Note: This is the sixteenth post in a group series called #ArchiTalks in which Bob Borson of Life of an Architect gives a group of us architects a theme or a set of questions and we all have to post our response… this month’s theme: “New Year, New _____”.
The first official #ArchiTalks of 2016 is here, so it seems only fitting that the architects gather around the coffee maker and chat about what new things we plan to do this year. Perhaps this will provide some accountability, too, because if you know anything about the average architect you know that we get wide-eyed with passion and ideas…and then get busy with work and only a couple of the ideas (if we’re lucky) get accomplished. So here’s my goals for the year for all to see. Keep me honest and accountable in the months to come. There’s some really cool stuff in the works!
1. Publish the first AREsketches™ study guide
As most of you know, I’ve been sketching visual study notes since last March from my time during testing, aptly tagged on Instagram as #AREsketches. To date, 177 of them have been published and many more are in the queue. The idea started from a conversation with friends still testing: tips and tricks, pain points of the study process, etc. I mentioned that I found myself sketching out the information I read to make sure I understood it visually and they said they’d love to see them. As I talked to others, they said the same thing. So I started professionalizing them in Paper with my Pencil, and the #AREsketches were born.
I launched a newsletter for the sketches, giving those studying or simply interested in architecture a sneak peek at the sketches for the week to come and personal lessons learned/study tips alongside them. I’m a month and a half into the newsletter and have 130 awesome people signed up and using them to work hard towards getting their license. The next step – approaching faster than I’d imagined – is to publish all of the initial sketches into a visual study guide flipbook of sorts. I’ve been chatting with Mike Riscica and Eric Reinholdt about their process and what they learned from publishing their own books as well as doing lots of research on my options. The goal is to publish the first book before AIA National Convention in May and start on the second test section of sketches.
2. Continue to learn & share
Recently I did a 3-part series on mentorship after seeing some conversations about it online and being personally asked how I found and formed some of my mentorships. I by no means feel like a leader on the subject, but after questions from multiple sources, I decided to share my experiences with the importance of, finding, and being a mentor. So I shared and got a lot of great responses – definitely unexpected. As a young architect, most of the time I feel like my thoughts don’t hold much weight (the evil impostor syndrome at work – to be talked about in detail in a future blog), but in reality – the inverse is true. Everyone is (hopefully) learning and we’re all on this journey together. If I can share my insights and it makes it easier on someone else, even by a fraction of a moment, then it was worth sharing. So my goal in this area is to keep sharing lessons learned and thoughts from the young architect perspective.
I wrote last week about the goals I have for #ThisOldHouse in the coming year. Check it out here. Some of the projects I’d like to get done will happen quickly and others will slowly form and evolve and I continue to define what I want for the different spaces in my little design lab. In fact, the office will get some more hours on the project after I wrap up this blog. There is a lot of work to be done on this lovely old home and I know it’s a marathon, not a sprint, but I’m loving watching it take shape just the same.
4. “Me” time
This one is hard. I actually just finished the book “Overwhelmed” by Brigid Schulte, which talked from varying viewpoints and great research about the idea of time for yourself and your friends/family. As a young professional trying to make a place for myself in the world of architecture, my American mindset is to DO ALL THE THINGS…which I did with great abandon these last two years. I still sometimes catch myself trying to do more than is physically possible. As a female, this inclination is even stronger because I know I’m fighting implicit (and sadly sometimes very explicit) bias about my role in a profession dominated by men. Neither desire to help or desire to overcome lead towards taking time for myself or stopping to enjoy the moment. And so my last, but most important goal for this year is to do just that: carve out “me” time, every day. Whether it’s coloring in my awesome new coloring books, having a drink or meal with friends, or simply taking myself out for a cup of coffee and time to read a book on a Saturday…I want to slowly, incrementally gain back some time for me. I know it’s worth its weight in gold.
Until next time,The participants of this ArchiTalks blog post series are asking you to help a friend of ours who is dealing with a family tragedy. Rusty Long is an Architect based out of Portsmouth, Virginia, whose son Matthew is fighting for his life. Here is Matthew’s story, as told by his Dad, Rusty: