Recently I had a minor panic attack when NCARB announced that they were changing their IDP requirements by eliminating all of the elective hours.
I’ll break this down quickly in case anyone actually cares to understand my distress. NCARB (National Council of Architectural Registration Boards) is the organization that defines how to become a licensed architect. IDP (Intern Development Program) is what I have to go through in order to be qualified to get licensed. Up until this point in time I needed 5,600 hours of working in the field where 3,760 of them are under the wing of a licensed professional doing tasks specifically defined by the organization, and the rest are “elective” meaning still relevant but not as specific requirements under a licensed professional.
The organization just announced that this summer, 2015, they are removing all of the elective hours from their requirements. Most young architects should see this and sigh in relief – these hours were unnecessary to begin with! That’s how I saw them too until I took a position this summer doing work that would have been counted as these elective hours.
What do I do? I stop freaking out and talk to my awesome professor Demetrios. He has all the answers.
You know what else is awesome? THESE HOUSES:
I’m so pumped to be working at Method Homes this summer! All of these projects they work with an architect to produce. So Pacific Northwest. SO GREAT.
When I was talking to Demetrios, I asked him about his experience and insight towards grad school for architecture students. I know I want to get my Masters so that I can teach at a collegiate level, but I didn’t know if I should go right after my undergrad and get it out of the way, or take some time off before getting it.
Let’s get something straight; I trust basically every word this man says. We are eerily similar in so many personality and intellectual levels that I know whatever his opinions are I feel like I would be saying the same thing years from now. So when he told me to “definitely wait, it’s a mistake to go right after undergrad” my mind was made.
The thing about architecture grad school is that it’s short. It would only take a year to get a post-professional degree (Master of Science in Architecture). But, after 5 intensive years another year isn’t a beginning, it’s just extending the end. Education in our field is so draining that apparently students who go directly to grad school are just burnt out. It’s another year of senioritis. And why would you want to burn that year up? Just to have a piece of paper with some fancy words on it? (Most people tbh.) One good point was not just that fact that you, the student is exhausted, but the professor realizes this -and in the words of a professor himself, they “think you’re an idiot” for doing it.
It makes sense to take a year or two. Now I'm actually thinking of waiting until I get licensed and getting all those requirements out of the way before going back. At that point in a career you've not only hit a point where you understand the working environment and what the profession requires of you, but you have had the time to discover where your own interests lie. Going back to school at that point isn’t about learning how to design, but about how to develop a goal that drives the way you approach the field and how you use that in years to come.
While this (gestures to the content above) was considered in an architectural framework, I don’t see why it can’t be applied universally (unless you are doing research or academia – that’s a whole other can of worms.) So this is me saying, I’m going to put off grad school. I’m going to work, and understand how the world of architecture really works, and how I see myself interacting with it in a way I love. When I've reached that I can go back, get my Masters, and really develop the aspects of the profession I’ve become passionate about.