Good morning, afternoon or evening ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. I know what you are thinking. “What the hell happened on that day at high school after I saw the man in the hallway?!” Unfortunately, you will have to wait another two weeks for the continuation of the story. This week I want to take a step back and talk about something a bit more serious that’s been on my mind for a long while now.
Throughout the career of an architecture student, there are many qualities that one should try to maintain to help benefit them throughout school. Two of the most important qualities in my opinion are dedication and motivation. Dictionary.com states that dedication [or the singular form dedicate] is “to devote wholly and earnestly, as to some person or purpose.” Dictionary.com also states that motivation [or the singular form motive] is “something that causes a person to act in a certain way, do a certain thing, etc.; incentive.” Both of these very important qualities that I try to strive for have been dwindling over the past year or so.
When I joined the architecture program back in the fall of 2010 I quickly started to realize how much work that it was going to take and how much time I would have to dedicate to it to complete the tasks at hand and to the quality that I expected of myself. I am quite the perfectionist in my own way and I strive to meet that expectation and excel past it with each project I worked on during my first couple of years. This dedication brought both good and bad things for my lifestyle and I had to learn to adapt to these changes and accept the consequences that they may bring. As I continued my career through architecture school, my motivation and dedication started to change as the years went on. I started to notice myself not wanting to work as much and finding myself wanting to do other things instead of work on what I believed [and still do] to be my passion in life.
Fall semester of senior year is what I believed to be the beginning of when my dedication to my school work started to fall off. As my schoolwork may have started to dwindle with quality and dedication, the creation of my portfolio for graduate school took full force and even that I struggled with. Things changed though once the fall semester had ended and the portfolio/application process for graduate school was finally over. The dedication for my studio project returned in the spring semester and I once again began to create the quality of work that I expected of myself.
Unfortunately, as much as I wanted this to be sustained over the course of my graduate career, things once again took a turn. The first summer of graduate school I battled with myself to create and develop a project that I was proud of and that could sustain my dedication over the 8 week course. At the end of the semester I found myself rethinking my decision to go into graduate school right after finishing my undergraduate career.
Even today in the second semester of my graduate career I find myself contemplating if graduate school was really the right decision for myself. As much as I have a passion for architecture and the work that goes into it, I can’t help to constantly have a thought in the back of my mind saying “Are you really happy right now with what you are doing every day?” I hate this feeling. I hate going into studio each day and having to force myself to work on something when I don’t have a desire to do it. I find myself sitting in there, struggling to work and keep my mind focused on what needs to be done for the classes I am partaking in and eventually decide to just go back to my apartment and put it off to the next day. Most of the time though, putting it off to the next day turns into the next, next day or next week and it just makes things more stressful for myself and for anyone else affected by my lack of motivation and dedication. This is also the first year of architecture school that I am currently working. The work I do is for a professor on campus and his work has helped to keep me motivated and help keep the ‘flame of passion’ so-to-speak for architecture alive but even this I have struggled with and its becoming more and more of an issue each week that passes by.
People have told me that “You’re just burnt out,” and “Don’t worry, it will get better in time,” and I tell them I hope that they are right when in the back of my mind my reoccurring thoughts that I keep to myself are the complete opposite. I hope that I am just burnt out and that my dedication and motivation will return soon and preferably before I start my thesis project in the spring. Whatever it is, I need it to change, and I need it to change fast. If this keeps up, I’m worried to see what the next semester may bring or more importantly may not bring if I can’t retain what I know I am capable of when I have those two important qualities again in my architectural studies – dedication & motivation.