Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. –Ancient Chinese Proverb-
This past weekend, AIA Denver hosted the first 2 in a series of 8 classes for those studying to pass their AREs. As the instructor for both of these classes, I was elated with the number of those that attended. Split between a strategy session, and a session that was specific to the Site Planning and Design portion of the exam, I worked with over 60 people this weekend. This is an incredible showing of interest, and it speaks well to the determination of our Colorado Emerging Professionals.
As a relatively recently licensed architect (Dec. 2010), I remember the anxiety that came with the start of the process. More importantly, I remember the joy came with the last pass letter that was delivered to the mailbox. As someone who stumbled blindly and unguided through the experience, I have developed a passion for helping others do it in such a way that doesn’t cause quite so much brain damage. I love being able to share from experience, and I realized long ago that it isn’t always necessary to reinvent the wheel. Being strategic about HOW you study, WHAT you study, and WHEN you study for it goes a long way toward making an already stressful series of exams that much more manageable.
Back in sixth grade, I had a science teacher who loved to say “Let the test help you take the test.” Her theory was that there was often information in one question that might lead to an answer for another. Turning that statement on its head a bit, I find it helpful to look to those people that have experience with a specific situation, and learn all I can from them. More often than not, I am more successful in my own efforts having enlisted the advice of others. Even though it has been a few years since I have taken my exams, I remember what it felt like to sit in front of a mountain of books; wondering where I was going to start and how I was ever going to retain all that I needed to take into the test center. For those of you that are at the beginning of the process, learning from experience like this is solid gold.
To those of you who have made the commitment to be licensed in 2013, good for you! Whether you are on the 6 month plan, the 12 month plan, or the “I’ll get them done when my two year old isn’t two anymore” plan, I applaud your goal. I encourage you to reach out to those of us that have been through the process; most of us will be more that happy to help. My advice is to continue to plan your work and work your plan. Cumbersome drawing programs will become easier and graphic solutions and strategies will become almost second nature. Ride the “I feel overwhelmed” wave as long as you can. I promise you that it only gets easier after you start. And it never hurts to have a few of those pass letters in your back packet either. Think of it like the back of a cereal box toy collection when you were a kid…Collect all 7!