So how can we create challenges for ourselves, as student architects and graduate architects that force us to ‘just start’ and challenge us to push to the limits of our ability?
CHALLENGE ONE: EXPAND YOUR NETWORK
Attend one architecture event each month where you’re not allowed to leave until you’ve met someone new.
CHALLENGE TWO: ENTER COMPETITIONS
Enter at least one design competition each year.
CHALLENGE THREE: FOCUS ON AN AREA FOR IMPROVEMENT
Choose one thing that you can focus on improving for each project you work on.
CHALLENGE FOUR: BE GENUINE
Before you take something on, ask yourself whether you are truly genuine about it, and focus on your genuine reason, rather than ‘the payout’.
CHALLENGE FIVE: FACE A FEAR
Choose something in your studies or career development that you are avoiding facing, and use your architectural problem solving skills to work out a way you can begin to address it. Then, action this plan as soon as you can.
CHALLENGE SIX: FIND A MENTOR
Find a mentor or take someone you admire out for coffee.
CHALLENGE SEVEN: GET INVOLVED IN THE INDUSTRY AS SOON AS POSSIBLE
Attend one industry event every two months.
CHALLENGE EIGHT: BECOME INVESTED IN YOUR FELLOW STUDENTS OR CO-WORKERS
Be present for your friend’s critiques and inquisitive about your co-worker’s projects. Invest time each week collaborating on their ideas and helping them succeed.
CHALLENGE NINE: STUDY OUTSIDE OF UNIVERSITY
Pick an area of skill or knowledge that you would like to develop and set a habit for studying/practicing it.
CHALLENGE TEN: REVERSE ENGINEER WHERE YOU WANT TO BE
Consider what it is you really want in your career and then reverse engineer a plan to get there.
In summary, there is a common theme to all of these challenges.
At their essence, they are all about working out what you want/need, and solving the problem of how to get it. At an architecture conference I once heard an engineer say something to the effect off “you architects are blind to your best asset - you’re professionally trained at problem solving. You could apply this skill outside of architecture.” So this is my final ultimate challenge to you, young architect: work out what it is that you want, then design a solution to get there.
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