Recently I have found the thought of working on my thesis so exceptionally overwhelming that I’ve barely touched it. Any of it. I have been unmotivated, grumpy and just plain stressed. For the past couple of weeks I have been trying to pinpoint why all of a sudden I have lost my drive. I am genuinely passionate about my work; I have been in control every step of the way and I’m doing what I love, so it’s where I’m meant to be. So, why am I struggling to do something that I love?
This is my final year of study and this is the time of year when I should start to be proactive about finding a job. Studying a Masters of Architecture leads to a career as an architect. The problem I have, and this is big, is that I don’t want to be an architect. I’ve had this realisation before, and at that time I left school and decided I was never, ever going to come back. Yet my passion for architecture, writing and designing returned me to study.
I am a spatial designer, I get three dimensional space. I love architecture, I love well designed buildings. I like reading about architecture, writing about architecture and studying architecture. It would be so much easier if I just woke up one day wanting to be an architect, but it just isn’t for me. The thought of sitting behind a computer in an office working on digital models and architectural drawings makes me feel all sorts of uncomfortable. I like the stage leading up to that part. The “big ideas” stage. The part where you build models and draw plans and study other buildings to help you along the way. The design process is my thing. But if I entered the profession I’d be waiting YEARS before I’d even get to touch that stage. And I am not a patient person.
I’ve been battling this past couple of weeks trying to decide why I’m even here doing my Masters when I don’t want to be an architect. And then this morning I decided to ask for some guidance from my supervisor, because, guess what, she went through the EXACT same realisation as me at a similar time during her studies. And she’s an incredible academic who is now our head of school. #rolemodel
We chatted about some exciting options for my future career. Because, architecture is not all about the architects. It is a very broad profession with the fringes dedicated to research, writing and exhibition. We came up with a couple of ways forward. And they all involve leaving little old New Zealand, which I’m definitely excited about. Got the travel bug bad.
The mini option is to take next year and tutor full time while doing my own practice based research and exhibit my work. It’s not long term option, but it would build up my CV and my portfolio.
Option one is to become a design lecturer. I’d need to keep my foot in both the professional world and the academic world, which would mean joining a larger scale firm that has a research department and continuing with my studies to get my PhD while teaching. I’d need to do my PhD overseas though, because New Zealand is just too small. I hear Melbourne calling…
My second option is to enter the world of curatorship, which I know little to nothing about, but I know it would mean I’d be able to continue my practice based research and put together exhibitions which definitely sounds like my thing.
The third option is to enter journalism and publishing. I love architecture, I love writing, put them together and hey, I could WRITE about architecture. I know. Smart. In all seriousness I am really enthusiastic about this idea, because I’d get to experience contemporary architecture then write about it, chat with architects, keep up with my theoretical research and I’d get to go to London. YES.
I am so excited because my world has just been expanded, I’m no longer dreading finishing this year, I’m actually so enthusiastic. After discussing my career I waltzed into the workshop, built myself a timber framed wall and now I’m happy, fulfilled tired instead of OMGWHATAMIDOINGWITHMYLIFE tired. The difference a conversation can make.
There must be so many people at this stage of their lives wondering what to do next. My advice is to do the best that you can with what you are doing now and start to research options. Talk to someone you admire who’s a little older and wiser and be open about the possibility of change. Then get cracking developing your skills to help you find your path. You can do it!