University of Illinois at Chicago (Paulina)

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    a bit of a stream of conciousness

    By Paulina
    Apr 7, '05 6:44 PM EST

    My feelings about school. Honest here really this isn't a reason for myself to shroud my insecurities. I think everyone has them as much as they are confident, afterall what is the ying without the yang? Lately Ive been struggling to figure out how Id like to practice what Ive learned. Not just in a superficial “which firm do I want to work for” or “oh, dear how will I bind my portfolio” sortof way, but really in a manner attempting to connect this to a higher purpose. Something deeper not in the sense of self indulgion either, but I just want to practice in a manner that will best help me envelope who I am, and how I feel about life, my perspectives, my interests, my talents”¦ I don't want this profession to just become something that I refer to in my later life as a carreer, or a job. If I am going to do this I want it to be something completely me. Naïve I know, in many ways Im sure.. but with the choices I have been making and having to deal with their consequences has made me aware of a multitude of observations and many questions to ask myself not only the meaning of architecture or this profession to me, but on the whole a meaning of life and what my personal values are. Id like to think that I would never regret going this direction in my life, spending all these years studying it and working in the field because even if in the future I were to leave architecture and do something completely different I would definetly feel as if I have put myself through all this for a greater purpose and it has been worth it. To discover some things about myself and what is significant in the greater scope of things.

    On this note Id like to add that although lately ive been feeling a lot of angst to turn away from institutions complemetely and the moronic youthful impulse to just seek self pity and pout about my apparent search for an life affirming choice, I am trying my best to keep objective, not make assumptions and make myself available and open to people's needs and words relevant to the topic. I don't want to say I hate school because I really don't. I used to be quite a strong desiger and student. Used to because Im not taking any designer courses currently and frankly preparing for this life change in 2 months hasn't given me much of a mind to yet”¦I don't want to say that I don't want to “do” architecture because I do. I guess I am just confused as to wheather UIC has an environment for nurturing my points of view on architecture, learning, practicing and ambitions.

    What makes me sad is what is perceived to me other people's perceptions and the lack of community that Im experiencing although I was enveloped in it before. One tweak of plans, and a series of unfortunate events last year needed that I retrain the way I approach school. I still have the respect for it, I still learn and enjoy it I just needed to change some logistical matters and open some doors relevant to other interests I have. Well what this has seemed to cause at least to me is now this feeling like I have been left out even on the fridge benefits of at least being “that kid so and so whos never in studio or is quiet and reserved away from the “pack””¦ but everyone in architecture school, in graduate school especially has an opinion. And they all happen to be right”¦ The fact of the matter, at least in my isolated case is that, while UIC once seemed more “green” and acadmecially open now in favor of prestige and cohesiveness (yes I can admit to the faults of the previous years too) has sacrificed aid and attention to the kind of student I have become now”¦ part-time/working while working on their masters. And possibly one of those students that might actually want to hear a bit more about other applications of architectural services other than the traditional way”¦ a topic spoken once in a paragraph and then swept into the corner like something dirty. The architecture school itself hasn't seemed much welcoming in that respect but to be fair I don't think ive tried to extend myself to be included”¦ I have gone in search of finding aid and a mentor for helping me figure out what I want to do with applying architecture with my conservation interests.. but it seems that no one hears, and all they focus on is criticizing my past choices”¦specifically that I chose to do this so young and that I chose to go all the way through straight. I did, its been done”¦ that isn't helping.

    So the greatest consequence of all this has been that more than anything else the social outcast of not being in studio, and not belonging to any one year has had the greatest impact on me personally. I feel people, sometimes even professors don't know what to make of me, and their support sometimes seems there and sometimes seems non existent. Im not around enough yet im still there. It feels as ghastly as I imagine it. And its very depressing going to a place and studying something that requires so much communication and yet not being able to communicate that with your peers.

    Second consequence has been that the choices I have made, to slow down at this point right now, sometimes fall prey to roaming feelings of inadequacy. I truly feel my taking it slow, taking this trip to New Zealand to do work, then the trip to Spain to study abroad is worth the one year extension because I feel it will give me time to still look around for places, organizations, people who can be gateways and mentors into exploring options. I don't just want to jump into the grid because Ive worked that, and although Im enjoying it im not yet willing to sacrifice my youth and abilities to that”¦ id rather utilize them to explore my world a little bit more before I settle.

    Ive had people email me asking just what exactly do I mean by providing architectural services to underserved etc. I guess when I think of architectural services I should broaden them to general planning as well. (Going to undergraduate here from 99 instilled that urban social conciousness throught building thing) I like working doing conservation, which supports the environment and smart management and yet I also derive such pleasure from watching pilons being blasted notch by notch into the earth”¦ Id like to have an expertise in building in a smart, globally conscious, environmentally conscious way, and I happen to think doing that sort of work, even on volunteer basis in places still developing may be the only way we can shift some changes in the way things are made to be a bit more eco-friendly. By no means am I a vegetarian or extremist green, I just like the idea of engineering between seeming apposing systems like that”¦ human and nature”¦in a more detailed way then just beneath a veil of sustainability, which incidentally I don't think means accessible at the same time”¦

    At UIC I have found some professors that oddly now in graduate school I'm curious to talk to more. Ironically it's also the professors of less glamour or glitz; by the way they are spoken of by their students and others.. but I think they have something important to say to me personally, I just haven't had enough courage to ask. That is what I am working on and perhaps that is a positive side product of my seemingly confused choices.. im giving myself time here to grow a bit more. Some say it's a safety net, well I just say im 22, I can take it easy now – don't hate J That joke aside”¦ I really hope that despite all the analyzing of my situation and the isolating feeling I receive from my peers and institution that I am attending, I can pull through this and go with the flow of things and allow myself to be open enough to finding out where exactly I need to be post school, how will I apply this degree. I do want to be here, but I really want to ensure that after I leave here I will take everything I have learned at applied it in the way that will fulfill me the best it can”¦ if it means not being part of my peer group, so be it. This isn't a valiant attempt to differcify myself from anyone. I think ive grown out and up of high school 6 years ago.. it is just an effort, even if a bit naïve and young to find the spiritual goals for myself in this field and not just attest to the business side of things. I know I can work corporate Id just rather work it in satisfaction that its more than just something I “do”.

    I may rather surround myself with people who may understand this, then dont.

    • 1 Comment

    • yamani

      without writing an epic...b/c i just did that on my own school blog. i SO "get" where you're coming from...the profession path thing, social outcast thing, the pedgagical questions all of it. i relate to a lot of the issues you raise. i don't have any answers but, just so you know there are others out there that feel like you do...i wanted to raise my hand and say...hi.

      Apr 17, 05 4:33 am  · 

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