Fourteen years ago, I decided in my Freshman ‘Careers and Goals’ class that I wanted to be an architect. I can’t remember my exact reasoning in choosing this career path (very well might have been as superficial as, ‘oh, that sounds cool…’), but I stuck by my decision and took high school drafting and art classes, in hopes of increasing my chances of getting into a good college architecture program. Ten years ago, I began my five-year education at California Polytechnic State University (which was recently voted number three among architecture programs in the nation – woot!), embarking on some of the most challenging, most inspiration-filled, most creatively formative years of my life. Four-and-a-half years ago, I was offered my first real architecture job in Seattle and was put to work building models and drawing details for a large research building in South Lake Union. Two years ago, I registered for my first architectural licensing exam, and walked into the testing center with my palms sweating and my heart beating about a million times per minute. Last month I got notice that I had passed my ninth and final exam, and Shane and I jumped up in down in the kitchen as I waved my pass letter around with utter relief. On Thursday I received my architectural license in the mail, authorizing me to finally, after all these years of learning and growing and working and waiting, officially call myself an ‘Architect’. Wow, what a journey, filled with so many ups and downs. There were bumps in the road, when I felt like my brain was going to be rattled right out of my head, and then there were wide open stretches of freeway, when I felt like the world was my oyster. But I got through it all and am grateful for how the process has grown and refined me.
So…now what? To be honest, despite the achievement of this milestone, I still have much to learn/do/see/accomplish. This piece of paper isn’t going to immediately change my life, make my job all that different, or endow me with some kind of designer super-powers – right now, it’s just a piece of paper. But it’s also validation that I have worked my butt off and officially achieved a goal that I set way back in 1995, when I was sitting in a little classroom in Central California and trying to answer the question ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’. And that’s pretty cool.