YES! FF3/6 was the game that inspired me the most too. (I think I encountered FF Mystic Quest before that, which was lots of fun, but it wasn’t until FF3/6 that I was really drawn in.)
Thank you so much for your kind words and for sharing your own thoughts, Steele. I have also felt bad at times about such income disparities, but what you say about your father’s pride says it all: our parents struggled and sacrificed so much in order to see us soar. It’s my dream someday to be able to give back to my parents financially, although I’m afraid that that is a long way off. Here’s to hoping that it can happen for each of us!
Really glad to hear that the piece resonated for you. There were ultimately a lot of reasons why I ended up in grad school and a lot of factors contributing to my decision to quit… but it took me a very, very long time to develop the clarity of hindsight to understand how very much my working-class background contributed to my educational and professional choices in the first place. :-/
To be fair, I did have advisors in college, and I also visited one of the free, on-campus career counselors a few times, but I still didn’t have the (a) self-awareness or (b) self-belief (amidst a world of people with more connections, more resources, even people with more advantageous geographic positioning, etc.) in order to recognize that, no, grad school was not actually what I needed or wanted. And those factors matter; the effectiveness of the guidance you can access from any advisor tends to reflect the depth of your own self-awareness, blended with your personal belief in your own “chances.” That is, if you say you want something, your advisor will tell you how to get that thing, and they might be completely right — but if that’s not the thing you truly want, then you’re not going to be happy. Meanwhile, even if you receive solid advice about how to get something you truly do want, you’re unlikely to follow up on that if your previous experiences have instilled a fatalistic attitude about your chances of success.
I‘m honestly not sure what the solution is, but I would love to see young people have more access to mentors in the arts, at all levels of education. I would also love to see efforts to inform the larger public about what academics actually do.
Anyway, enough of my rambling. ;) Thanks for engaging me on this, Steele, and I’m happy you found it so validating. I hope that now you’re in a field you’re content with, and I wish you all the best!