Second time I've withdrawn from a university. Both times I've left with a GPA of 3.6 or higher, and both times those numbers have felt meaningless. I've only ever been happy doing what I want. I decided to go to school for game design because I thought I would learn something about the fundamentals of game design. Turns out what I was doing was right all along; I just need to keep doing it. All the developers I admire all say the same thing and it makes absolute sense; if you want to makes games, make them. I ended up seeing the same type of people, with very few exceptions, that I saw when I went to school as a "music major". All the classes are designed for people who are unsure of what they want to do, don't have a clue what to do, or are afraid of venturing out on their own; that's fine but that is just not me. The ironic part is the class that fully cemented my decision to stop was Game Design 1. It practically begs you to drop everything you do to build games, and build games, oh and build games. The only problem is it's the only class of its kind until Game Design II this time next year. It was the first class that went somewhat hands on, the problem was I found myself dumbing down my designs simply to meet a class requirement. I'm not learning anything I don't already know or cant find in the wealth of information available in GDC lectures, UDK, or you know actually playing games. Learn from your mistakes don't be a prisoner to them.
I simply don't want to go about it this way just to have a sheet of paper that says I've been learn-ed when I damn well know I haven't; I'll see it and think I've just put up with their shit for 2-3 years so someone else can find me "acceptable". I won't deny I've done some stuff I normally wouldn't have since I've started, but it's not stuff I've learned through challenge and defeat, it's stuff I would have done had I just focused.
There is one person and one person only I don't want to disappoint, and that's my girlfriend Kelly. A girlfriend of 11 years that puts up with me when I scream of night terrors at 3 in the morning and instead of yelling shut the fuck up, she grabs my hand and says it ok. She is never anything but supportive and I owe her everything, even the social-expectant ring of commitment society seems to deem necessary for a relationship to work. When I couldn't find a loan to pay for my out of pocket cost of tuition for the first semester, she was there, when I needed a place to rehearse before going into the studio to record, she found me one and pushed me to get it. My mom, dad and brother are fully supportive as well but it goes without saying; they are family.
I'll approach this as I've approached just about everything else in life; I'll do it because I want to not because I feel I have to. I'll make friends and family aware of what I do but I'll never shove it down anyone's throat. I'm ok with that, I always have been and I always will. I will make games and continue writing music, and there's not a single thing keeping me from it but my lack of focus. The only thing left to do now is fully embrace the tools I already have and expand on them. I'm writing this out here so that if I fail, and failure is just as subjective as success, I have something to look back on to remind me that it was my decision and my decision alone.
Design, like any artistic endeavor, can't be taught, only guided. You either have it or you don't; without applying yourself you'll never really know, but make sure it's alway something you absolutely love doing otherwise you've lost the point. I hope I don't "American Movie" this shit up.