My last year of school starts in just over a week and I feel more ready for it than I have at the beginning of the last two years. This summer feels like it was a really important one for me, for a lot of reasons. The drive out to California and back, when I was largely alone for the whole trip, allowed me to have valuable time to think about the kind of person I am, the kind I’d like to be, and how my life is going right now. It allowed for a lot of time of self-reflection and meditation, and I feel like through those times of silence and the road I was able to mature and become more aware of myself.
Being out in California was a continuation on that theme. I was able to contrast my days, mostly consisting of being by myself and planning out my own life day-to-day, with my nights and weekends when I would be around other people, learning a lot about what it means to be around people socially. For most of my life I’ve never been someone who is entirely comfortable in very social situations; I was never able to feel like myself at clubs or large groups of people I didn’t know, and I didn’t spend a lot of time with people who forced me into those kinds of situations. But being with my sister, who is like me in every way except she’s a serious extrovert, caused me to have to learn to deal with those situations and become comfortable in them. I had to learn how to function better socially, which also allowed for a great number of times I had the opportunity to learn who I am and who I can and cannot be. I feel like as I’ve grown older and got out into the world outside of sheltered Christian circles, I’ve been learning these things along the way, but the time I spent in Los Angeles increased and solidified it all.
The two weeks in Vermont were a time of learning in a different way. My architecture in school so far has been, admittedly, pretty amateur. I’m generally fairly happy with what I come up with, but I know it’s lacking detail and depth. The thought I put into the projects, while deep and dealing with larger ideas than just the program we’re given, largely stays on the surface as far as architectural depth goes. What I try to have in conceptual and philosophical depth in my work I lack in design depth and detail, and I know that. I wrote about this a month or two ago, but I was never able to feel like I could reach that kind of depth with my studio projects; I never knew why, just that for some reason it seemed out of reach. I would see the work of some of my classmates and be jealous that their work was so mature, so real, and seemed so material. Mine always hovered at the level of “you’ve got good ideas but they don’t translate,” and while I was pleased with the thought I put into my work, and generally okay with the result, I always knew that something was lacking and it hurt me that I couldn’t reach what I knew was outside my grasp. In my life I’ve largely been able to identify a problem or something I was lacking, and figure out how to correct it. But with my school work I couldn’t. I knew what I needed to put into my work but couldn’t figure out how, or even why I couldn’t figure out how.
But after Vermont I feel like I’m ready to begin school and bring a new maturity and depth to my work. I feel like there is architectural complexity and beauty in my head waiting to be let out. The key is going to be finding out how to let it out, but I think I can. The work I did in Vermont taught me things I needed to learn about drawing and model-making, about construction, and about what the difference is between a school project and a real one. While all my work so far has been school projects, with all the shallowness and non-realism that comes with that, I feel like I am much closer to knowing how to do real architectural work, and how to make a school project feel like it could be a real one. The things I did and saw in Vermont taught me a great deal, I think.
Or maybe this is all a product of sitting out on my back porch on a pretty nice night. Maybe nothing is going to change once I actually get started on the semester. But I’m optimistic.
Thanks for reading this blog.