with a full schedule, and communicate with your loved ones about what’s going on, college will be enjoyable.