Guess what? We are putting our house on the market. You know, the one with the front doors that were just repainted a lovely black?
We are heading to Denver in a month and looking for a loft in the city! I was accepted into the three and a half year Masters of Architecture program at University of Colorado, Denver. We think we might stay in Denver, it is a GREAT city, and we love it. But we are open to all possibilities. I'm looking forward to getting a loft and being able to walk or take public transportation or bike to school. I'm ready for a more walkable lifestyle... oh, and snow!
May I ask where you went to school? Any tips or advice?
I have been taking a few architecture classes, have a bit of a background in interior design, a degree in sociology and was previously a licensed massage therapist. But this is my first venture into a Masters program. Denver appealed to me because the program has an emphasis in healthy environments, sustainability, historic preservation and building conservation -- all interests of mine.
It's been a crazy ride, but I am really excited for this new adventure and so lucky that I have a supportive husband who is excited to pick up and move!
Jennifer, Habit Of Design"
Congratulations! That's huge, exciting news!
So you're asking about ARCHITECTURE SCHOOL. Would you like to know about the time that I cut off part of my left index finger during a studio class and had to be rushed to the emergency room? Or would you like to know about the professor who would remove me from the program every single week for missing his class because I had an out of town track meet for the university? Or would you like to know about how, yes, every single week I had to meet with the dean to get re-instated, the same dean who insisted on keeping a piece of my work sitting inside of their offices until I eventually burglarized it back into my possession? No, none of that? Well, then, what can I tell you?
I guess I should start with where I went to school. It began in a pick up truck in the parking lot of a honky tonk bar in a corn field. Well practically, anyway. I started at Kansas State's Epperson House program and finished up at Florida Atlantic University. Ironically, my thesis professor and the dean at FAU back then, Dr. Peter Magyar, is now the dean at Kansas State University.
In terms of tips or advice, I sort of believe that education, in general, is pretty much what you make of it. Because, unless you know who you're studying under, there's really no telling what Colorado's program will throw at you. No, really. A harsh critique. Three days without sleep. Stop. STOP NOW, you're thinking, No one wants to hear about the guy you went to school with who shoved a caffeine pill in an unmentionable dark place on the lower half of his body.
My point is, architecture school is an ENORMOUS time commitment. As in, you won't have time to pee for two weeks, ESPECIALLY IF YOU SHOVE A NO DOZE UP YOUR SPHINCTER. You are expected to eat, sleep, and breathe design. You live in your studio. Literally. Accredited architecture schools are required to permit their students access to the building twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. And you will be expected to be there. It's incredibly difficult to hold down a job or have any kind of outside life. So that's something to keep in mind.
Another thing to anticipate -- and I'm being completely serious now -- are the types of critiques that you'll face, most likely with panels of unforgiving jurors. It's tough to take that kind of criticism day in and day out. People cry. Sometimes they yell. It's hard to have something that you've worked really hard on essentially trashed or, even worse, overlooked. I think this is why most women tend to drop out or transfer into other types of design programs. I tell you that not to frighten you, but to prepare you. If you expect it, it's easier not to take it so personally.
Last, I think a lot of your direction depends on what you intend to do with your degree. Do you want to open your own practice? Are you expanding your knowledge out of interest, but with the intention of pursuing another design related career? Would you prefer to work for a larger corporate firm doing government projects? Knowing the direction you want to take now can really help you tailor your focus over the next few years.
This is a really exciting step, and I hope that you'll keep me posted on what happens? I'm always thrilled to see another woman pursuing architecture. Other male dominated fields, such as engineering, have promoted and encouraged young women who pursue a career in their specialty, but female architects face not only discouragement, they tend to suffer invisibility. I swear, it's the slowest feminisation of any profession!
We're all cheering you on, Jennifer! It's a lot of hard work, but get ready for an amazing experience!