An excellent question. Well, I’m still here…in Boston. I did move apartments, and now Smidgen can’t try to attack pigeons on the ledge anymore. Oh, you mean – why have I not updated this blog in oh – 7 and a half months….well, 7 and three quarters? Well, I got busy. Yes, despite being unemployed, I somehow got very very busy. So, it is time for a series of updates and to get back on the blogging bandwagon. It’s not a new year’s resolution, because it’s not the new year, and I hate those things, but it is a handy way of letting you all know what I’ve been up to.

So…the first installment – let’s see. Well, shortly after my last post, I started a little summer program at a certain Ivy League institution in the Boston area. No, not real classes or a degree program of any kind, but a career exploration series for people thinking about architecture, landscape architecture and planning…landscape architecture in my case. Didn’t even know I was considering this stuff? – wow – you are out of touch. Give me a call sometime.

So, I spent about 6 weeks doing what I liked to call adult arts and crafts. Seriously – do you know the difference between cardboard and chipboard? Actually, it was an interesting, and rather intense experience. Basically, you had a seminar in the mornings, and afternoons spent in the studio working on whatever your current project was. And nights also spent in the studio working on whatever your current project was. Well – for some people. The ages ranged from 18 to mid-40s, and as you might imagine, the dedication was somewhat proportional to age. I think the folks who were working jobs they were not thrilled with, or out of work, like myself, were feeling the pressure to decide if this was our life’s calling, while the college-aged folks were more casual about it. It was supposed to mimic a real graduate level studio experience. Only in real-life grad school, you have even more classes and get even less sleep.

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So, what did I learn? Well, I learned that to be a landscape architect, at least one coming out of this institution’s program, you need to have quite an ego. Not only for the critiques that you go through repeatedly for every project, but because you have to eventually ‘sell’ these ideas to a client, and you have to walk in there thinking your project is the most awesome thing ever thought up by any human being on this planet. I think this is why landscape architecture has a very high percentage of practitioners that are in solo practice. They simply can’t have someone else with power over their design. Of course – the client always has that power.

I think I am far too humble and practical for that mindset, though I’m not sure that that way of thinking is promoted and fostered everywhere. For people with a fine arts background, this whole notion of defending your idea to the death was nothing new. But I have a science background for heaven’s sake! So if I’m going to plunk down a big mound of earth in the middle of a field, it better be for a darn good reason. Not just because it is a statement on the industrialization of the natural form by evil corporate gnomes..or something. And i worry about things like ADA accessibility and whether a tree will actually tolerate the water conditions you’re asking it to live in. The philosophy of this program seemed to be that if you have a good design, then all other issues that come up can be accommodated. I just prefer to think about the constraints first…and to be more concrete and practical.

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I don’t think it means that landscape architecture is out of the running for me, but maybe that this particular landscape architecture program is not for me. Unfortunately, this is the only program within an hour’s drive, and the next closest one is also design-oriented, and the next closest one after that doesn’t have a particularly good reputation. So – where does that leave me – I’m not exactly sure. I took the GRE last weekend – just to have all my bases covered, and I kicked some major GRE butt. I beat my target scores on both math and verbal by at least 50 points, so I was super happy with that. I needed a bit of success considering my track record lately. I won’t get my essay scores for another week or so, and I have a hunch those won’t be as fabulous, but the essay scores aren’t the main focus for most schools.

But applying to programs (which remember – actually attending said programs would require a move) also requires a portfolio, which is sadly – currently not in existent and which i would have trouble filling. More on my drawing efforts in the past few months in an upcoming post….plus knitting, sewing, law ruminations, and much much more! I think you’ve had enough info, and I’ve done enough babbling for now.

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