Sunday, May 22, 2016

Been A While, eh?

"How's life?" That will never spark a good conversation between yourself and architecture students, believe me, because "what is life anyway?" We literally have no life outside studio unless you have a very very good time management in which I doubt many have. Anyway, life has changed by sooooo much! Being accepted to the faculty of architecture was like "HOLY COW! THANK GOD!" Because it is not easy. Not to show off, but I was one of the ten international students got admitted into the faculty, plus on my first try! Yeah, only 10 spots were open for international students like me (quite unfair eh? because the remaining 90+ spots are prioritized for the Canadian residents). And we have more than five-hundred applicants applying to the faculty annually which makes entering the faculty even more highly competitive. Anyway, then, it changed when the school of architecture started.

Brutal! Toxic! CRAP! That's basically my and many other's studio's life. I am glad to say that I am alive after eight months of hell, passing with flying colours (Yes, I am bragging here!). Those eight months, omg, I can't describe it! Assignments, drawings, models, and deadlines every single freaking day. I have heard enough of "it's terrible", "redo it", "change your concept", basically things that you never want to hear for your project. And worse, working in a fking basement! Are you kidding? It is simply just undescribable but I managed to do well in the courses which is kinda a nice payoff from all my hard work and for all my time that I have put into.

Yes, it was rough. Honestly. the past two terms were savagely brutal for me. However, I consider myself lucky for those terms. Yes! I know you think I am crazy but I am really thankful for those experiences (no sarcasm intended). For my first term, I worked with one of the best professor at school who had years of experiences in the architect's world and apparently was one of the architects and engineers who designed the tallest building in the world, Burj Khalifa! It's freaking Burj Khalifa people! And he has worked in so many skyscrapers projects globally. Best thing of all, he had asked me to take a PhD with him! umm, I haven't thought of getting a PhD but I will personally go to you Dr. if I am to get one. Thank you very much for your offer Dr.! I am absolutely delighted to hear that from you.

Second term was with a talented licensed landscape architect who has more than 5 years of experiences in Australia, US and Canada. Oh! She is a graduate of both undergraduate and master studies in Landscape architecture at the University of Manitoba where I am studying. I don't want to compare professors because teaching styles differ from one to another but she is pretty good. Pretty insightful, critical and analytical with students' projects and knowledgeable too. I have learned quite much from her (especially drafting techniques which I hate). Yes, she is also as demanding as my first term professor!

And yes, my life completely changed! Forget about healthy sleep cycle, because who dares sleep when deadlines are your alarm clock? I mean look at those super tight schedules and deadlines we have. How the freak am I gonna sleep through all the projects? Forget about breakfast because who dares eat when studio is starting in 1 hour and you are still building your model? Forget about life because who dares have fun when things are not done? It is just, sad. Especially when you work with two experienced and knowledgeable yet highly demanding professors! I slept for only 3-4 hours a day, most of the time none - no sleep at all. Yes, in a week I need to pull 3-4 allnighters (mostly days before studio: Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays) to catch up with studio and other courses (but mostly studio).

Come to think of the process of getting everything done, it is brutally mentally and psychologically rough, honestly. Yes, I broke down once in each term. First term and first studio I still remembered I was sitting with a group of strangers who later become good and close friends of mine, eyes staring at each other's then smiled, some looked away. Then, we were given a list - a to-do list that 'big' and due next two days. Then Dr. left. We stared at each other, this time shaking heads, hinting "I feel you". I literally had no idea and all were lost (one or two perhaps knew what they were gonna do) but yes, I felt completely destroyed. We had a freaking presentation as well due the same day. I was like, "WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO?"

Oh! a bit insight of my first project: it is about body and space. To simplify it, it's about how you feel space, how bodies negotiate with other body(-ies) and space, how presence of bodies in space can be felt and traced, okay I will stop here before it gets too confusing. And from the research we gathered, we are to create a drawing apparatus that is able to trace presence of bodies in space, negotiation between bodies and bodies and/or space.

A week of research and I still did not understand what I was doing (now I know how important and fun the first project actually is) and the thought of quitting my chosen program crossed through my mind. Yes! not gonna lie, this happened. But nope! It was just a dark thought that time. But I managed to survive the first project and get a freaking A in hand because the crit just went so surprisingly well for my team and Dr. had a liking to our project so much.

Second term, I broke down once as well. Yes another studio break down. Making it short, great concept, great research, great material exploration but fail execution. PRODUCT FAILED! It was just soooo bad that I don't want to talk about it. Let's not talk about it.

anyway, I said I am thankful for all these. Yes, studio life may not have been great but this has taught me so many, many, many lessons. One most important lesson quoted from my professor is: Never be satisfied with what I have designed! Design never completely stops. There are many I can still do, add or modify to make it even better not only aesthetically but also performance wise, functional reason and ergonomics and human well-being factor. But be proud of my design because it is my design! Yes it was seldom a good time for me in studio but after all were done and now looking back at what I have been through and myself now, I think I am so much better a designer today.

But of course, I have to suffer the consequences. Not that I don't like it, I absolutely loath it! My dark circles were getting darker and bigger each day! Not only that, I got sick so often now, flu and cough especially because my lungs are not strong since I was born. But the worst part is lying. Yes, I have to lie. I was, well not always, an honest child to my parents. I know how concern my parents are for my health and future. But I simply just cannot tell the truth - saying that I do not sleep for 3-4 days in a week, bla bla. Because, it's just because. It is pretty sad but everytime we skyped, I would just say, "I slept for 7 hours ma, don't worry I know how to take care of myself." After all, I am already very old enough to know my limit myself better than anyone else.

But anw, let's stop this depressing topic. I am applying for Landscape + Urbanism stream! Yes! I am also surprised at myself, others are too, even Dr. is shocked when I tell him that I am applying for Landscape. Now I am just waiting for the decision but I am absolutely 99.9% sure that I will get in. Yes it is less competitive than the Architecture stream but that's not the reason at all. I feel like with Landscape and Urbanism, it is more practical - more application in the world today, I mean look around you and you will see it for yourself how poorly design are the environment. And also, I am more of a research person meaning I always do thorough research about a project I am taking before I proceed to intervention and design. But that's also not really it as well. All simply is because I want two different majors. And anyway, I can only be a licensed architect with a master in hand. so I have set my mind on pursuing Environmental Design focusing on Landscape and Urbanism for my bachelor's degree and a Master in Architecture, and perhaps a PhD with Dr.(?)

But yeah, I am on vacation right now. SUMMER BREAK! which is one main reason for me to update my blog for so many unexcused absences. Making it up, I am posting quite a long one. It reminds me of writing a research paper which I am super not fond of because I just don't like writing. Let's end our post here today. and HAVE A GREAT SUMMER BREAK PEOPLE!

OH! this is with my first term people! We call ourselves TeamAraji.
And it gets crazier...
and weirder.


1 comment:

  1. Hey, Kenneth! Remember your student Howen from IEC? I dont want to address you as a "Sir" because that would be pretty awkward for me lol. I have tons of questions to ask you especially about League of Legends! So... mind giving me your email or any other ways i can possibly contact you personally?