In case you hadn’t noticed, I haven’t posted here for several months now. I would like to say it’s because I’ve been busy trying to finish my Master of Architecture, but in truth, it’s because I felt guilty about writing blog posts when I should have been trying to finish my Master of Architecture.
But that’s all done now. Yes, I’ve finally finished uni. Again. In all, I’ve spent 12 years floating around uni campuses as a student now, and I’m pretty sure I’m done. I’m one of the very lucky grads who has a job to go to, and I’ll be working at Hassell for at least as long as they’ll have me.
It’s been an incredibly long journey. A very enjoyable one for the most part, but not an easy one. On one hand, being the old guy in the class has had its advantages. Coming at study the second time around is a lot easier because you know how to make it work. I tried not to be the annoying mature-ager, and instead I think I ended up being the disappointing mature-ager, the guy that probably should have and could have done better.
But I made some choices along the way, especially this year, that some of the time I could have invested in uni, I chose to spend on other things that were as important if not more so. While I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t do my best work this year, I have no lasting regrets about the way I used my time.
I’m very glad I made the decision to switch careers. I’m not blind to the fact that I’ve sacrificed job security and reliable and good income to do this, but I’m much happier now than I was 6 years ago, and that’s really what I was hoping for.
There are so many people I want to thank. First and foremost, my thanks to my wife Rebecca who really is the one person who enabled this to happen. It’s meant a lot of sacrifice on her part. There can’t be that many wives who would be comfortable with their husbands giving up what I’ve given up to embark on what could have been a futile pursuit. But Bec has been more than understanding; she’s been supportive, encouraging, and understanding. She took on the role of primary earner, and did so graciously, even though it meant a lot of personal sacrifice for her. No one has been happier for my successes than she has been, though nothing measures up to the excitement that she now feels on my return to work.
My mum and my sister have also been amazing, as have Bec’s parents. Knowing the amount of financial pressure that we’ve been under these last few years, they’ve gone out of their way to help us in many different ways. Their generosity with time and money is something we would have struggled without, and I am forever indebted to them.
My friends have been amazing, and I’ve received financial, emotional, and nutritional support from many of them. Thanks guys for your understanding of my ongoing absence from social interaction, and I’m hoping that I can now resume a more normal relationship with you guys. You know who you are, so I’m not going to mention any names.
I’ve been working at Hassell here in Adelaide for the 18 months or so, and I want to thank everyone there too. It’s a great culture to be a part of, and I’ve appreciated not only the chance to actually work, but to share in the great work that you do, and to have your input and encouragement and advice on the uni work I’ve been doing. It’s been amazing, and I look forward to it continuing. Thanks particularly to the crew that have had to take me under their wings a bit: Dave Bickmore, Mac Young, Ed Mitchell, Yan Yan Ho, Kate Beerworth, Alex Sawicki, Bisi Ashiru, Liam Short, and of course Chris Watkins. It’s been wonderful to have some real mentoring and support in the workplace.
And of course there’s my school itself. The School of Architecture at the University of South Australia has been wonderful. I want to thanks all of the staff who run what are fantastic undergrad and grad programs, and all of whom have had a huge impact on me: Matt Davis, Rachel Hurst, Sean Pickersgill, Thomas Mical, John Schenck, Stephen Ward, Jasmine Palmer, Angelique Edmonds, David Morris, Damian Madigan, and Katica Pedesic. In addition, I’m grateful to the many visiting staff whose contribution to our education is invaluable: Henry Keene, Chris Watkins, Alex Hall, Greg Hardie, Esther Chew, Ebony James Chow, Ana Sala, and a host more.
My uni peers have, for the most part, been amazing. As friends, they’ve been wonderful. I was a little apprehensive at first as to how well they might accept an old Gen-Xer, but to their credit, the Gen-Y’s took me in as one of their own. I have no doubt that I annoyed them a great deal from time to time (often deliberately) but hey, they annoyed me too. There’s some great people in this class of 2012, people who are great thinkers, designers, and workers. If you ever want to employ someone from this class, I’m happy to point you in the right direction. There are of course those who could do with a few more years in the cellar, but I’m sure they’ll get there too.
And I couldn’t have done it all without the love and friendship of my wider circle of friends. I haven’t been around much for them of late, but there’s always those few that have been there for me, and whose encouragement, advice, pride, and perspective have pushed me along. James, Kato, Ben, Laura, Wilko, Nathan, Stu, and the inimitable Yat to name but a few, you guys are amazing.
In truth, finishing uni has been a little anti-climactic. I had hoped for waves of relief, or some level of excitement at finishing, but it hasn’t been like that. Or maybe it just hasn’t hit me yet. But I am enjoying the fact that I can be at home bumming around or being domestic without feeling guilty. THAT is something I’m going to enjoy for the first time in a long time. And I’m already enjoying the fact that what I’m doing at work isn’t a secondary priority, but that it’s what I’m actually doing.
You can probably expect a few more posts from me now. I’m going to enjoy talking about architecture, life, and everything else a bit more now that I have the time and the head space to do so.
I think this is going to be good.