Growing up, toy blocks ruled my world. Spaceships, sky scrapers, submarines – you name it, I built it. So… it came as no surprise to Mom when I declared I wanted to be an architect when I grew up. It made a lot of sense why I would choose this profession. I was the kid who was passionately curious about everything. The kid who asked for tools as Christmas gifts. The kid who hooked up the VCR at age 4. I was also the kid who took all the screws out of the dining room table, resulting in us ordering takeout that night. I had the brain of an engineer, the soul of an artist, and a mother at her wits’ end.
Fast forward to 2007. High school was in my rear view mirror and I was heading off to college to study the works of Frank Lloyd Wright, Zaha Hadid, and I. M. Pei. When grades were posted over winter break, Mom’s flashbacks of my childhood antics slowly dissipated after seeing a 3.6 GPA. I finished out the rest of my freshman year strong and had one of my designs featured in our school’s newspaper. Despite all of the hard work and long road ahead of me, I was feeling good about my decision to study architecture.
In the fall of 2008, things started to feel different. Internship postings on our school’s career website began disappearing, newspaper headlines warned of troubling times in the housing market, and I could see an uneasiness in almost every adult I knew, including Mom. By the end of the year, the S&P 500 was down nearly 40%, the unemployment rate was on its way to doubling, and the world was in a panic.