July 2016 – School is out for the summer and with the longer days and warmer weather comes the memories of those good old days when class was no longer in session and time was spent soaking in the short-lived Minnesota season with late nights, bonfires, cabins, and bare feet. Of course we all miss those carefree days every once in a while but I am fortunate to have found a profession that makes work enjoyable (in every season) and makes education something to be desired rather than dreaded.

Growing up, my dad was a contractor and at different points in his career he would draft – which is what he went to school for –  and I was infatuated with his blue prints. He would sit down and draw these houses and I remember saying to him “how do you know where things go – how do you know the stairs go here and the bedrooms go there?” He would always respond that he put them there because that’s where he wanted them to be. That simple concept captivated me – you could choose to put things wherever you wanted them to be. Whatever that particular family needed, whatever that office needed, you could choose the best solution for them. I loved the freedom of design and the idea of finding solutions to challenges.

I didn’t spend my childhood knowing I wanted to be an architect; in fact I’m not even sure I knew what that meant at the time. I just knew what I liked and that construction, design, and drawing were interests of mine. As I neared the end of my high school days, the pieces of the puzzle just fell into place and becoming an architect was an obvious choice. NDSU was close to my home and with such an acknowledged architecture program it was an easy decision. I never looked back. I realize now how fortunate I was to grow up with an understanding of the field because I had a better grasp of what my chosen college career path would actually be like. It didn’t however change how I felt when I actually did enter the ‘real’ world. I had a great education and knew how to design and how to do it well, but I had no idea how to put together a set of drawings! I remember going on a client meeting in my first few weeks at KOMA and thinking “I have no idea what I’m doing!” but slowly I began to understand the process of it all.

School taught me the design aspect of architecture and my hours of experience under a licensed architect taught me how to draw and detail a building. My ARE exams tested my overall knowledge and gave me an understanding of the scope I was meant to look at as an architect. Collectively, they have given me an incredibly well-rounded learning experience and one that would be impossible to achieve in just 5 short years in school.

I am happy to be done with the extensive studying that comes with becoming a licensed architect and am proud of all I have learned and accomplished. But one of the most important things I walked away with is that learning is a life-long endeavor. There is always more to learn in my field, more ways to educate myself and more ways to keep inspiration alive and it really is a notion that excites me. For now though, I am happy to take a short breath and enjoy what is left of summer.