Sunday, December 20, 2009

Architect of My Destruction

As the semester draws to a close and I see all the studio kids leave the architecture building, I am disgusted by their camaraderie and sense of accomplishment. Mostly because I used to be one of them, wide-eyed and hopeful for my future in the hallowed profession. But sadly, I left a year into the program and just one month into studio. And naturally, I am bitter now.

I miss studio. The sense of closeness among the fifty or so students. (Well, everyone else was close. I was somewhat of a leper). I miss falling asleep on my studio desk, wrapping myself in sheets upon sheets of trace paper, and scowling at anybody who dared to come near me. I miss the lofty arrogance I used to possess over my friends in other majors because I was studying to create something tangible and beautiful and they were studying rat brains or something. I miss my studio critic, who was sweet and looked a little bit like Taylor Swift.

But more than I miss what was, I miss what could have been. Right before I left, Taylor Swift said to me, "I don't want you to leave something I think you would be really good at." It kind of pissed me off that she said that instead of, "You are out, auf wiedersehen," because now I can't help but imagine what would have been if I stayed. Would I have survived the first semester and done well for myself? Would I have become the next great architect? Perhaps design a Real World house or bathrooms for Oprah.

At the time that I left, I found the studio environment to be somewhat toxic. I thought that everyone was strange, the girls in my section were all lesbians in club rugby, and it was ridiculous that people enjoyed staying in the building overnight and skipping meals just to get their projects done. Maybe through time I would've seen my peers as interesting and eclectic. And maybe through time I would have recognized studio as a semester long slumber party / extremely effective diet. And maybe, just maybe, after a long time I would grow to like lesbians. But I didn't feel like I had that time, so I left.

But mostly, it was about the work, and I can't help but wonder if I left just because things got hard. I am now majoring in finance and accounting, which is easy. While I find it somewhat intellectually stimulating and I am definitely having more fun in college, I don't feel like I'm accomplishing anything worthwhile. I feel soulless, and the spreadsheets don't help. At the same time, maybe the only reason I want to go back is to have that close group of friends, feel better than everyone else, and be around gay and trendy people all the time. All bad reasons.

I guess I'm just at a place where I still can't tell if I've made the right decision. Maybe I shouldn't have gotten involved with architecture in the first place. Now I am stuck with all this knowledge about line weights, circulation, and rococo, but not enough experience for it to be useful in any way except for having a little more insight than others when watching HGTV.

And I suppose this all goes back to the common theme in my life of not knowing who I am or what I want to be. Other than not gay and not jobless.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like some honest introspection to me. And, in my book, that's a good thing. So, you're evolving. I wish you the best on your journey.

Aek said...

I didn't know you changed majors (again?). My physician mentor said 2 things to me with regards to choosing the right path:

1. Do what you love.
2. Be good at doing it.

If you don't meet both criteria, chances are you might end up resenting your job/career at some point in the future.

Anonymous said...

College is full of doubt and change and growth. It's good to pursue what you love, and fight for what you want. At the same time, it's important to realize that nothing you really want is ever going to be easy to obtain, and that being the best at what you pursue will be filled with hard work, some dread, some doubt and some difficulty.

Anna said...

You're still young, still trying to figure out your identity. Give it some time.

The Illustrious D said...

Just to play devil's advocate, it's very easy to romanticize lives and possibilities that we leave behind. Maybe you would have found a professional and personal home in architecture. Maybe you would have grown to hate it even more than you'd begun to. Maybe you would have gotten hit by a bus just as you finished your final project, your breath leaving as you exhaled your final word: rococo...

Point is you left for good reasons to do something that makes you less the crazy. If this feeling of nostalgia is more than fleeting, you can always go back later.

Hope the peace comes.

Mike said...

finance and account are okay, but wait until stats. now that's fun.

Straight guy from NYC said...

Shouldn't the last sentence be "gay and not jobless" instead of "not gay and not jobless"?

* * *

From my point of view, no profession is good enough for a creative soul. You will end up expanding to other fields no matter what you stick with.

Not to confuse you even more, but have you ever thought of becoming a writer?

PYB said...

Never look back--that's always been my motto... :) Just be the best at what you do, and everything will fall into place.

RocketPopp said...

well, I majored in architecture and I've been out of a job for 6 months. Maybe that financing thing isn't too bad ;-) Plus, I hated studio - those trendy people liked to steal your design ideas - I did all my projects at home.

abristolnovella said...

Studio isn't all its cracked up to be. At least now you have a life that doesn't involved anaylising just about every brick, endlessly caressing steel banisters and weeding into any conversation the fact that your degree will take seven years

Stephen said...

... my degree didn't take seven years... oh wait, I got that wrong.

It may be that you'd be unhappy no matter what program you ended up in.