Question: “What is your biggest piece of advice for a college student who wants to enter the industry?“asked via Instagram.
Start a portfolio website, start a blog, start a YouTube channel, start a podcast, stream on Twitch, Mixer, YouTube, go to conventions, get business cards, send pitches, play a lot of games, try to get a freelance gig writing news (or being in freelance rotation for reviews etc), read things about games, read things that are not about games, study the industry, set goals, and overall just got for it.
Try to incorporate your pursuit of this career into everything. If you can build your own class, try to build one around writing about games or see if you can get college credit doing something related to games somewhere. Write for your campus paper. Write for your local paper.
Knowing what you want (and owning that fact) is the first step to getting it.
Depending on your situation being a college student could mean a lot of free time/access to resources. I dormed while at college, had a meal plan, got a small allowance from my dad, had work study money, and got a refund check every semester. I wasn’t living a life of luxury but compared to post-grad adulthood, it was easy. I get that it can be hard to appreciate at the time, but try to take advantage of that “safety” if you have any level of privilege as a college student.
If this is your scenario do not build credit card debt. You will not easily pay it off with your full-time adult job. Trust me. And if you’re going into the game industry, the rumors are true: it does not pay super well. Sure, I’m making what my parents made combined (shout out to coming from a blue collar family, makes you so much more appreciative!) but it’s nothing crazy. And when I freelanced I was making almost nothing. If possible, try to save some money. A nice emergency fund will cushion the blow of delayed freelance payments.
Once you’re close to graduation, make plans that will support your freelance career. Keep your bills as low as humanly possible.
Or, if you’re like my brother while he was in college, you may already have a job, pay rent, have a car note, credit card debt, and a bunch of responsibilities that make my initial advice harder to do but that’s still my advice. No matter what:
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This question was asked to me via DMs. But you can send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions are always kept anonymous.