So, I am headed back to school. After almost 10 years out in the “real world” I will be starting the Masters of Architecture and City Planning program at Nanjing University this fall. Last year, I spent two semesters studying Chinese, also at Nanjing University. This may seem redundant as I have been in China for ages now and speak fairly well but it was a prerequisite to my program as all my classes will be taught in Chinese. Taking the language classes was a good warm up to being a student again and it also was a good move on my part. Most of the Chinese I have been using is not on the professional level I will need to complete a program like the one I am about to begin. Also, I will need to be able to write and defend projects and my thesis in Chinese, which will be a huge hurtle (but also a great gloating point when I’m done).
I passed my HSK5 in the fall (therefore meeting the requirements for entry into the program) and so in the spring I upped the stakes and took on classes with the advanced students studying Chinese as their major. It was intense to say the least but also very involved, with classes that focused on actually using the language and not just learning it. I really do feel like I am ready for the program in the fall now and I am excited to be taking studio classes again. They were my favorite classes in undergrad and I am sure they will be again this fall. It may just be me being arrogant but I am pretty sure I will be able to out design most of my classmates. It’s the technology that has me worried.
Currently, I am teaching myself CAD, SketchUp and a reviewing Photoshop. These are all programs I will have to depend on in the future and also my biggest road block at the moment. Most of my classmates will have already learned these programs and I doubt the professors will give me much leeway… so it’s all YouTube and pdf tutorials for the rest of the summer. Hopefully (and with some luck), I’ll be able to keep up with the course work once classes start! I don’t worry much about sketching, model building or rendering by hand… something tells me I’ll do just fine with those.
So I have one more month to prepare the best I can and then it’s back to being a student, a design student…. even better an ARCHITECTURE STUDENT! (Enter toothy grin here)