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ramblings about warcraft, other games, & randomness

Category Archives: real-life

Shared Topic: How WoW Has Changed My Life

This week’s Blog Azeroth Shared Topic is by Effy from Effraeti’s RPHow has WoW changed your life?

Such a simple question, but there’s so, so much to it. I think during the six years I’ve played, the game’s done a lot of growing up and changing…and so have I! And of course, WoW has played a very large part in how I think and feel about many different things.

More than anything, WoW has definitely changed my perspective and attitude towards people and life as a whole. In last month’s Battlechicken Monthly Challenge, I posted about entering the field of teaching. When looking at what I’ve learned from WoW, all of my experiences from the game and interacting with the community have really built on important characteristics that I think I’ll need and highly value as an upcoming school teacher. From my WoW experiences, my views and perceptions of many things have adapted and changed…which I think are good, as I start working more with students! So here are some of the key qualities that WoW has made me value highly and aspire to get better at myself:

“You’ll never believe what crazies I ran into in that last dungeon, Cubby! They were all cursing like sailors!”

Believe it or not, I think WoW was a great avenue for me to be more outgoing (which I didn’t use to be), even if it was with strangers online. In doing so, I definitely learned to have thicker skin — whether it was through dealing with asshats in the dungeon finder, or being able to take constructive criticism as a part of a core raid member. Through watching the in-game community change dynamically through expansions, I’ve noticed how easily derogatory slurs and insults are thrown everywhere. It’s commonplace!But also because I can always expect to see that kind of behavior everywhere I go (sad reality that may be), I’ve learned to stop taking things too personally, and to keep in mind that it is just a game in the end. Even if it’s become a very consistent form of stress-relief for the past few years and what some may call a lifestyle! ;) And hey, sometimes you just can’t help but bite back a little, too.

What is this, I don’t even…

Being able to step up and take the lead is something that after having played WoW, I’m a lot less scared and tentative about doing. This has to do with my feeling comfortable and familiar enough with the game now, as I sure wouldn’t have the guts to even suggest ideas to people if this were back in TBC! In the above picture, I’d zoned into an LFR on my warlock alt and saw the entire platform covered in purple flames. I’d died even before I finished the loading screen! Then Ultraxion landed and snuffed out the handful of people still alive. Everyone jumped right in and started pointing fingers and calling names — but what good is that? I didn’t want to wait in another 30 minute DPS queue again. I went ahead and asked the two tanks if they knew what they were doing, and they had never even been there. After a few other group members chimed in to explain the fight, the boss was down in the next try. And all it took was someone to push the group towards the correct strategy and working together!

Children from the Stormwind Orphanage

We run into so many interesting (and sometimes just downright terrible) people in the game, but I think WoW has taught me to be so much more tolerant and patient. Maybe these people have a hard life outside of the game and use the pixels as a vehicle to steam off their stress. Maybe they in fact really just are immature, rude, or arrogant as a person, and it’s hard to completely change an individual’s personality. While these definitely aren’t excuses for offensive behavior, I’m more understanding that there might be some outlying issue making that person the way they are. That’s the way they will be. They’ll crave for attention, be annoying, whine a lot, and point fingers everywhere, but in the end, they’re just children. And sometimes you have to point them in the right direction and give them a talking to, and sometimes you just have to let them be themselves and leave them alone…

One, two, three, eleventy wooly mammoths!

Finally, I think the biggest changes and things I’ve learned from WoW have to do with time management. Nobody teaches you how to manage a schedule or keep up with tasks or prioritize in life. Hardly do you ever see anyone learn that from a class. Having played WoW from both semi-hardcore raider as well as very casual perspectives, I’ve noticed my priorities (both in-game and IRL) changing more and more with each expansion. In TBC/WotLK, I regularly raided as a holy paladin and was extremely active as an officer of my guild. Now in Cata (and I expect the same for Mists), I’m incredibly casual but have an embarrassingly large army of alts. Back then, my paladin was my “main” and I did absolutely everything on her — achievements, pets, mounts, you name it! Now, I’m incredibly attached to all of my alts, and don’t really have a main. And even though I don’t raid anymore, I still make sure to gear up all of my characters as best I can through non-”raiding” means (LFR/Valor).

