Emily Lin in front of sticker wall

Emily Lin, 2022

Photo courtesy of Emily Lin

Name: Emily Lin

Hometown: Troy, MI

Major: Experience Architecture, MSU Class of 2022

 

Emily is possibly one of the most interesting people I’ve ever had the chance to meet. Calm and organized on the outside, she is witty, passionate and incredibly smart underneath. She’s the vice president of MSU’s fencing team, plays a wicked game of golf  and can recommend a great dating sim game for you to play based on your mood or interests. Some of her other passions include food (especially baking), game design, giftmaking, Reddit rabbit holes and likes to keep busy with projects. Her favorite fun fact about herself is that she keeps an active list of her friend’s birthdays with ideas of things to surprise them with. I interviewed Emily for a Hercampus feature because I believe she’s someone to watch in the future. 

What brought you on your college journey? Was it a person, a dream, a goal, an expectation? Why MSU specifically?

Originally, I came to MSU by circumstance; I was under parental and financial pressure at the time to find a good school that would offer me opportunities for success. (I also came to MSU as a fallback due to a problem with my U of M application) That aside, MSU turned out to be the perfect place for me, and I’m thankful for the series of events that enrolled me here. At MSU, I’ve had the chance to develop a new perspective on life — a perspective that I think would have been impossible for me to discover without the people and experiences I have had here. I have found my ideal major and passion. In the future, I intend to design technology that will solve the complex problems faced by different people.  

What leadership positions have you held/hold has that shaped your personal growth?

My first job was an assistant coach for TGA golf. I was awarded Assistant Coach of the Year in 2018 for creating a set of flashcards and games for the children in the TGA programs. I started creating cards when I realized the children were struggling to understand major golf terms, and invented games to engage them with the cards in a fun way. The flashcards were a huge success with the kids and are now a permanent part of all TGA programs. My experience at TGA has taught me that there is more to life than being the best at what you do. I think this was also the first puzzle piece for realizing my strength and love for designing things in order to help those I care about.

My second leadership position was my job as an MSU IT communications assistant. I was given many tasks that required me to learn as I went and develop an adaptable and independent workstyle.  I learned a ton of stuff, and had the opportunity to go to meetings where I could learn the perspective and experiences of many different IT professionals. MSU IT greatly changed my worldview on what the professional workfield is like, and the true purpose of my time at college. 

I was also able to learn things from my time as webmaster and vice president of the MSU Fencing Club. As webmaster, it was a great experience to apply the research concepts of my major to design for a group of people that I truly cared about. Designing virtual practices with the other fencing officers as vice president has taught me a lot about organizing events, mediating on issues and improving from constructive criticism.  

Finally, my internship as a UX Designer for the Cube has challenged me to solve many problems that I did not know where to start. I have learned the art of figuring stuff out when you have absolutely no clue as to what’s happening, taking initiative, learning from others, communication and troubleshooting. 

What projects are you currently working on/recently completed?

I’m currently working on a new website for Constellations: A cultural rhetorics publishing space. I’m working a lot with Alexandra Hidalgo to make a website that is clean, sustainable and accessible for its users. I’m also trying to start a youtube channel for food and also  creating a fun dating sim game for the Fencing Club. I recently watched a video on the book “Unfair Advantage” and was captured by the idea that luck generates opportunity, however, we can “generate luck” by maximizing what we put out in the world. As a result, I have been inspired to take action on my personal projects and publish more of my creations. 

What are your career goals/where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I’m hoping to land an internship with a big name in the game industry this summer — Riot, Blizzard, Activision and Playstation are all possibilities. As for the next 5 years of my life, I’m still figuring that out. My goal for landing an internship in the game industry is to see how I feel about the field, since I already have some experience with IT and web development. Once I graduate in 2022, I plan to start an entry level UX job and look for a side project to devote myself to. My major is new and flexible, so where I will go is still largely up in the air. 

What was the most important thing you learned over your college journey so far?

Perspective matters a lot. I came to MSU with a fundamental misunderstanding of why I was at college. I think that regardless of how self aware one is, or how independent they believe themselves to be, parental figures will inevitably play a role in shaping one's perspective of life. I started at MSU with the impression that hard work was all that mattered— regardless of how unhappy I was as a computer science major or how much I struggled with my classes. I truly believed that I worked harder than all of my classmates. I could learn to like my major and have my strengths serve me later in life. 

My perspective changed when I failed my CSE 232 class in freshman year. I realized that I was burned out and needed to take a step back and truly reflect on my plan for the future. I went to career counselling, went to career fairs, asked a lot of questions and eventually found a new major for myself — one that allows me to capitalize on my strengths and has since opened countless doors for me. Furthermore, I learned that when you love what you do, you work the hardest out of everyone. I think that sometimes it is necessary to take a step back, check in with yourself and remind yourself that the path you walk is not set-in-stone. 

Any words of inspiration?

Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.