2017 Reflections

Vivianette Ocasio
5 min readJan 3, 2018


Year 2017 Recap.

This was the best year I’ve had for professional growth since I started working at Riot Games. After enjoying my wedding and honeymoon, I found out on my first week of work that our small team would move to a new space and work on creative projects supporting League of Legends content. In May, I started working with incredibly talented and inspiring teammates in CDev, putting a lot of work into many projects like Animation Workshop, redesigning navigation of the Fanart Showcase, designing what reading comics on mobile would be like, and wireframing and doing visual design for the Star Guardian Thematic Collection. Having the experience from conception to delivery has given me the knowledge that I was missing to transition into a full-time designer role. CDev and Design Systems gave me the opportunity to design cool stuff for players while building my portfolio.

I also lost one of my best friends Tucker. Learning to treat his cancer, care for him during the good and bad times, and let go once it was time was one of the hardest things I faced this year. Tucker has been a part of our family for 8 years, teaching me patience, love, and what it’s like to be a fur-mommy . I’ll always remember my goofball.

Tucker’s paw and ashes (Summer 2017).

Because of the mental, physical, and emotional stress I endured during this process, I abandoned my workout and healthy eating habits. I ate what I wanted, didn’t go to the gym, and as a result, gained 30 lbs.

I’m not proud of the fact that I stopped going to church. I didn’t stop praying, but I just couldn’t get myself to wake up on a Sunday morning to go to church after losing Tucker. I realized I picked a church to go to because of marriage prep, but I didn’t feel a sense of belonging to this particular church. I haven’t found what I left in Indiana, but I plan to start searching for my new church home.

I wanted to improve my written communication skills and wanted to post something on Medium. After playing NieR: Automata, I wrote this long draft about emotional design in the game, and never published it. I was too anxious about writing something about design and sharing it with others.

I learned about investments, specifically crypto currencies. I read about Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other emerging alt coins. I created my portfolio and was able to pay off my credit card debt. I am now learning more about this world and how to maximize ROI. With the profit, I was paying out debt, improving my credit score significantly.

I was able to travel to a new country, China. Although the culture shock hit me pretty hard, I enjoyed many aspects of the culture and nature. The Great Wall was beautiful and climbing to the highest point of Mutianyu was extremely challenging, yet rewarding. Witnessing the biggest Esports event in history was the coolest gamer experience I had in my life. The League of Legends World Finals was awesome, and seeing it all at the Bird’s Nest was even more awesome! Additionally, I went to Shanghai Disney and rode the TRON ride five times!

I also went to Japan, mainly exploring Kyoto. My husband and I dressed in kimono and enjoyed an afternoon in Higashiyama, eating green tea sweets and visiting nearby temples and shrines. We hiked Mountain Inari at night, ate amazing ramen, and saw many geisha and maiko in Gion.

Our First Year Anniversary was celebrated in advance in Kyoto (November 2017).

In short, 2017 had a lot of successes with a few failures:

  • I DID marry my best friend. It was an amazing wedding and I will always treasure the love and support that we received through the entire planning and wedding day.
  • I DID get the job title I wanted by the end of the year. I am now a UX Designer and my coordinating days are over!
  • I DID ship products to players — over 5 products this past year! I am learning from these shipped products, and applying new knowledge and expertise to future work.
  • I DID NOT continue to work on my weight-loss goals. This is something I should have forced myself to do.
  • I DID NOT continue to go to church this year. Finding the “right” church and scheduling time to go factored in heavily to not getting this done. I am planning to change that this year!
  • I DID travel to new places. I learned more about this country, and would love to visit again in the future.
  • I DID NOT recover financially after the wedding. This is mostly due to Tucker’s radiation treatment and additional expenses throughout the year.
  • I DID improve my credit score. I learned to control and build my credit over time.
  • I DID invest in stocks and crypto currencies. I made profit and and this has introduced me to better investment strategies.
  • I DID NOT write something on Medium. I did not make an effort to improve my written skills.

Looking Ahead

Now that I have achieved my biggest goal in 2017 and was rewarded with my new job role, I want to learn how to improve my creativity and design thinking. I need to learn to be creative without sacrificing usability and functionality. Additionally, I want to lose some weight, go to church, pay debt, and write more.

In order to improve upon this, I plan to:

  • Read a self-improvement or craft book each month. I dislike reading, but I want to invest in my growth and need to overcome this reading obstacle.
  • Play new/different games each month. I enjoy my social time with friends online, but I should also take some time to myself and experience some solo adventures.
  • Pay all our wedding debt by the end of the year. I want to use the extra cash from these expenses into tackling student debt in 2019.
  • Lose 25–30 lbs of fat by end of year. I reset my weight-loss goals from 2016 and now I have to start from the start.
  • Write articles on Medium. I want to get into the habit of practicing my written and verbal communication skills this year. Therefore, I am starting the year with this post, with the hopes of sharing my game and design knowledge with others in future posts.
  • Find a new church. As life introduces me to harder challenges and struggles, I want to continue to practice my faith, receive more spiritual guidance for growth, and live with love and hope.

I’m optimistic for what’s to come in 2018. It’s going to be a year of career accomplishments and growth, financial stability and progression, healthy habits, and many blessings.



Vivianette Ocasio

UX Designer on @PlayDauntless at @PhoenixLabs at daytime, anime gremlin at night • Prev @riotgames • Lifelong passion for #UX and #gaming • @CGT_Purdue alum.