Goals 2015: ARE and IDP

It’s that time of the year, to make plans, to have ambitions and to hope that they will all work out because it’s a New Year. I wanted to make this list on 12.12, and call it goal setting, not a set of unrealistic resolutions, but it didn’t happen. I couldn’t write anything on 12.13.14 either. No fancy date stamp on my blog, thanks to the fine imbalance of my life. I was wrapping up work, preparing to take time off during the holidays, and children were wrapping up their school years, finals and parties. Instead of making a resolution that starts from the first day of the year and ends on the last day, I am going to set a list of goals, and hope that I master all of that before the year ends. If work or life interrupt, I will go with the flow, prioritize and make the best decision under those circumstances.  In fact, the first goal should be to stop playing sliding doors.

ARE Exams and IDP

I practice architecture, but I am still not a professionally licensed architect. Last year, I made a decision to join the ARE and IDP path to licensure. Programming, Planning & Practice is done, and six more to go.  Last month, after joining twitter, I was introduced to blogs, podcasts, views and opinions – and paths to licensure. I read each blog intently, and one fine afternoon made my own plan for the months to come.  The goal is to keep the momentum. Schedule, reschedule but never cancel. Show up, and take an exam no matter what the level of preparation is. If not anything, it will help you prepare for the next one. It’s not easy shelling out a two-ten and four hours every month, but hopefully once I am licensed, it will all be worth it.

What next?

Two years ago I let my rolling clock expire, thanks to a combination of events. If I had taken just one test before the year ended, result not withstanding, I could have avoided IDP altogether. But things happen for a greater purpose, or so I believe. Moving on with the new process, procedure to reach the final destination.. with some help from NCARB and CAB in reactivating my account, and my education-experience reports.

I scheduled Construction Documents and Services for the afternoon of Jan 5th, 2014. Others will follow soon, with three weeks of preparation for each test. The goal is to test once every month, and retake any failed tests as soon as the six week waiting period ends.

Here is the order I have in mind:
Construction Documents & Services – January 5th
Schematic Design – Feb second week, before the four day break for school
Site Planning & Design – March second week, before spring vacation.
Building Design & Construction Systems – May, after both kids end spring vacation, and before daughter’s finals week.
Structural Systems – September, after summer break, or based on preparation, sometimes in summer.
Building Systems – month after taking Structural Systems.

As for study material, it will the online blogs (I will provide links later) and the PPI set, my own set of drawings and specifications, as well as contracts from the past decade.

IDP Plan of action

For the past three years, I have worked hard. I haven’t taken summers off, I have struggled to juggle work and life, and I have worked most nights. In the beginning, there was this hunger- hunger to work all I can, work more, and make for that slow period during the recession. It’s nice to have an understanding family, and more importantly the spousal support, but somewhere I had to draw a line. From the time my alarm rings at dark thirty, it’s a never ending, always evolving checklist until I curl up and sleep tired.

It shouldn’t be this hard. If things aren’t falling in the regulated forty hours, and if they are always exceeding fifty hours a week, something should be done. The whole point of leaving a cubicle job to begin consulting was to work towards a better work and life balance. If anything, I have ruined any balance I had with a full time job.

The 2015 resolution for work is to take it slow, and never more than forty hours a week. All weekends will be non-working weekends, and no vacations will be canceled. Every evening, I will make dinner, and sit down for the family dinner. With 78% IDP hours logged in, it’s time to take it a little easy, and make life easy for myself and everyone around me. I need to time to study, time to prepare for my exams, and some down time.

Last time, when I scheduled my Construction Documents and Services test (Jan 5th is a retake), things didn’t go as I had expected. In spite of communicating my requirements for one day to study and one to test, I kept getting calls, and texts and emails from work. Until late afternoon, I didn’t even get a chance to brush my knowledge. I got all worked up, and didn’t focus in the hours after I took care of work. The result was as expected, a fail. Was it worth it? Could it have waited? Absolutely.

Will I be able to define boundaries better this time around? Yes, no and maybe depending on the circumstances. But, proirities have changed since last October, and frankly at this point, the big picture is all that matters. A decade down the lane, it has to be a happy marriage and a successful licensed practice.

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