Magic: The Gathering, Up Close and Personal

Matt Wolff 1

Academy Schools’ most recent guest to the Upper School career counsel is Matt Wolff, Technical Producer at Wizards of the Coast. On Friday, October 10th, Matt graciously joined middle and high school students to share his personal roadmap to the boundless planes of Multiverse.  What, you might say, is that? If you or someone you know is familiar with Magic: The Gathering, just ask if they are a Planeswalker. Maybe they will have an answer for you.

Matt’s personal journey is one of exploration and, as he interprets it, “discovery through negation.” One element kept popping up along the way: Matt’s attraction to games. From running magic games in school, owning a brick and mortar game store, to game development (all code=not good), game design (also not good), to video game tester, aka button masher, (the final not good trifecta), the gaming industry continued to speak to him.

The path, however, was not a straight one. The desire to complete his formal education while also gaining invaluable life experiences took Matt in several directions. In early 2001, Matt joined the Army, a decision that seemed reasonable with rewards. Then 9/11 happened. Matt found himself in Baghdad as an intelligence analyst. He liked his job, but the military…not so much. After fulfilling his contract with the DOD, he then had to fight for his education benefits due him through the VA GI Bill. With a degree in business, Matt opted for a new adventure: law enforcement. Five months in Police Academy and a year on the force equaled further growth, practical knowledge, advanced skills.

Matt Wolff 2b  Matt Wolff 3

Emotional intelligence is vital. The triangle (right) is always moving. Wisdom is gained through discovery. So this is why Matt refers to his journey as “discovery through negation.” His advice to our high school students was profound. “All information is valuable. Find out why you don’t like something and use that to move on to the next step.” Most recently, a door opened for Matt at Wizards of the Coast, he crossed the threshold, and he liked what he discovered. He likes it very much.

“One of my favorite sayings is ‘The person who makes little mistakes, learns little from them.’ I have no idea where it came from or if I made it up somewhere along the line but it has always served me well in my journey.”

“The ability to express and control our own emotions is important, but so is our ability to understand, interpret, and respond to the emotions of others.” Kendra Cherry on emotional intelligence

P.S. Wizards of the Coast has a dragon in its lobby…named Mitzy! Mitzy

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