Sunday, July 05, 2009

Week 3: The End

This week I reached my breaking point. After two and a half weeks of enduring the rigours of the Harvard Design School, working up to 17 hour days, and working on weekends. Whenever I walked towards or into the GSD I would feel heavy, anxious and on-edge. In the past three weeks I have broken down in tears three times. Obviously I was having quite an intense visceral reaction to the design process.

I very much appreciate and embrace that process, but I think the pace was just too quick for me. I am a slow, reflective person, I need time to reflect, to process and reapply concepts, I can't be thrown one task after another. Others can, but it just isn't me. Others a really passionate about the process and can sleep 4 hours a night. I've grown to value my downtime and value the fact that a human cannot be on most of the hours in a day.

I can carry an idea through from abstract inception and exploration through to final model making (or at least I am cognizant of the fact that it should be carried through). I appreciate that idea of integrity. I enjoy the process of extracting the idea from a nebulous initial exploratory sketch.

But I had a very strong resistance to the continuous deadlines, the always growing list of new projects... I believe in accomplishing tasks well, but here you have to decide what stays and you usually don't have enough time to finish. I don't want to live in a pressure cooker.

From what I have heard from others, architecture school is very much like the process I am going through -- long hours, a pileup of projects. I am still trying to see whether there is hope in other countries, perhaps a more relaxed process, a more lengthy exploration of ideas before putting them all together into a house (after only three weeks of 'training').

So I quit.

Now I am planning to tour the architectural gems of Boston (which has more architects and architecture students per capita than any other American city), meditate, do a bit more yoga, attend GSD lectures, cook and connect with friends and figure out where life is heading next. New job? New city? Grad school?

A lot of reflection awaits...


Anonymous said...

Dearest Stef .... good on you for respecting your own pace.

You'll find your way.

warm heart to you

The Concrete Commentator said...

nice post. Thank you for sharing that. I too can relate, somewhat. I went to interior design school in LA. I know that interior design is not as intense and demanding as Architecture, but does fall close. I now work for a very busy and intense design firm, and never have time for my yoga, meditation, friends, etc. Sometimes I just think that life is not suppose to be lived like this. I wish our country were more like Europe or Mexico...summers off! Good for you with recognizing and following your path. Everything happens for a reason, and if your actions are brought forth with authenticity you can not fail. It sounds like your retirement of school was an authentic reaction that your mind, body and spirit needed.