I think much of the time management portion goes hand in hand with “growing up” and just taking on so many more responsibilities, especially now that I’m going into teaching. Instead of the long-houred sessions of play time I had during college, I sometimes even have nights where I hardly log in but to check mail/AH…and even nights where I won’t log in at all. (/gasp!) And while I do sometimes terribly miss what I consider “real” raiding and being on a core raid group, I’ve learned to really enjoy the small and fun stuff that I can enjoy without devoting all of my time to a guild and raid team. I’m always still on the lookout for silly things like giant mammoth parades in Dalaran… :)

July Challenge: Something About Me – Becoming a Teacher & More

Ambermist’s July Challenge prompts us to write something personal about us, the people behind the blogs and the real faces to the characters we talk about so often. It’s funny, actually — if you’d asked me to write on this prompt a month ago, my answers would be very different. While brainstorming, I swayed between writing something heavy-hearted that I’ve opened up to accept recently, or just listing several small personal things about me. While Ninevi has been going through some changes lately (she’s Worgen now!) some parts of my real-life have been going through a shift, too. Here is my story!

The Academy (My residence for student teaching this upcoming semester)

Now, as somewhat of a warning, I get harped on a lot from friends and family about always talking about my jobs/school and being a workaholic. But to me, that’s my life and what feels like I put all of my passion into and thus defines a lot of who I am.

Early this July, I left my position as a research associate at a biotech lab because I was accepted to both grad school and a teacher residency program that I had interviewed for earlier this year. Don’t get me wrong — I love research in science, and I’ve enjoyed learning so, so much during the 5-6 years I’ve been exposed to the field. But I realized a couple of years ago that my heart isn’t completely there. Maybe it wasn’t so much that I loved research, but that I love science and innovation as a whole. I wanted to do something that reached out to more people and not just in academia and mingling among “distinguished” scientists. There was something missing from the picture, and it was being able to really contribute much to the community around me. There were no feelings of making significant differences or real satisfaction. Granted, I was but a small pawn out in the field and there wasn’t much for me to grow on unless I pursued a doctorate, but I finally came to realize that research was not something I could call a career and dedicate the rest of my life to.

After having worked with many local educational outreach programs in the major city nearby and also with undergraduates in my lab, I discovered a niche — teaching. I found myself feeling happiest and excited to engage with students and getting them likewise excited about science and math. Teaching and leading them opened an opportunity for me to shed my usual introverted, ISTJ-type personality and instead be engaging and less of the held-back, reserved, and overall shy person I’ve been for twenty some years of my life. And so I readily jumped on the residency & grad school program opportunities as soon as they came.

I’ve gone through a lot of (re)-discovering my personal identity as a teacher. The two classes I’ve had so far have examined social injustice and equity in education.  Some of the topics such as racism and classism touched too close to home. It was almost bizarre to me (an Asian-American woman who grew up in the Bible Belt portion of Southeastern USA) to hear fellow members of my program describe that they’ve never had experiences of interacting with people from different ethnicities/cultures. It made me realize I always see things in a different lens: in a room of 30 intelligent future teachers of various subjects, 29 were Caucasian, and 1 was…well, me! Having grown up being constantly racially profiled and stereotyped, it was glaringly obvious to me upon entering the classroom. But I wondered if my classmates and friends noticed?

Through discussion, we established that race is a socially constructed notion. Well, I agree. If only someone could explain that to classmates I met throughout grade school who unquestionably saw me as different. Even in online and gaming communities, there are stereotypes. These boxes of labels and over-generalized classifications — they’re everywhere. But how do I relate my experiences to my future students (likely in an urban, inner-city setting)? More importantly, how do I explain (or break down) the walls of social constructs to my future students? These are just some of the things that I’ve been brainstorming since starting my education program. The depth of the topics in social injustice is both disturbing and captivating — it’s something I never really touched on in my core studies in the hard sciences. Social science is so eye-opening, and I hope I can learn even more by getting to know my students and learning from their backgrounds and experiences.

There are a lot of things that drive me as a future teacher. One huge motivation is that I hope to inspire lesser-represented groups of youths (minorities and girls, especially) to be interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). And not just them, but I want to spark more interest in those subjects for all of my students and to show them what kinds of applications there are in everyday life as well as in future studies or careers if they so choose. In two weeks, I’ll begin my student-teaching hours in the classroom at a science and math academy. It’s a lottery-based, urban and public magnet school that pulls from the entire county. I’m incredibly excited and even more nervous and hope I don’t completely make a fool of myself. After all, I’ll have to come up with some way to capture their attention, and I’m hardly as verbose or rambly IRL than I am online and in writing! But perhaps that’s a good thing… :P

All in all, I’m excited and psyched for new beginnings and for changes to come. I know it’ll be a hard and oftentimes underappreciated job, and I know there are frustrating and hair-pulling times to come. But more than anything, I look forward to these challenges. If I can overcome that and make a difference by pushing my students towards being successful in school as well as becoming thriving citizens of society, I would be most pleased.

And just so this post isn’t completely dry work/study related and kind of super-serious, here are some photos of things that are dear to me… :)

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Shared Topic: Introducing RL Friends

Just two bear buddies on a zeppelin :D

This week’s Blog Azeroth Shared Topic brings back some very happy memories for me! Frinka from Warcraft Street asks:

Have you ever tried to introduce real life friends to WoW? If yes, how did it go? If you never have, why not?

There’s been a couple of times where I’ve introduced WoW to real life friends. The best memory of introducing people from outside of Azeroth was when I recruited my younger sister to play. At first, I let her try out a couple of characters on my own account, but then she enjoyed it so much that I just bought her an account of her own along with Burning Crusade so we could level together quickly and enjoy the fun of Recruit-A-Friend! We tried out a couple of cute Tauren druids at first and had fun rolling around the Barrens as two silly bears, but she decided on being a Tauren hunter in the end because she enjoyed the pets and Tauren lore/story.

It was really nice bringing her to share adventures in Azeroth with me. In real-life, she’s like a best friend to me (even though we have a seven-year age difference!) and it was interesting getting to talk to her about the game and having someone to talk to about the game even out of game. When she started playing, I was at a small break in between raiding guilds and was pretty close to burning out due to the end-of-expansion humdrum. It was very relieving to have someone familiar (outside of the game) to come into a world I knew well and for the two of us to spend time exploring, finding amusement in the smallest things in-game, and overall just being carefree and having fun.

Here’s just a couple more screenshots of some of the fun times!

Halloween silliness!

Just some silly mask and floating time with my sister and another close Tauren friend! :)

“What’s that thing floating in the moats?” “Boats!!? Cool!!!”

My sister’s been on WoW-hiatus for a very long time now, since she’s been busy with school. Even though I don’t have as much play time nowadays, I hope that we might have time to mess around in-game again in the future. She always had her eye out for the small, interesting things in-game that I would otherwise miss and always reminded me that “it’s just a game!!” and kept me sane if I were to stress out about something. :P

Fun times, fun times. Maybe again someday…

Off-Topic: Photoset – Traveling, Botany, & Heritage

Note: This post is off-topic and contains lots of photos!

