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F E ATU RE S
Quest for purpose: a look into an Islamic convert’s life
Continued from Page I
for new Muslims and the curious.
White's childhood began in a Greensboro
household that was essentially secular. He
recalled that his mother was a part-time
Christian on those Sundays when she chose
to attend church. White's perception of God
developed from outside influences.
"My first real experience with the creator
was going to a Christian camp in the
mountains where it was drilled into my
skull that there is hell and hell is waiting
for everyone that doesn't believe/' said
White. White believed that God accepted his
prayers from that point forward.
An adoration for music eventually led
White into the recording industry as a
teenager. He soon found himself immersed
in a lifestyle of parties and pleasure.
"You get involved in the music world,
you're going to be surrounded by every
single solitary sinful thing you can think of,"
said White. "All I did was play music. When
that wasn't meaningful to me anymore, I
had nothing really to hold onto."
The life of excess, magnified by the
untimely death of a close friend, posed an
existential dilemma for White.
"I kind of had this awareness that came
over me that 'the lifestyle I'm living is going
to kill me too if I don't get out of this'," said
White consulted multiple philosophies
and religious texts in pursuit of some resolve.
He admired the Qur'an for its clarity and as
a literary standard in the Arabic language.
As he absorbed the teachings of the Qur'an,
White was inspired by the life of prophet
Muhammad, a man of humility who lived
what he preached.
"That's what really did it for me — the
character of prophet Muhammad," said
White. "No matter how much he had been
through, no matter how much power he
gained from his message, he stayed a regular
humble person. We're talking (about) a man
who at the height of his career as a prophet
and messenger of God ... still slept on a mat
in the dirt in a house with nothing in it."
It took White months of debating with
himself to decide whether he could handle
the responsibility of becoming a Muslim.
"Becoming a Muslim is the real deal," said
White. "There's not religion and then your
life ... Religion is your life; everything in
your life is Islam."
The Qur'an provided a method and
prophet Muhammad provided a model
of self-discipline in White's journey. His
personal enlightenment occurred about
four years ago. White continues to dedicate
his time spreading the word of Islam and
dispelling ignorance about the faith.
An open invitation is offered to any
student who would like to attend a prayer at
the Islamic Center of Greensboro. Guilford
College's various religious organizations
also offer options for students exploring
questions of faith, spirituality or religion.
Life after Guilford:MattHaselton
By Meredith Brown
Executive Print Copy Editor
Imagine that your job is to make video games that
can change someone's life. Imagine that you get to do
something that you love and that incorporates your
favorite pastime every day as your job. This is the life
that Matt Haselton '07 lives.
Matt was an English literature major at Guilford
College with a concentration in medieval/early
modern studies and is currently an associate
designer at Filament Games, a company which makes
educational video games for all ages. It may seem
difficult to understand hoW a degree in English can
translate into designing video games, but Haselton
has managed it flawlessly.
"My English major skills are used every day," said
Haselton. "There's not a lot of demand for people
writing papers on 400-year-old texts, but (the English
major) is helpful in figuring out the deeper meaning
of ideas or how to put together (other) people's ideas
into a cohesive argument or pitch."
Haselton believes that his Guilford education
was fundamental in helping him in ways that a
degree from a different school would not have done.
Learning how to communicate within a group and
also how to figure out a problem outside of class are
very Guilford-centric lessons.
"Having taught at a Big Ten school, it's a totally
different experience," said Haselton. "At big schools,
there are students who aren't able to find themselves
because they're so busy running around a giant
campus. Guilford has a sense of being encouraged to
work on an individual level."
This individualism and knowledge of how to
synthesize ideas translate perfectly into game design,
according to Haselton. His job is to hear Filament's
clients' pitches and then figure out how to take out
the pertinent information and figure out how to make
a game out of the pieces. He then makes that into a
concept document that is eventually made into the
final game product.
‘ Originally, Haselton wanted to be an education
studies major, because he "loved explaining things to
people." However, after taking some English classes,
he quickly switched his major to English and joined
The Guilfordian. Now he teaches through video
"I love making a complicated idea accessible for all
people," he said.
He credits The Guilfordian for much of why he was
able to translate his English degree into video games.
"The Guilfordian was a place that gave real-
world traction to the concepts we learned as English
majors," he said. "It's all about writing for real people
and not in an academic context. In the real world. I'm
writing at about a fifth grade level, and that's the tone
you need to explain things really well. So much of my
work is explaining things to people, so that's the only
way to get better. "
He also believes that Heather Hayton, associate
professor of English, Jeff Jeske, Dana professor of
English and faculty advisor of The Guilfordian, were
integral parts of his Guilford education.
"Jeff was my advisor and Heather was key to
pushing me to do stuff with graduate school," he
said. "She sent me to my first conference and told me
to apply what I was doing to video games, which I'd
never even considered."
"They definitely kicked my ass a lot when I needed
it, but when I deserved it, they didn't kick my ass as
hard as they could have."
When asked what his favorite Guilford memory
was, Haselton could not choose just one.
"My friend Ben and I would make a movie every
year and Jeff would come in and give us feedback for
that," recalled Haselton. "And it was so fun. Also, the
multitude of times I thought Heather and Jeff were
going to kill me and they didn't — that was really
j^n. Guilford was great the whole way through.
Cleaning out the Guilfordian office for the last time
I was thinking 'Wow, that actually happened and
I didn't burn the paper down' and that was really
He recommends that all Guilford students realize
how integral to their future life their education here
"You're learning a lot of academic skills, and
the key is translating that into tangible, real world
things," said Haselton. "In the real world, they're
asking you how long it will take you to have a final
product and you really need something to measure
yourself against. Being in school is the only place you
can find that out about yourself, if you give yourself
the time and space to do that. Take advantage of
people telling you if it isn't good or if you need to
spend more time on it. Now, the consequences are
more than just a bad grade, they're being fired."
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