In August of 2005 I knew exactly what I wanted to be; after my first few weeks of architecture courses I was hooked and completely in love with the idea of becoming an architect. My degree was very challenging in many ways and I had to work harder than I ever had for anything else before to earn it.
But over the years this shining goal that I was striving for became tarnished, bit by bit, by some hard facts:
– Becoming a licensed architect takes about 8 years, similar to becoming a doctor, and they don’t earn as much as they should.
– Architecture is a project-based career meaning lots of long hours to meet deadlines and constant stress.
When I think about fact #1, a couple thoughts come to mind…I consider myself to be an efficient person and I personally can’t justify spending so much time, money and effort working towards a career that isn’t going to pay me back. On the other hand if I truly love architecture, shouldn’t it be worth it regardless of compensation? Do I really love architecture as much as I thought I did in the beginning of undergrad? Am I just using this as a reason to quit because I’m lazy and I don’t want to put in the hard work required to become licensed? Or am I just afraid of failure?
Fact #2 is probably the most important one to me…not long after beginning my first semester of undergrad I met Mark and little did I know then but having him in my life would significantly alter what I deemed important. Jump ahead to the present and the top of my “Life Priority List” looks something like this: our future family, our marriage, family and friendships. This is my core. Everything else including money, careers, material things and social status fall below those top items and are in the peripheral. The last thing I want is a career that competes with the top of my list, penetrates my core, steals time from my family and causes me to be stressed.
I worked for a couple of years in a project-based environment and I would find myself thinking about the work I had yet to do when I was at home, I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I didn’t wanted to spend time outside of work with my coworkers because they never talked about anything besides the ongoing projects. Their work literally consumed their entire lives and I never ever want to see that happen to me.
It’s not easy for me to come to terms with the fact that I don’t have a life-long career plan. It’s not easy for me to see my friends graduating with their masters degrees and going on to become architects. It’s not easy for me to explain to my parents why I’m not utilizing the degree that they paid for. It’s not easy for me to hold back the tears when I’m innocently asked if I’ve applied for any architecture jobs lately. It’s not easy for me to go to job interviews and explain why I’m pursuing something outside of my degree. It’s not easy for me to swallow my pride and work at an $8.25 an hour job, knowing that I’m capable of much more.
All of these thoughts have been stirring in my heart for a very long time now and it’s something that I’ve prayed about incessantly. In the end, there’s no short answer as to why I am no longer pursuing architecture. That’s why I have written this out; it’s the long answer. Getting all of this off my chest is therapy for me more than anything else; keeping it all bottled up inside for so long was beginning to tear me down.
Basically, I’ve decided to put this behind me and start looking forward. I may not know what my next job will be or where I want to be working in 5, 10, 20 years but I do know this…that I want to be the best wife, daughter, sister, granddaughter, aunt, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, niece, cousin and someday mother that I can be. As long as I am doing my best to be those things, I will be happy and I hope that I can continue to trust God and his timing with the rest.
– Afterthought –
Mark and I were talking the other day about how we each came to the decision to attend Texas A&M versus any other school. I realized that I chose A&M for it’s top 10 architecture program; I didn’t even apply anywhere else. Architecture brought me to A&M which led to Mark and I finding each other…if that was the sole purpose of architecture in my life, then I’m OK with that :)