This is my story
I first came to the University of Hartford on a soccer scholarship and enrolled in the Hartford Art School. I thought I knew what I wanted to do, but really, I had no idea. After nights of staying up late playing Resident Evil 4, waking up at 5 a.m. for soccer lifts, and barely making it through a day of non-stop “Foundations” courses, I ended up failing out. After some time away, the University’s Fresh Start program let me come back and reprioritize my time. It was kind of that “second chance” for me to get my education, which was important to me, and inevitably my future.
Since I was a little girl, when I grew up I knew I wanted to be a video game character. Well, not really, but growing up in a small town, I didn’t really have a lot of friends so I often used games as a way to escape from the reality that was my life at times. My parents would always come into my room and say, “Ali, what are you doing? You’re not going to be able to do this as a career.” But I kept thinking, why not? During my sophomore year, I was at home watching television and when I stumbled upon a show on G4TV, where resident games specialists discussed new titles and tackled hot button topics in the industry. I couldn’t help but think “Why am I not going after this? This is something that I love, that I want to do for the rest of my life.”
Working alongside the Frag Dolls in the gaming community, I met people that were just like me, following the same passions, into the same things; people I feel like I’ve known my whole life. I would even compare it to the Hogwarts School of Magic, just people getting together and channeling the things that they love and enjoy. It’s crazy that, three years ago, I was living in a place where no one really got me and now I have this network, I have all these people in my life who are my really good friends. I’ve never had that before.
When I came back to the University I knew that I wanted to get into television and media, so I joined the video club, STN (Student Television Network). That gave me experience — writing a segment for a show, writing my own reviews for games, interviewing people, being in front of the camera. It gave me a head start in my field, which was great.
My parents hated the idea that I wanted to pursue a career in video games at first, and I made a lot of hard decisions in the years building up to graduation, including quitting the soccer team. However, after seeing all of the work I was doing in the gaming industry, I think it became clear to them that I was determined to create success for myself, especially after I landed an internship working in Los Angeles the following year for NBC Universal, for the same show that kickstarted my fire for entertainment, G4’s “X-Play”.
I am thankful that I was given a second chance. I am now working in the gaming and entertainment industry. I know where my skills — social media, journalism, photography — lie. And I know for sure what I've known my whole life — video games and technology have had nothing but a positive influence on me and I can't wait to spend the rest of my existence relaying that message.