It’s no surprise that to pursue a higher education degree can be intimidating and costly. Jaime Plascencia was more than ready to tackle this challenge after having played a charity esports tournament. Added support came from his wife and friends as he made the decision to pursue a degree while doing what he loves the most -- playing esports and being part of a committed team.
“I reached out to a friend of mine who is involved in the esports program at Fisher College,” he said. “After some lengthy conversations, I decided Fisher would be the perfect fit for me as a working adult.”
Although Jaime’s love for esports came later in life (compared to his peers), his love for competition has been present from a young age, and this trait helped him forge his path in joining the Valorant team at Fisher College.
“I had a strict upbringing,” he shared, “and I did not discover the blossoming esports scene until I was 20 -- with Call of Duty and the CWL. I have always been a gamer; my parents purchased a console (an NES) so we would learn English faster. Growing up in Ontario, California as a child of Mexican immigrants who were strict in limiting the amount of time spent gaming, I found ways to play, but I was ignorant to this new form of competition.”
After playing soccer and baseball his entire life, Jaime had to give up his passion for playing sports to join the U.S. Navy a decade ago. He spent four years of active duty in the military, so it was later when he discovered a newfound competition in esports. Avidly pursuing gaming competition brought excitement to Jaime’s life.
“I play purely for the competition, and that has always been the case for me,” he said.
While there are many reasons that drive adult learners to purse a degree later in life, for Jaime, his motivation was the fear of hitting a plateau in his current career as an electrical instructor. At Fisher College, Jaime chose to major in information technology with a concentration in cybersecurity, a degree he believes has the potential for elevated success in his professional life.
Jaime balances a full-time job, his role in the Navy Reserves, and his family, all the while playing Valorant and attending classes. His experience as a GPS student is seamless and easy.
He said, “I was worried about returning to college as I've never given it a serious shake. Thankfully, everything from enrollment, to meeting with my advisor, to starting my first class was as easy and worry free as possible. Everyone has been very helpful throughout the process and my professors have been fantastic.”
Jaime recently celebrated his 10-year anniversary in the U.S. Navy, where he continues to serve in the Reserves. Along with valuable lessons gained from his time in the military, he also learned to work hard toward achieving his goals, all the while taking advantage of every opportunity presented.
“I take advantage of every second to do something productive,” he said. “I hate falling behind, and I want to get the best grades I can. I have learned to move with a purpose, and I apply this to every aspect of my life.”
Jaime added, “Yes, my life is extremely busy, but this is one of those times where you just have to buckle down and get it done. When an opportunity like this presents itself, you don't want to squander it by not giving it 100 percent.”
As part of the Valorant team, Jaime is excited to represent Fisher College in upcoming tournaments where he can apply his skills and take his esports career to the next level, all while continuing his educational journey to pursue a degree he has worked hard to earn.
A piece of advice Jaime would give to all students considering online classes while playing esports is time management – to make time to do what you want and need to do.
“Realizing that being able to go to college and play video games at the same time is such a privilege,” he said. “I wish I would've had when I was younger. Learn everything you can in your classes and take it seriously. The skills you pick up in your classes will transfer to your game, and you'll find yourself growing as a player, person, and a teammate.”
- Article courtesy of Fisher College -
ABOUT THE NECC
The NECC has sponsored both regular season competition and championships across a wide variety of popular titles since 2020. With more than 300 colleges and universities currently competing, the NECC strives to be a positive home for the collegiate gaming community.
The NECC fosters innovative competition experiences, provides quality broadcasting services, and works to support an inclusive community within collegiate esports. The NECC was started as a way to provide the collegiate gaming community with the respect it warranted and deserved. The conference prides itself on responding to the needs of its schools, directors, coaches, and most importantly - its players.