Spotlight on IGM parent Amy Price
1. When Sam first said he wanted to apply to the Game Design & Development degree, what were your impressions?
By this time Sam was considering college programs, there was no surprise about his interest in Game Design & Development. Sam showed interested in video games, like most kids, as a preschooler. When we saw his “obsession” with gaming, we wanted him to do more than just play games. We encouraged him to learn how to make games. From his first one-week summer camp “class”, he was hooked. Over the years, he participated in summer programs that became increasingly more challenging. By the time he was applying to college, we were 100% supportive of his pursuing his passion at the college level. We weren’t sure that this would give him a career that would provide him with financial independence, and we were surely concerned about this, but we did believe that his motivation and work ethic merited our supporting his opportunity to follow his dreams.
2. What about RIT made you feel like this was the best place for Sam?
We were all somewhat confused by the growing number of colleges that offer either major or minor courses of study in game design or related fields. In researching and visiting colleges, we became aware that there are significant differences in these Game Design & Development programs. It was critical for Sam to have the opportunity to visit and meet with admissions people and also professors and students in the respective departments. RIT’s program was more code based than other college programs that Sam explored. The department at RIT was very accessible to Sam, and their openness to him really stood out from other schools. Sam’s experiences with the people at RIT had a major impact on his selection of RIT. We all felt that the Co-op Program would be important to him. The invitation to attend the Honors College was a factor in Sam’s decision as well. In retrospect, I think we were helped by the fact that as parents we had little knowledge about the field he was investigating. This enabled Sam to be the true decision maker in his future.
3. What kind of changes and/or growth have you seen in Sam since he’s been a student here?
Our dreams for Sam have been realized at RIT. He showed personal growth that every parent hopes for and that today’s employers demand. Here are the top six attributes that we feel Sam gained through his RIT education:
- Self-advocacy and the confidence to choose his own direction in an environment that offers such a wealth of choices and opportunities
- Ability to comfortably engage with others and form important relationships
- Willingness to feel safe taking on new challenges and risks
- Honed ability to multi-task, manage time, and work effectively both individually and on a team
- Experience handling disappointments and stress, as well as success
- Internal happiness – Is there anything more important than this?
4. What’s the biggest challenge Sam has faced? As a parent, how did you navigate that situation?
It seems to us that the greatest challenges came from navigating the abundance of opportunities that opened to Sam at RIT and resulting opportunities external to RIT. Maintaining his class schedule and school work while balancing two jobs that he loved, and simultaneously interviewing (online and via travel) for potential career positions was exciting, exhausting and scary. We tried to support Sam by being available when he wanted to talk through his options, by validating his feelings and choices, and encouraging him to focus on staying healthy by making time to eat, sleep, and allow himself some down time. In truth, Sam was well prepared to handle these challenges with supports at RIT that included his Academic Advisor, his professors and his friends.
5. What advice do you have for other parents in IGM or parents of college students, in general?
More than anything, we parents all want the same thing. We want our kids to be happy in what they do and capable of living independent lives. It is so important to allow our kids access to an environment that they feel comfortable in and that will allow them many, many chances for growth.
IGM offers truly broad, multi-disciplinary opportunities. It prepares students for life success, and success in a variety of careers including but not limited to the gaming field. Along with the technical course training, IGM teaches real world “soft” skills including problem solving, patience, and self-control. RIT offers such a multitude of interesting courses and experiences that compliment and personalize the IGM education experience.
We have truly loved following Sam’s RIT experiences, from learning to develop video games, to minoring in Economics, to taking courses as varied as Fly Fishing, Hitchcock, and the History of American Pop & Rock. In your care, he became a happy, fun-loving and well-rounded young man.
6. What’s next for Sam?
Sam is starting his new career as Software Developer at athenahealth in Watertown, MA. Sam was interested in working with this company for the past couple years, had met their representatives at an RIT Job Fair, and had been initially declined for a co-op position because his technical experience was not yet strong enough to qualify him. By the time Sam was in his final semester of college, he had a proven record of success including an extraordinary co-op and work experience with Fujifilm, which he had found to be very fulfilling. Sam reintroduced himself to the representatives at the 2015 fall Job Fair, and he now is starting his dream job.