Becoming an Architect: Step One

Hello out there,

To anyone brave enough to read an unknown and unadvertised blog post. If you do manage to find this, and if you are so inclined to come along on what I know is going to be quite the adventure, let us get something clear. I am not writing this for you to read. I am writing because I need to. I need to record my own ideas and experiments as I make my way along a new path, but more importantly I need the idea that you are reading this. As the blank, faceless social pressure of the world-wide-web,  you create a form of accountability, and a sense of accomplishment that I hope will keep me on course. If all else fails, at least I wrote a blog post, at least I added my voice to growing clatter of human information which encircles us. At least… at least I became an architect.

So where to begin. I am a creative person, always have been. I don’t mean this to brag, its more about admitting it to myself, because unfortunately I am a creative person who has done almost everything possible to fight against that impulse. I am now twenty three and for most of my life I have been terrified of expressing myself fully, of committing to projects, and of facing the judgement of others.Growing up I loved to build with lego blocks, to dance, to sing, to write, to draw, but as I got older I became less and less confident in my ability to play. I became obsessed with sports and physical appearance, and an increasingly powerful cage of self-control and restraint began to close itself around me. I do not think this is a unique experience.Personal and social expectations, a culture obsessed with quantifiable achievement, money, power, and a lack of safe creative spaces all make us doubt the value of our creativity. I continue to doubt it, but I want that to stop. That’s what this blog is about. Building my own oddly shaped box to live in, with lots of doors and windows for people to peer into and walk through.

So where does architecture fit into all this? Well, since I graduated university in April I have been floating around in grey, rather hopeless state of distress. I completed an undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies, made the Honour Role, and had a number of professors tell me I could do really great things. I felt inspired for about a month, then realised great things weren’t just going to happen to me, I’d have to go looking. This realisation actually had the opposite effect on my pysche, instead of backing myself, I adopted the most submissive and apologetic attitude I could find and began actively dragging my feet. Drawing inspiration from Buddhism, I accepted that the world would simply move on without me, regardless of me, in spite of me. The trees would bloom and die each spring and fall, climate change would reap chaos and destruction, and I would simply tolerate it. I had decided to just be there. Sounds wonderful… but its not all its cracked up to be, at least it wasn’t for me. Without goals I found myself living without excitement, no attention to detail, and no desire to create. Without pride, I found no reason to work hard, and no reason to stand up for things or against people. Since I graduated I’ve been living timidly and self-consciously, qualities that have not typically been associated with my character. Qualities I do not want to become a permanent fixture of my narrative.

And so, yesterday, while my partner and I struggled through a seven hours drive across Southern Ontario, we decided it was time for me to find a new challenge. To pursue creativity, to find opportunity, and to make great things happen. All very cliche, but all very necessary.  We agreed, I would do everything I could to become an architect, because why not? Any direction would be better then the stillness I had been cultivating for the last 6 months.

So this is it. Step one to becoming an architect, declare it to the world. Step two, figure out what the hell it will take to get into architecture school. Step three, probably figure out how to draw, how to think in terms of design. Step four, great things?

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