The scoreboard for the Fortnite "Secret Skirmish" tournament

FCC Student Turned Fortnite Star

By Sean Smith

For a college student, $14,000 is seen as a lot of money. However, for a certain Frederick Community College student this is just another day at the office.

Armond Mendiola is this student at FCC. His day job is a little different than that of most people, however. Armond is a professional Fortnite player and a Twitch streamer.

The popular battle royale game has reached peaks that no other game before it has. Its rising popularity and increasing competitiveness has allowed the game to host tournaments that only the best players compete in. Some people may think that playing video games can’t be an actual job. But it is a full-time occupation to be a competitive streamer and Fortnite pro.

“I’ll wake up, shower, do aim training for an hour, practice builds for about two hours, then take a lunch break, and then I’ll play regular games the rest of the day,” Mendiola said.

The stereotype surrounding video games is that they are only for lazy people, or that only “nerds” play video games. Mendiola proves that the stereotype does not mean anything. To be a pro at Fortnite, an individual can’t be lazy. They practice several hours a day to keep pace with other pros. One missed day requires more work to be made up than what most jobs would require.

Before becoming a full-time streamer, Mendiola lived the regular life of a college student. Then, he dedicated all his after school time to becoming one of the best Fortnite players in the world.

“I would have to get the school work done early, and I would have to stay up super late.” said Mendiola, also known by his twitch name, ArmondTV. “All my time at school was just doing homework.”

College is hard enough for a typical student. Having a full-time job and attending classes every day is enough work. For Mendiola, he has tried to balance this task dating back to high school.

“I started the end of Season 2, but didn’t really get into it until Season 3,” said Mendiola.

Season 2 ended Feb 21 of last year. Mendiola graduated high school in May and has had to balance the college gamer lifestyle ever since.

Mendiola had his first pro experience in Fortnite in the “Winter Royale.” It was in this tournament where he proved that he was one of the best in the world. When people familiar with the game think of Fortnite, they probably think of the most popular player, “Ninja”. He was the first person to bring the game to popularity just by being good. In the Winter Royale tournament, the competition level was so high that Ninja did not even qualify for the finals of the tournament. Also in this tournament were popular names like Tfue, and Ghost Aydan.

After the Winter Royale, Mendiola continued to grind. He was invited to fly out to Los Angeles to play in Fortnite’s next tournament, the “Secret Skirmish.” When he wasn’t competing in the tournament, he was able to meet some of the pros and streamers.

“I was able to meet everyone: Team Ghost, Liquid, Faze, all of them,” said Mendiola. “The coolest people I met were the guys from Ghost Gaming and Nickmercs. I even got invited to go to dinner with the Ghost team. Aydan is super nice.”

In the Fortnite scene, those are all huge names to associate with. Ghost Gaming is one of the top professional Fortnite teams, and Nickmercs is one of the most viewed streamers. Exposure like this is huge for any pro or streamer.

“I’m going to try my best for a year,” said Mendiola. “If it doesn’t work I will just go back to school.”

The future is really bright for Armond Mendiola. Fortnite has not had another tournament since the Secret Skirmish, but after finishing in 10th place against the best players in the world, it may not be long before ArmondTV places number 1.

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