…first things first… for all the people that read my last post and called, texted, e-mailed, fb-messaged etc.. Thank you very much… 22 days after the accident, I am feeling almost normal again.. Body aches are gone and my scrapes have healed but some things are still a bit weird i.e. singing to the radio while in my rental feels wrong… like I am cheating on my car… so I have been listening to talk radio a lot… Now that my car is gone, I feel like I see more Minis on the road now…
Anyways I am back here to update the people of Archinect (Archinect-tians?!?) what I have been up to…
Last March was one of the most nerve-wracking and exciting time of my life… It reminded me of the time when my sisters and I applied for a US visa to re-unite with my parents… You must be wondering what happen then that was so exciting, but in-order to get the full perspective.. I will start from the morning of my graduation…
June 10th 2011, 10 AM, Woke-up on the floor wearing my Sunday’s best. As I regain consciousness from the party that ended merely 3 hours ago, I suddenly got an urge to check my email. My inbox was filled with ignored messages so it took a while until I read the email below>>
The rejection was a bit tough to comprehend… partly because I was still exhausted from thesis 2 days ago in addition to being hung-over from night before. And partly because it was graduation day and the self –imposed pressures of being a “Grown-up”(whatever that means)was looming… I tried my best to ignore it but I just simply couldn’t. I felt very uncomfortable during graduation and the photo below can attest to that>>> I like to call this the coerced/perplexed/constipated look… hahahaha… and as a side note: Dear Grad Images (company that monopolized the photography of school graduations), no matter how much you bombard my email with special discount offers, I will still not print this ridiculous picture… But thank you for honestly capturing the moment.
A week and a half post-graduation, I have finally come to terms with my rejection and slowly figuring out what the future holds, when I received the email below>>
I was shocked by this news and quickly replied back asking if this email was real?? A couple of days later they replied that they made a mistake with the rejection and enumerated all the stipulations I needed to suffice for my admission like Diploma, Visa Application and Personal Finances.
After a couple of more emails back and forth, I was informed that the scholarship program for Foreign Nationals pursuing Master of Architecture was cancelled. So I quickly re-focused attention to finding outside scholarships, loans and even rich sponsors to help cover my first year’s tuition + living expense in Netherlands… which is roughly +25,000 euros I had to come up with this money within 3 weeks in order to give enough time for student visa application. I met with banks, and talked to various lenders but they refused to provide me a loan not because of my credit rating but because of TU Delft is not a FAFSA recognized school which basically means personally financing it was impossible.
After the heartbreak of not being able to attend TU Delft, I focused on finding jobs which was difficult enough in the Los Angeles job market and was exacerbated with my Grad School aspirations. My morale was low but every single day I spent not working, was spent studying for GRE and researching for Grad School Programs. By September, I have taken the GRE, started my application and found a job through a good friend of mine, LUIS GIL (again, thank you very much), as design consultant for Osborn Architects.
Work was intense because we were working on a design competition, that my grad school application took a back seat. After meeting the deadline last November, I took a break from work and focused on my application.
Managing Grad School Applications was difficult because not only I chose to apply in the top schools but I also decided to apply in different programs that I believe I would benefit the most. So a “Generic-Application-to-be-Customized” was hard to devise. And I also thought if I don’t get accepted this time, I would retire my Grad School Ambition for an unforeseeable future, So I better get my money’s worth and really try to give my best. So I wrote multiple personal statements, thesis proposals and portfolio contents. There were times that I felt really dumb for not applying to any “back-up” schools but I also felt that I am only wasting my time if I did…
Fast-forward to February 2012 I checked the status of my applications… 4 out of the six schools I applied to was incomplete because one of my professors forgot to write my recommendations which he initially said he would. I was sh*tting balls the entire time because one can assume that an incomplete application equals an automatic rejection. So after 2 or so weeks of begging and pleading, my applications were all completed… I was nervous that completion of my application was too late that I was better off preparing myself for at least 4 rejections than naively thinking everything is all fine and dandy.
Night of February 24, 2012, I got home late because of work so I went straight to bed… when I decided to go get some water, I found an opened letter addressed to me.. I kinda got mad at my sister because she accidentally opened it after reading it I got super excited!>>
>> I got accepted to UIC’s Master of Science in Architecture, my first choice!
Then on March 1, 2012, while I was quietly eating my lunch in my cubicle,I read this email>>>
>>I was absolutely gob-smacked that my initial response was verbatim “Holy Sh*tf*ckiddyF*ckF*ck”.
Then a week later, 8th of March, I read this email from Princeton>>
>>Which was definitely expected... but after reading this email, I was surprisingly not bummed because I was still extremely happy that I had a choice..
While I was on my 2-week research trip in the east coast, I got these results:
>>I got into Parsons for Trans Disciplinary Design!
>>Then to Columbia for Master of Science in Architecture and Urban Design.
>>And last but not the least, I was accepted in Tokyo University for Global 30 Master in Architecture and Urban Design!
I was extremely elated, surprised and baffled with these results… (what a couple of months make) But my new “inner grown-up” told me to not just go with my first choice but really reflect on what will be best for me… Also I had to wait for the scholarships that they offered me before I make my decision. A co-worker of mine suggested to use my acceptance in other schools as leverage for better scholarships (is this really whats goin on in the real world??)… but I did not… I was offered a couple of full scholarships, a couple of partial scholarship, and a couple more partial scholarships that were raised after some very generous reconsideration of financial aid office after my FAFSA Information was completed..
In the end I decided to attend Harvard GSD because of a multitude of reasons like: Breadth and Interdisciplinary nature of the Program, Space and facilities, and of course gut feelings: which I think is the balance being challenged, uncomfortability (which is not a real word) and an overwhelming sense of rightness that I can only be summed up in a Japanese word, Kimochi (not the hentai version hahaha).
Now back to last week… which is the whole point this entire blog post… my preparation for GSD is slowly coming together:
1) I finally submitted my ID photo>>>>> May I add that this was the product of 15 full minutes of trying not to look like an awkward rapist/serial killer (according to my older sister)….
2) Submitted my yellow card showing my immunization record.
3) Found a roommate and a House through Harvard GSD Housing page…
>>>Shout out to future roommate Ryan Otterson of University of Kansas!
4) And I finally applied for Grad Plus Student loans to cover the rest of my expenses…
So sh*t is definitely getting real…
PS: this may sound a bit patronizing… but I mean this wholeheartedly.I would like to take this opportunity to thank the ff:
>>My professors and studio critics that help expand my views about architecture and challenged my ways of thinking.
>>My classmates whom I seek out comfort to when school gets tough (misery really do love company).
>>My old and new colleagues that introduced me to the “other”(professional)-side of architecture.
>>My mentors for all the conversations which resulted to very helpful advices…
>>My friends/former roommates that kept me sane throughout all the crazy things we have all gone through and by having parties and random 40’s..
>>And of course my FAMILY with their overabundance of support and understanding in whatever I do or set my mind to…
I am truly grateful for everysingle one of you!
PPS... I would also thank God but it would make it seem like an oscar acceptance speech so I just quitely thought about thanking him/her...