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Story of Cell-fie
Throughout middle and high school, I went to sleep at 8 pm and woke up at 3 am every day to play video games for hours before school started so my parents would not find out.
On top of games, drawing, designing characters/fantasy worlds, and writing comics, I also loved being the class clown and entertaining people. I wasn’t very good at memorizing concepts and following a specific set of rules to score high on exams. I thrive in opportunities where I can learn by doing, think outside of the box, and use my imagination to create things.
However, due to pressures from parents to get a Ph.D. in STEM and the high-pressure community I went to school in, I let all those passions go as I set myself on a path to become a neurosurgeon and MD-PhD. I thought that was what “success” meant for me and was convinced that it was the right path for me because I love biology. Cells are like characters in a game that work together to complete quests to keep the body alive.
Throughout the first two years of college, I was very focused to follow an MD-PhD path. I didn’t let myself go to very many social events and travel because I thought I always had to spend my time studying to get “perfect” grades. Additionally, I based my self-worth on my grades and number of followers on social media as I faced 6 stress fractures and couldn’t run.
During my third year of undergrad, a virtual reality lab opened up at SCU. I was introduced to the world of 3D, digital art, game design/development, and virtual reality. Cell-fie was originally a concept I started during my second year of undergrad as a way to escape from the pressures and stresses of academia. Now, I had the resources to finally bring Cell-fie to life which I never thought would be possible given my background in pre-med classes.
With the help of YouTube video tutorials, taking 3D modeling/animation and computer science/engineering, I was able to understand and develop skills in the industry software (Autodesk Maya and Unreal Engine) needed to build Cell-fie. I’ve grown as a person, learned the most about myself, improved my technical and art skills, and learned about what I enjoyed doing the most during the 8 weeks I developed Cell-fie in, working an average of 3-5 hours a day to learn the software and design in 3D compared to when I spent most my time studying for exams.
I feel so alive as I came from a background of strongly believing that the only way to “succeed” in our society today was to do well on exams that are based on measuring the ability to binge information (and then forget everything after the exam because of that) and follow specific sets of rules.
I am grateful to have the community support and the resources to help me pursue my long-time dream of design/games while also being able to make a positive social impact. Thank you 💖