58,981 words and counting. To many this may appear to be a random number pulled out of thin air. To me personally, it is something much more. At the moment, (according to WordPress) that is the exact amount of words I have written for The Roundup. I believe that I could have written more during my brief two years of writing for The Roundup and I should have begun writing earlier as well. Whether through writing about video games, Net Neutrality, Civil Rights regarding technology, or the ‘White-Washing’ of Ghost in the Shell, I have always attempted to provide the very best for the readers of The Roundup and VGHunter. Of course, the majority of the content I write for The Roundup is video game related. Nonetheless, I have thoroughly enjoyed broadening my perspective horizons via the topics at hand and their respected thematic devices.
If I were to have informed myself freshmen year that I would be attending college after four years at Jesuit in pursuit of a degree in Journalism, I would have called myself crazy. Four years ago I was determined to be a lawyer like my father or enter the petroleum industry to the likes of my biological mother. Obviously, I have changed. People in general change. I credit Jesuit and The Roundup in general for setting me on my current path.
Jesuit College Prep in general has done a tremendous amount of work into forming my individual graduating class not only into young men but also into respected graduated alumni. As a doubtful and incredibly cynical freshman, the thought of transforming my fellow Jesuit brother’s felt like a lost cause. We were funneled in from a variety of schools, public and private, Catholic and Protestant. Therefore it seemed like an arduous task to unite these 270+ young men into a single cohesive family, let alone into an established community. I applaud the countless individuals that head and take part in this community for altering the paths not only for me, but also for my Jesuit brethren as well.
In retrospect, these past fours years have helped my class attempt to figure out who they wanted to be. Jesuit has gone about conducting this transformation through a plethora of organizations. The Medical Society, to name one of the many organizations, has gone above and beyond by exposing individuals that share interest in the medicine field to societies across the globe that are in need for help and comfort. One can easily put two and two together that one’s interests in following up Medical Society with a path through Pre-Med in college makes absolute sense. Jesuit cultivates a student’s ambitions and gifts and then diverts the product towards the next step in obtaining one’s goals. Another example being it is safe to assume that the individuals in Jesuit Engineering Society will more than likely continue down the path to becoming engineers through more advanced studies and projects after Jesuit.
This of course would not be possible had Jesuit not offered so many organizations to foster a student’s core interests and goals. Getting to the organization, however, can require a gentle hand of guidance or at times a brutish shove if times are dire. At the end of my sophomore year at Jesuit I had still yet to find my niche at Jesuit when it came to student organizations. While attending my Art Appreciation class a Junior asked me my opinion, whether BioShock Infinite was better than The Last of Us. I firmly explained my stance as to how The Last of Us took the average use of the video game medium’s story and for all intensive purposes blew it out of the water into a cinematic narrative un-paralleled at the time. Although he did not full-heartedly agree with my opinion, Enrique Berrios ’15, jokingly said “you should write about it.” Over time I learned that Enrique wrote for The Roundup. I had previously seen other students write about games on the website but the majority of the articles simply did not care to elaborate on the advantages of telling stories or experiences through an interactive narrative. I approached Dr. Degen in the following August, the beginning of my Junior year and expressed my planned initiative to write about games for The Roundup. If only the two of us knew what that would bring.
It is almost as if when he allowed me to begin writing for the paper that he unknowingly opened the floodgates of my mind. Obviously, my first articles were sub-par and amateurish, to say the least. However, as time went on, my criticisms and praises of various games began to actually read like actual cohesive thoughts bundled into ludicrous amounts of paragraphs that, I can only imagine, got on the nerves of the editors who had to decipher their content. At this time, the idea of possibly writing professionally seemed far-fetched; the only writer in my family is my biological grandfather who worked at various papers including The Houston Chronicle. I was still gung-ho and set on being a lawyer. I can safely assume that this all changed with one article.
I have never been one to enjoy reading about politics, although I consume a variety of reports on varies topical issues, the idea of writing about a politically-charged news point seemed even more far fetched than the idea of being a writer. I think that is why (when I actually wrote my first viewpoint piece) it ended up being one that lacked a lot of political charge or power behind it.
The topic: Net Neutrality. I can safely that up until that point I had yet to write about something so incredibly impactful on our overall society. The origins of this piece are quite simple. I walked near Dr. Degen’s office one morning and he asked for my opinion on the subject, he probably thought that the Junior that enjoys typing away about video games would more than likely have a thoughtful opinion on the matter. One thing led to another and I wrote the article. In it, I criticized Internet Service Providers for capping speeds and charging exponentially higher prices compared to that of other developed nations (not to mention dolling out abysmal download speeds and marketing them as if they were cutting edge). In the end I felt pleased and proud of the piece I had crafted. For the first time in my entire life I felt as if I was truly onto something that could take me down a path of possible success while remaining content. I have nothing but Jesuit College Prep and, by process, The Roundup for helping me discover this.
In between writing compelling articles such as Net Neutrality and how the San-Bernadino phone should either be unlocked or left locked, I obviously kept busy with more gaming articles. It is worth pointing out that I must thank the conglomerate of editors at The Roundup who took time to edit incredibly long articles that probably bored them to death at times. Sure, critiquing content and grammar is a foundation to being an editor but the articles they have cleaned up for the most part are practical compendiums of knowledge for a single game at times. For their hard work, I am incredibly thankful for.
Finally, it is worth thanking the man who decided to give me such a “long leash” to work with: Dr. Degen. He put up with my at times overly-energetic attitude and even sanctioned that The Roundup had permission to secure press passes to several gaming conventions, one being RTX 2015 (received some splendid free press passes for that one). In addition to allowing me to better sharpen my craft as a writer in a school affiliated website, I will eternally be thankful. The overall networking with other professional writers through those conventions or through asking actual entertainments websites for advice for articles would not have been possible had Dr. Degen not bestowed upon me a place to publish my reviews, news tid-bits, and opinions. Which in turn wouldn’t have let me meet certain mentors who then helped me decide to go to Mizzou in pursuit of a degree pertaining to Journalism.
I have no doubts that Editor-in-Chief Alex Motter could have picked a better leader for The Roundup next year than Martin Flores. Alex plainly stated that Martin’s “innate ability to come up with creative innovations and inspire his peers makes me ecstatic to see the amazing things next year’s staff will accomplish.” I could not agree more with this statement. The Roundup can only grow through his leadership and that of the moderators, editors and especially the writers.
Although personally writing this article seems like an end to something that I cherished so much, I can only look forward to what Jesuit and what The Roundup has made possible for me as a writer. I have had a remarkable and memorable time writing for The Roundup, a time period filled to the cusp by splendid memories and collaborations with fellow colleagues. I have no doubts that I would write all 60,509 words again if need be.
Find Your Passion. I know I did.
– Hunter Gilbert