Oh my…it’s been a couple weeks since I posted, hasn’t it? I’m not doing so great on keeping up with this new blogging thing! *scolds self* This month’s been super busy, and I’ve been on travel for the past two weeks or so at conferences for work (ASM/ASMCUE 2012) in San Francisco, CA. Such a beautiful city and lovely weather! It was super nice to have 60°F weather and sunny skies instead of constant summer thunderstorms and mid-90′s like at home. Despite being mostly busy with presenting at the conference and visiting all the exhibits (omg, all the automated lab machinery on display was AMAZING…) I did get the last day to go about the city and do some exploring! This was maybe my 3rd or 4th time in CA, but first in SF. It’s so different, and I loved it! I like taking pictures, so I wandered through downtown, Chinatown, and Golden Gate Park with my camera, trying to avoid the overly-touristy places and hide from overwhelming crowds since I was alone. And I got to see some things that are really dear to me – gardens, nature, heritage, & culture.

So instead of me rambling more, I thought I’d share some pictures (even if they’re off-topic from this blog…!) :P

Some aerial photos I took while in flight!

 

Hazy, sloped city!

 

“Fear Head” by Roman Cesario, Mitsu Overstreet and Roberto Gonzalez @ Tenderloin

 

Not sure of artist(s).

I live in the suburbs, so street art is always something I look forward to when visiting cities. :)

Historic San Francisco cable cars! :D

 

Is the street tilted…or am I??

 

Such colorful houses :D

 

Some random noms: egg tartine w/ fresh tomatoes, dim sum, green tea bubble tea, 馬拉糕 (ma la gao)

 

Some more random noms…gyoza, “mother & son” sushi roll, chicken paratha fold & gulab jamun, fish tacos!

 

Various Chinatown scenery, shop fronts, street art

Going to SF Chinatown was really an amazing experience. I’ve been to different ‘towns around the US (Atlanta, New York, Chicago, & more) but SF Chinatown was HUGE. Just entering and being among all the shoppers (regulars & tourists alike) was really very humbling, and it made me nostalgic for Taiwan, where my family is originally from. SF Chinatown is really a city within a city, the oldest and largest community outside of Asia. The sights, the smells, and the sounds brought back memories & made new ones, and I was kind of sad I had nobody to share it with except me & my camera! But now I can share some pictures with you :)

Religious sector, bakery & roasted duck/bbq

 

Dried goods & herbal medicine stores, cake shop with all sorts of flavors

Seeing all the dried goods/herbalist stores reminded of my grandfather, who I guess you can say was a real life herbalist and apothecary! (Oho, I snuck a WoW reference into this OT post! See what I did there?) He had a small eastern medicine and herbal store in his own home in Taiwan, and he was really active in tending his gardens and flowers. I wish I could have bought a little of everything, but just a few grams of many of the dried goods were so expensive!

San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers

I guess here is where I get a bit nutty and druid-y! I majored in environmental science/ecology in college, and I’ve always kind of had an obsession with plants and botany…(*spam heals Regrowth to watch leaves falling*) so going to conservatories, botanical gardens and the like excites me like none other and turns me into a major nature dork. I kept texting my friend Pneu while spazzing out about all the flowers and amazing plants, and I’m sure I was probably very annoying! D:

Just some of the hundreds of photos I took of the gorgeous flowers & greenery…

There were also some really neat pitcher plants, and I couldn’t help but keep thinking…”Oh look, it’s a Victreebel…!”

Raptors in the conservatory?!

 

Stegosaurus! :D

 

Oops…

 

Japanese Tea Garden

 

Adorable gift sets.

 

Succulent garden @ SF Botanical Gardens. I love succulents! :3 I wanted to buy them ALL and take them home with me!

 

& going home…(with crappy phone pics lol)

So that’s it! I’m back home and waiting for my next big adventure to start (ie: grad school — eek!) and hoping to have more time to write more on-topic stuff here, as well as finish Diablo 3 and get ready for Mists! :P And it’s Midsummer Fire Festival already, so I hope to make a post about that sometime soon, too. Lots to do and little time.

If you enjoyed my photos, feel free to visit my Flickr (homepage) – or the specific sets: San Francisco or Golden Gate Park for a lot more pictures. Thanks for reading or browsing! :D