A Journey to Graduation

Throughout the last month of the final semester of my last degree of school EVER, things, or rather, obstacles kept jumping in my way. By the end it became comical, my mom asked if I had been writing it all down...stating that it would make a great motivational book when I became a famous architect. What a typical thing for a proud and sweet mother to say to her oldest daughter...

I replied to her that I didn't even want to become a famous architect...just an architect, who may be able to make special places for people one day, or maybe I said...I just want to graduate!! I then told her, " ya ok, I will write a motivational blog when I am done". I have been avoiding writing this post like the plague for a few reasons... 
1) It reminds me of school, and I need a break
2) I have been busy cleansing the house of clutter
3) I don't really think I am the person to be writing a motivational book/blog ever...

But seeing how I am stuck in bed with my sick stomach still, and watching a movie about a girl who blogs, I decided I would bite the bullet and tell about my journey to graduation. It will hopefully be as painless as possible and I hope might be more funny, than whiny, and maybe a tad motivational.

No need to repeat my journey to that last month...if you missed it, read my blog ha! Hmmmm...how do I start this in a motivational way without sounding like I am listing all the things that went wrong? Well let me start with how I told off a girl (These events might be all out of order). It went a little something like this...

Me: Finally getting to print what I thought was my last drawing at 9 pm (lab closing time)...hoping it wouldn't mess up, after waiting my turn for SIX hours in line in the lab.

Taller, bigger, and younger/less experienced in life girl ;) : Standing behind me tapping her foot, making groining noises, and shaking her head..."How many prints do you have!?"

Me: "Just one..." knowing it was a big one and a little scared at that point

Her: "Oh just one huh!?...It looks big and I need mine to print before tonight!"

Me: hitting my breaking point and snapping as she crowded MY printer. "Well you are just gonna have to calm down and chill out and wait you turn just like I and everyone else in here did! You cannot make it go any faster by complaining"...stepping in between her and my print (this is kind of a big deal for me)

Her: "well I am sorry I am a little annoying right now...I have just had a lot of trouble printing today!" 

Me: "TODAY! Girl, I could write a book with all the shit (pardon my language) that has happened to me before this print...go pay $250 at Kinkos like I had to for my first final presentation...yes I have had to do TWO of these things!"

Her: backed off and became my friend...then snickered in the background when my print stopped with 3 inches left until it was finished.

Oh man...Try again tomorrow...

I would say my challenges began sometime when my brand new computer, that I purchased last semester because my other one crashed with only a few weeks until my final, had its graphic card crash with only two weeks until our final presentation. 

I laughed. I cried. I took it straight to best buy which sent it to the manufacturer. 
"You will get it back in two weeks"...oh thanks so much! Thank goodness we had my computer that crashed the semester before fixed, because it was able to redeem itself and get me through the semester. 

Lesson 1 of this blog: Always backup onto an external hard drive or online storage system. I love my Carbonite!

Lesson 2: Test print A LOT...I became test print queen

Yes, I test printed, but for some reason all colors...red,blue,gray,etc., on the school printer were green! I yelled..."GRREENNN!!! I don't have time to fix all of this when the computer looks normal!" There was no laughter...just tears with a day and a half left!

Lesson 3: Have a great support system for when times are tough.

Matt came in like my superman and took me to Kinko's...it cost us more than paper should ever cost, but I got my boards printed (after a couple mistakes there) by the morning of the presentation.

While we were waiting for Kinko's, he took me to Jamba Juice for a break and a smoothie. The two minutes we were in there my car was hit while a person was trying to park, then they pulled out and drove off. While there were TONS of people outside and a few got the license plate number, they were all wrong.
I laughed by that point. I think Matt cried a little...no I kid, but he did wish death upon those people (so watch out whoever you are!) He couldn't understand why I wasn't mad...I guess when life gets to that point, all you can do is laugh! This was all on two weeks STRAIGHT of working on stuff non-stop and no sleep the night before.

I was done...for a day, but I vowed that for the next (and final) turn-in two weeks later there will be no more weekends spent on this project. I went to the festival in Lafayette one weekend and the river in San Antonio the next where I made lasting memories with some of my classmates. I spent the weekdays working on my stuff, and test printed, test printed, test printed! Finally after everything and a few more sleepless nights, I finished!

I graduated Friday, May 13th (then really graduated that following Monday when I found out my high-rise structures grade...A!), and I also got one of the six Graduate Design Awards for my project (the blog below)...a HUGE surprise! It was a blind, anonymous competition judged by Dan Wood from Work AC, New York and professor at Princeton University, Rick Phillips from Frederick Phillips & Associates, Chicago and professor at IIT, and Mark Schatz from MA Architecture Studio, Houston and the AIA Ben Brewer Young Architect for 2011. Best of all I have a huge group of friends that I would have never known before coming to this school!

 My Master's Hood
 The view up in our college atrium
 Our Atrium with confetti falling

 An excellent group of people and designers, our Graduate Class (minus Cynthia, Dustin, and a few others)

 Our special College Graduation, with the Dean

  My Design Award, given to me by the dean as well

 With my boards and models

So now I am done...and although I have been sick with a stomach virus and rash since Monday (I would say these are my last obstacles since they most likely happened because of lack of sleep/low immune system), I am writing this with a great since of calm and a smile, knowing that I am now ready to take the next big steps in my life. Just when I swore it would never end, it did. :)

Oh, and if that is not motivational, I will leave you with this!

Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence. ~ Helen Keller
Cheers!
Nikki