There’s been an uptick today in optimism.
At my desk this morning, I did some math. And I discovered that, master’s degree notwithstanding, I was reading the chart wrong. The chart in question documents my intern hours. The chart in question indicates, in fact, that I have logged substantially more hours than I thought. 2,819 and 3/4 hours remain. Not 3,555.
That’s a substantial difference. The real game changer here, though, is not the number itself. The game changer is that, in 19 and 3/4 hours, I will be exactly halfway through, with the
slogging logging of 5,600 hours. If all proceeds normally, I will hit the halfway point at lunch time on Friday. At which point you will see me drinking during the workday, and dancing on top of a table at Raleigh Times.
Before I signed on to the spartan lifestyle which goes with being an intern architect during a global recession, I did a lot of hot yoga. My favorite teacher had a couple of mantras, both of which stayed with me a lot longer than the ability to touch my forehead to the ground from a standing position. (I miss feeling like a badass.) The first mantra was, “The only way out is through.” Lately I’ve come up with a lot of creative ideas, y’all, about how to get to my next chapter. Very few of them have involved sticking with architecture, because (shh, don’t tell anyone) this industry is not rebounding. And nobody thinks it’s going to, anytime soon. I haven’t been certain that it’s worth jumping through any more hoops for this career. Global recession or otherwise, though, there are things I do love about design. It’s a perfect time for us to be talking about sustainability, and smart urban design, and the future of affordable housing, and multimodal transit centers. And if you are the unfortunate soul trapped beside me at a cocktail party and get me started talking about architecture and culture, and how the things we have built since civilizations gathered and stood themselves upright reflect the essence of what it means to be human, then I just can not be stopped. (I apologize in advance.) Maybe, just maybe, the next series of hoops gets me a little closer to a career in which I get to be passionate about those things all day. And it will be worth it.
The other mantra was, “The way you do anything, is the way you do everything.” And that’s probably mostly true. I’m working on an attitude adjustment. If I do, indeed, go after 2819 3/4 more intern hours, and then prepare, pay for, and sit through seven grueling exams, then I need to commit to making it all worthwhile. “It” refers to both the process, and the product. It may involve some new strategies. It may involve a schedule adjustment, or strategies for maximizing my free time, or figuring out what will motivate me through these next steps when my commitment wavers. I haven’t worked all of that out yet.
Having figured out that I’d almost survived half of interning, I walked to lunch downtown today with my office mates. We were strolling past Nash Square, where the leaves are substantially fallen. The breeze was a good one for a balmy Indian summer day, and stragglers from the branches above were drifting down in swirls around us. I was walking on the park side of the pavement, where the leaves were gathered into clusters, then drifts, then full-on piles. My coworkers were having a serious and adult conversation, as I swished the clusters with my toe, then stomped through the drifts, then kicked the swirls of leaf pile into the air, yelling, “Leaf pile! Leaf pile on the sidewalk! Am I the only one who wants to dive into this leaf pile?”
Impossible, just impossible, to be too serious and contemplative about anything much, when presented with a Carolina blue sky and a giant leaf pile on a city sidewalk. The weather is gorgeous. There’s a massive Christmas tree up on the plaza. Next week’s a short work week, and I get a double Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends. Intern hours are long, but finite. And everything is going to turn out the way it should.