Keeping it real …

So wasn’t fully sure what to write about this week but saw something on twitter that got me annoyed and normally I don’t reply to things but this I had to strongly disagree with.

Have also seen other things like so and so created whatever theory while in a lockdown.  However, think folk just need to step back and think. Is it really necessary to judge what you do or don’t do during this time? I for one don’t plan anything major other than trying to look after my daughters and my mental health (and make sure my  family/friends/students are doing fine too online). I am disciplined but my mental health is important too and I need to look after that in order for me to be well to undertake my day to day tasks (THAT TAKES REAL DISCIPLINE) I am also still working from home which involves a lot more to ensure my students are still getting what they need.

My day to day life before all this began was not easy but I was getting there with the help of family, friends and work. Now all the normality and routine has been taken away from me and while I’m not back at square 1, I am having good and bad days and trying my best to make the most of it.  Thankful for still being able to get out for my daily walk  Working from home does have it’s challenges but I do enjoy connecting with my students when possible. For me its all about the routine of getting up and heading out to work  then getting stuck in rush hour on the way home again that part I miss and it makes work a bit more difficult from home as part of the motivation has gone. I am supported though thankfully by my colleagues who I mean we are all in the same position at home working away doing the best we can and needless to say a few bad jokes and memes keep the laughs up.  

If anyone has any good tips on how they are keeping their routine please share.

Week 1 ups and downs

Now that we are have completed our first week working from home well what can I say. My anxiety was tough there were good days and bad days when I was at work, but a couple of things helped so much. Firstly, just being at work helped having a routine was important and kept me going. I have supportive colleagues who listened (when my anxiety got bad at times it caused either total silence and distancing from me or verbal nonsense) and it was just that, nonsense literally talking but I was listened to without any qualms. Similarly, they knew when I was anxious and staying away and kept distance but would always get the wee message later of are you OK – they knew. That I’m grateful for. To the rest of my colleagues it really wasn’t personal just I didn’t want to be a burden or to have folk feel sorry for me (that is the last thing I want as well and I just wanted to get on with it, work has been the normal and I’m happy for that). Possibly the wrong attitude as I’ve had a lot of love over the past week since my first post but understand that was my anxiety as well not personal. Anxiety really is a strange creature and I’m in a better place for understanding my own now but it took time to get to that stage and I’m still learning as well especially with all that’s been going on recently.

We do need to be aware of our colleagues and look out for any changes. I’m in a place where we have a good network of support in the staff room and further around (yes I know that fully now ! ) no matter how unimportant you think it is just ask them if they are OK and yes do it twice if needed or if they are too quiet/out of character etc. Aside from my colleagues I’d been doing a few things that really helped me such as I went for walks everyday at lunch just to get away from my desk, always important at home too to get away from your computer. It helped clear my head as well as get fresh air. I’d go for a short walk with my music on (definitely recommend creating a playlist of your favourite upbeat songs that you can walk along to).

Also useful to have a playlist of songs for calming as well, find a song or two that has a decent beat for breathing exercises as well. I also make use of my smart watch which has a fab function for helping with breathing exercises too when my anxiety was bad.

We had an informal staff meeting today – we are all used to tea break at 10.30 and in the afternoon as well. Our break from the classroom and chance for a wee natter (and some bad jokes) – and it was great to see everyone but conversely it was also a little bit overwhelming. It solidified the reality of being at home working as well and that was difficult for me. However a few chats later on in the day with different colleagues has helped. It’s a new way of working and I will get used to it – my routine has been abruptly changed and its taken time for me to adjust as I’m sure it will have a lot of folk but with support and a ton of memes in the Whatsapp chat I know it will be OK.

Finding out more about careers in games.

On Friday 26th I organised a morning of talks for our games students (NC/HNC & HND Games)  from those who work in the industry. I think it’s important that students are aware of the many varied career paths within games possibly ones that they’d never even thought about and get an idea of what they should be doing to progress further in their chosen field.

To start us off James Hodgart from Axis Animation discussed his career and what he does as a 3D artist. James is also a former student/lecturer of West College Scotland as well so it was great to have him back to inspire our students. James talked about being a lead on projects which means he has to designate and find the best person for the job in hand. Some wise words as well about getting started with your 3D work start small and make the small things good before moving on to bigger projects keep practising.  After showing an amazing video of the things he has worked,  on he then went on to discuss the differing jobs available in Animation.

George Corner is an Events manager for QD events and he spoke to the students about his varied career before his current position. It was particularly interesting to hear from George as most of us have attended at one point or another a games event/expo which got students thinking a bit more that there are lots of paths career wise that they might not have even considered.

Next we had a couple of Skype calls once the technology worked! First up was Steven Sim a Lead Artist for TriCAT GmbH Steven is based in South Germany and spoke to the students about moving abroad for work and showing them how he started off his animation work with one of his projects to where he is now.

Mazen Suker a game designer for Bohemia Interactive was our second Skype call though was upstaged by his cats. Mazen discussed how he got to where he is today (based in Czech Republic) but has been well traveled for work. Key point from his talk was all about keeping your mental health well and finding your own style of working.

Our last speaker was Thomas Welsh a Narrative designer for Cloudpunk. Who spoke to the students about writing for games and getting started (just write !!) Lots of useful advice though from him on the subject and it was great to hear about his work.

Overall the morning went well and it was great to hear from the different speakers on their varied careers and I hope that its given our students a little more inspiration and determination to work to ensure they are successful in their chosen field.  Thank you to James, George, Steven, Mazen and Thomas for giving up their time to come and speak.

Also thanks to our HND Games student Scott Davidson for kindly taking photos on the morning.