A Day at DigiPen According to Bachelor of Science in Real Time Interactive Simulation student Jake McCauley

Morning:
Depending on the day, I wake up either at the crack of dawn or the crack of noon. I climb out of my comfortable bed, check emails, take a shower, and maybe have a bite to eat. Then, I head out the door. I walk, ride my motorcycle, or carpool with some friends to get to campus. Luckily, I live only a couple of blocks away. When I get there, it’s all about Physics, and I immediately think to myself, “Physics, this early in the morning? Ugh! I feel like physics is ‘relatively’ bad for me this early in the morning.” But, it’s cool to figure out how things move, and as a person who wants to get into the game industry, it’s absolutely vital for me to know and understand physics.

Mid Morning:
Everyday, except Fridays, I have a break between 10:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. I fill this time with homework, lunch, and hanging out with my girlfriend.

When doing homework, there are plenty of study groups that I can plug into. Sometimes, I’ll work with my game team, which includes a group of people that I am creating a game with. You can check out a bunch of free games that DigiPen students have created here. Other times, I’ll just connect with my friends, and we’ll try to figure out homework together.  My friends and I may not be the smartest in our class, but we have fun with what we are learning and help each other out with difficult concepts.

Early Afternoon:
Starting at 1:00 p.m. everyday, my core classes begin. At DigiPen, we declare our majors before we even get started.  So, when I was an incoming freshman, I declared “Bachelor of Science in Real-Time Interactive Simulation”. There are core classes that I need to take for this degree, and these classes begin at 1:00 p.m. Here is an example of my class schedule in a day:

  • Computer Science 200: This course teaches us how to make our own graphics for a video game. Currently, we are learning how to draw lines. Everyone has to start somewhere!
  • Computer Science 225: This course is more in-depth technically, and is taught by a professor who strategically throws in trick questions in every exam so he can test everyone’s knowledge. Because we know this about him, we study hard for tests and know the subject matter very well.
  • Math 200: To be a Real-Time Interactive Simulation major you must have had some exposure calculus. Because this course is a higher-level calculus course, and I haven’t had too much exposure to calculus, it is pretty challenging for me. I lean on my classmates who have had years of calculus to help me study for this class. They are very helpful to me.

After these classes are done, my brain needs a break, so I usually play a video game, a card game, or simply take a nap.

Evening:
After I’ve taken a break, it’s time to start homework. Depending on what I need to get done, I join a study group and hunker down for a few hours. We usually study on campus or back at my apartment. There is some goofing off, but eventually we all get the work done – even if it takes over 8 hours.

Late Night:
Now that classes and homework are over, it’s time to relax and unwind. Most of the time, this involves playing video games with friends or sleeping. While going to DigiPen, I’ve learned that I must keep a balanced life. If I don’t include sleep and play into my schedule (which would be easy to do at DigiPen) I wouldn’t be able to do my best. By maintaining balance, I’m able to go to bed knowing that I tried my best, and I am able to wake up and do it all over again the very next day.