“The world is a university and everyone in it is a teacher. Make sure when you wake up in the morning, you go to school.” ―T. D. Jakes

When you hear the word education, what comes to mind? For many of us images of our first day of kindergarten come to mind, walking up to receive our diploma in our cap and gown or those last few years fine tuning the knowledge of our major before embarking on the real world. Those are the thoughts that come to my mind too. But I also think about something more than memories. I think about what I’m learning now and what I want to learn next. I’m a firm believer that education is not limited to our years in the classroom. Instead, it is a part of our life from the very beginning until the very end. Sure, it looks different in different phases of life, but it is always happening, and we are always learning.

Right now a main source of my learning involves studying for the Architect Registration Examination (ARE) . This piece is probably a little more traditional in the sense that it is the final piece of formal education and an integral part of becoming an architect. It is an intensive process that involves gaining a really in-depth look at every angle of each design phase.

Beyond my exams there are a number of ways that I can increase my knowledge and grow in my trade here at KOMA. Design team meetings are one of those ways. In our office, collaboration is a key element in our approach to design. Working as a group gives a detailed understanding into how each individual views design – because we all approach it so differently. We learn new ways to look at things and see them through a vantage point we may not have otherwise. Collaboration also goes a step further by meeting with outside consultants to coordinate the building systems and ensure the best design solution. Whether that be mechanical engineers, electrical engineers or other members of the design team. Learning how those members of the team do their part brings a furthered understanding of integrated building design.

The annual AIA conference, coming up in early November, provides a great opportunity to gain some additional education. The seminars are incredibly informative, and the workshops are a way to develop skills while networking with peers. It provides a week of exploring new ideas and innovative construction systems which can be utilized to achieve design goals in practice.  It provides a week of exploring new ideas, new products, new approaches and new trends in the industry and it is all done with peers. Similar to the AIA convention but on a smaller scale are continuing education seminars. These provide a look at new products, their performance characteristics, how they are tested and where they can be used. Products and codes are two things that are ever-changing in this industry and it is a lifetime of education in and of itself to stay current.

These are a few of the ways that I continue to educate myself on architecture and design day in and day out and how I stay inspired to grow and challenge myself. There is an endless amount of information and countless opportunities to grow, you just have to pursue them!