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    Sh*t is getting real… and may I add it’s a great thing!

    By John Tubles
    May 29, '12 1:21 AM EST

    …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...


    • Amerikranian

      Great work! It's crazy how much difference a week can make. Any chance we can see what type of portfolio you put together? 

      May 29, 12 3:37 pm  · 

      ha i just saw this linked from the front page on architect.

      i did the ID photo thing the other day too, not the immunization yet. Sounds like the whole school app thing was quite a series of events. 

      Also, I'm your roommate, haha. Funny i stumbled upon this.

      May 29, 12 10:58 pm  · 
      Lian Chikako Chang

      Signed, sealed, delivered, paid, photographed, identified, immunized, lodged, and ready for the GSD! Welcome to your new life of uncomfortability.

      May 30, 12 9:47 am  · 
      John Tubles

      @ryan hahahhaaha... I was thinking twice about using a screen shot of the id thing..coz i realized that my stupid face will be all over the interwebs... But whatevers.. For the immunizations, you can just send a scan of your records and email it to them.. I will forward you their email address... It still hasn't set in yet that GSD and Cambridge is coming up soon...

      @amerikranian i will post my portfolio soon.. I just need to edit a couple of blurbs to make it a clean version (yup like a rap album) safe for all the kids in the interwebs... Hahahaha

      May 30, 12 9:48 am  · 

      get ready to be in debt for a long time...

      May 30, 12 6:40 pm  · 

      It's terrific that your applications were so well received! Congratulations! I wish you the very best at Harvard, and look forward to reading your future postings. 

      Jun 3, 12 3:58 am  · 
      John Tubles

      @monterey yeah i am ready for it.. i know this is will be a great investment for me... if i had a family to support i might think twice about grad school but for now i think this is my best option.. thanks for the concern!

      @sarah please let me know when you are back in town, I want to personally thank you for all your help!

      Jun 11, 12 4:20 am  · 
      Jason Muller


      I believe in your path. My brother wanted to apply to grad school and I thought it would be a great Idea to apply as well. I was excepted to both schools I applied to, USC and Columbia. I live in Southern California with a very strong Alumni network so I'm betting on USC for my Graduate studies in advanced architecture and  a certificate in Real Estate Development. I will bet you that we will never regret going to grad school. 

      Best of Luck,

      Jason Muller 

      Jun 19, 12 11:37 pm  · 

      hey John I am so glad I found your blog and so proud of you (even doe I don't know you). I am preparing to undergo my own application process to Grad schools and I was wondering if you are willing to share ,what was your GRE score?  And like Amerikranian I am looking forward in seeing your portfolio post.  

      Jul 28, 12 10:52 am  · 

      Hey, Congrats on all the success!

      I am interested in why you choose to apply to Delft in the beginning? I am and have considered applying most of the schools you applied to but am really interested in going to schools overseas. Delft is one program I am really considering but dont know much about it. 

      Any information you could share?


      Aug 9, 12 3:12 pm  · 
      John Tubles

      Thank you very much for reading my blog post... i am currently out of town right now spending quality time with family and friends before I leave LA.. so sorry for this late/short reply.

      @lexyy... I have been meaning to upload my portfolio in something like "issuu" but i just haven't done so because I have been so busy... but after thursday I will be in Cambridge so I will try my best to upload it within next week...I will update you once i do... 

      @spacke.. here is the short answer... I have never been to europe and i have always thought that living in the netherlands (culture, architecture, arts and people) would be amazing so thats how i narrowed it down to a country... then when i was looking for schools, I met a Delft alumni when I was in Tokyo, he told me the background of the school which carefully balances the technical side of architecture and its theory.. something that i need to learn... then what ultimately made me decide to apply was their program specializations [] Architecture+Dwelling, The Why Factory and Hybrid Buildings to be exact...  

      i guess this is not really a short answer but if you want me to email both of you guys with a in depth answer... please email me at and I will respond asap... Good luck with the applications.. it is very challenging/draining to put yourself out there to be judge... but we all have to go through with it... thus i wrote this blog post to help inspire people to just take a chance and see..  Good Luck Again with the Applications!

      Aug 11, 12 11:35 am  · 

      Hello John,

      My name is Nawarat from Thailand. Currently, I am going to write an appeal letter of admission at TU Delft. I would like to ask you for your advice.

      The reason for the rejection of  my application for  admission to Urbanism  Programme  at Delft University of Technology  is: You have not met our portfolio requirements as stated on our website.

      I have written my appeal already before I send it out. It would be really appreciated if you can proof and correct my letter. 

      Thank you very much for your time :)  and Sorry for bother you T_T but this is really important to me.

      Feb 9, 16 12:44 pm  · 

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