Picking the Brains of Alums

I have discovered recently that you can have a surprising amount of emotional reaction to the introduction of a few strangers; granted that you make sure they all have a job that you really, really, want.  When we all sat in a circle around the four Alums of legend, I found myself and a few others were staring at the group with strained eyes, curious about the men and women that made it to “the other side”.  Every word these people would say for the next hour would be absorbed by my eager, spongy brain, and was to be treated as gospel.  To be able to ask someone with first-hand knowledge about your industry is an experience I thought would be invaluable, and the Alumni did not disappoint.

The word “Alumni” gives an impression of someone of importance, value, and knowledge.  These were people who obviously knew what they were doing, seeing as how they all had jobs in the fields that they wanted.  I cannot tell you how much of a lift it is to hear one of these fabled Alums give a piece of valuable advice and be able to say, “I already do that!”.  Though I would definitely love to spend an hour buffing my professional ego a bit, I did actually go to the meeting for information I did not know.  I was able to get some nagging questions off my chest and get full, intelligent answers.  I was surprised by the amount of information we got that seemed to go against some things that I had previously been taught was the right way to go, but the game industry can be a strange and mysterious place it seems.  But who am I going to trust, it seems hard to argue when the people saying it are sitting in front of you being all successful and whatnot.

It was really good of these fine people to come and dump the contents of their bin of experience on top of us and let us wallow in it for a while.  There really is no substitute for going right to the source, and these four Alums really brought their A-game.  They addressed a lot of common mistakes that they suspected we had made in setting up our resumes and portfolios, which always caused me to sweat a little bit as I imagined my resume sitting in my hard drive back at the dorm with the error previously mentioned burning a hole right through it.  I am not sure if picking the brain of an Alumni is really something that requires someone such as me to recommend it, but I will do it anyways if only to make more loud noise to attract your attention to it.  Talk to Alumni.  Talk to anyone in your field with experience, for that matter.  It is so easy to think that we know everything we need already, but you never know when you might be making a professional faux pas, and nobody wants to be the unemployed post-grad with their foot in their mouth.

– Eric Kilkenny, Game Art Major, Spring 2015