A coworker of mine got notification last week that he passed all 7 sections of the ARE. As excited as I was for him to have completed this extensive process I couldn’t help but be just a little jealous. Okay, maybe I was a little more than a little jealous! Or was I? Jealous might not be the right word for what I was feeling. Envious might be a better word. I was envious that he had finally accomplished something that I’ve been working towards for years. And I mean years.
My dream of becoming an architect started well before I knew what an architect really was. At the young age of 7 I began designing and drawing full-out architectural plans (I think you can call them that) of my dream house, my dream elementary school, my dream tree house and backyard fort. Everything at the age of 7 was a dream for me. I loved being able to create something for myself that didn’t exist in my world. I guess it’s that love and passion for creation that has brought me here, 20 years later, still chasing that dream.
Today, I’m standing on the doorsteps of accomplishing this dream that I have been chasing my entire life. I’ve completed my professional architectural degree. I’ve worked in the profession as an intern for a significant amount of time. My IDP hours are nearly complete, thanks to the 18 months delay “between jobs” I still have a few more hours to log. And my NCARB paperwork has been signed and delivered. I have nothing else standing between me and the final step. All I need to do is open that door and walk through. Only 7 4-to-6 hour long tests stand in between me and my dream. What a (insert adjective here) feeling.
It’s been a scary door for me to open and maybe you’ve felt the same for several reasons of your own. I’ve had the Ballast book sitting on my desk for weeks now and I have yet to open it. I keep telling myself, “next week I’ll start studying.” Several “next weeks” have gone by and I have yet to crack open that book. I think what my main hesitation has been is that, once that door is open, once I take those first steps, I’m taking a step into the unknown. I’ve never let myself look beyond getting licensed. So what happens when I’m done. When I get my notice via email saying that I have successfully completed all 7 sections of the ARE? What’s my next step? Where does the next door lead? What else is there to chase? The truth is, at least for me, there will always be something just beyond the horizon for me to chase. I just don’t know what it is at the moment. Right now, I’m running the last leg of the race. At the finish line is a rubber stamp, professional freedom, and a piece of paper that says “Heather Ludwig Greenfield, Architect”.