What does it mean to be an "Architect?"
Seriously, what does it mean? I recently became a licensed architect after many many many painful nights, failed exams, countless hours of studying, stress-filled days, weeks and months... and now that I am FINALLY licensed... what does is mean? Does it mean I can go out and start designing amazing buildings that will win awards and get published in every architecture periodical that exists, or is relevant? Does it mean I can walk into the office and demand higher pay because, well I'm an architect. Does it mean I automatically know all the ins and outs of the building design and construction industry and can therefore go off on my own, start a firm and start designing cool shit...?
Some time ago while I was sitting at a lunchtime meeting with fellow young "architects", or those aspiring "to be", a comment was made by an individual who had recently become licensed... his comment went along the lines of "I woke up the next morning and everything was the same," and it is. It's different, but it's the same. It's hard to say... The largest difference so far has been the free time I have after work now. I no longer have to go home, rush through dinner, attempt to work out or attempt to socialize before calling it an early night, lay on my bed and study until I fall asleep. The pressures of attempting to find time to study are much greater than the studying itself. Having been relieved of that pressure has given me a new freedom, a very chill and lax freedom where I can enjoy myself and my free time for once. It's awesome! For those of you contemplating starting your exams or finishing what you've started I highly recommend you do. There's many out there who will settle and never become licensed, if that's your choice then great for you, but for those who strive for something more I highly recommend getting it out of the way as soon as possible. Over the years I've had many conversations with multiple mentors, friends and colleagues about life and being licensed and they all said the same thing, as life moves forward it only gets more and more difficult. Again, not that it's a bad thing to not be licensed, but there's occasions where being licensed could provide more or better opportunities. I for one was not willing to let life "happen" in a way that would prevent me from being licensed in the future, or at least make it much more difficult to achieve that goal. For now my stamp will live in a hidden folder on a small flash drive tucked into the dark corner of an undisclosed drawer... at least until I get my first real project… I am now licensed to Stamp!