Back to School

Backpacks, pencils, paper, and a Trapper Keeper.  When I was in elementary school, that’s what I remember having to bring on that dreaded first day back to school from the summer.  Things have changed a bit since then.  My child’s list is a full page, requiring either a multitude of trips to various stores in the area or luckily you can buy a pack from the school district with everything already bundled.  Oh wait, did I say everything, let’s not forget about that list of additional items and fees that they provide you at the “Meet the Teacher” night.  Sometimes it feels like it never ends.  Through all the frustration though, I want my kids to have the best education I can provide, so….. I grin and bear it.  Silently??? Maybe not so much.


You don’t remember trapper keepers?

I honestly can’t remember any specific thing that happened on a first day back that was even the least bit traumatic, but I can recall the feelings pretty clearly.  Excitement and fear, anxiety and anticipation,  all rolled up into a ball of nervousness about the year to come.  The calming ingredient to it all, seeing all of the familiar faces that had been absent in your life for the last three months.  Having survived all of that, I now get to watch my kids experience it in their own unique way.


For this month’s #ArchiTalks post the subject was “Back to School”.  #ArchiTalks is the brain child of Bob Borson of Life of an Architect, where a group of architecture professionals all get a single subject to write about, to showcase how varied the responses can be all from people within the same profession.  In case you are new to the series, take a weekend and binge read all of the related posts, they now span almost two years worth.

Too Sappy?

Ok, I promise I am not going to start going on and on about my kids first week of school was, and how they got along with their teacher, and what they….  I could really go on about this for a while.  I’m starting to get the hang of this whole #archidad thing.  I mean with kids like mine how could you not brag about them on end.  Well then how does an architect talk about going back to school?  I’ve been out of college for a while now, and I think I am starting to use the “When I was in school…” stories on some of my coworkers.  Yikes!!  I’ve blocked out most of the younger years, not exactly Mr. Popular sitting here.  Do they even do the whole voting people’s nicknames for the future thing anymore?  One of the things that really stood out to me in college that signalled the end of summer and time to get back to it was registration.  Signing up for everything you needed for your degree along with a couple of no-brainers to keep that GPA up.

Wait, last time I checked, architects don’t get a summer vacation.  And between the committees, the continuing education, and the project research, the schoolwork/homework never ends.     Never.    Ever.    Ends.     Maybe it’s coincidence, or someone’s deliberate plan, that registration for the yearly convention just happens to fall at the exact same time as back to school.  I think in a way, that really is ours.  You sign up for classes, you see what extra curricular activities are available and that you think are fun, and you get to meet up with the people you haven’t see in quite a while.  Sounds like back to school to me.

Did I miss something?

I’ve been going to our states architectural convention for probably the last 10 years.  I think the first couple of times I went I really didn’t know what to do or expect.  It was just something you were supposed to do as you joined the profession.  The last couple of years though I think I learned a more valuable lesson, be involved.  Yeah, I know really complicated lesson there.  What took me so long?  And it doesn’t really matter how you are involved, just pick something and do it.  Just going to classes and then back to your hotel won’t cut it, you end up missing a huge part of what it is all about.


Here’s a hint when you go, you are going aren’t you?  Go to the chats, ask questions, listen to everything they have to say.  I really think these are some of the bast classes that the AIA has come up with in a long time.  Yes, yes I know that sitting through an hour of the latest accessible guidelines and their application to commercial construction is extremely riveting (was the sarcasm laid on too thick there?) but the chats are just a notch better.  These are people who are willing to just get up there and just talk architecture for an hour with absolutely no agenda.  It’s just their passion.  Those are the type of people that I want to get to know and to hopefully spend more time with.

One other thing while you are there.  Go out and see something that is interesting, go out to dinner with a group of other architects, go out and and tour the local architecture.  If you think there is a common theme there, then I’m being as obvious as I thought I would be.  It’s pretty cool to see how much in common you have with some of the people that you read about in all the magazines or web articles out there.

Oh yeah, I think I might have forgotten about one something, that whole school part.  Did you know you can pretty much knock out an entires years worth of CEU’s in this one long weekend?  I’ve taken advantage of classes that range from ADA (see comment above) to the use of drones on a project site.  I’ve actually sat through classes that I didn’t have a clue about what they were saying, but the title of the class sounded interesting.  I’ve even had the luck of being a speaker in a class.  Although I’d say my partner in that little venture saved my butt and made the class bearable for everyone that attended.

Like I did way to often in school, I waited till the last minute to do my homework, and it has become nice and late.  I need to get up early for a deadline tomorrow.  Bad habits are so hard to get rid of.


How did all my other classmates relate to back to school?  Click on the links below to see what this month’s #ArchiTalks crew had to say.


Enoch Sears – Business of Architecture (@businessofarch)
Back to school!

Bob Borson – Life of An Architect (@bobborson)

Matthew Stanfield – FiELD9: architecture (@FiELD9arch)
Designing Back to School

Marica McKeel – Studio MM (@ArchitectMM)
ArchiTalks: “Back To School”

Jeff Echols – Architect Of The Internet (@Jeff_Echols)
What Have We Learned? It’s Back To School For #ArchiTalks 21

Lee Calisti, AIA – Think Architect (@LeeCalisti)
good to go back to school

Mark R. LePage – EntreArchitect (@EntreArchitect)
Back to School: Marketing for Architects

Lora Teagarden – L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC)
4 Tips As You Go Back To School

Michele Grace Hottel – Michele Grace Hottel, Architect (@mghottel)
#architalks 21 “back to school”

brady ernst – Soapbox Architect (@bradyernstAIA)
Back to the Cartography Board

Michael LaValley – Evolving Architect (@archivalley)
#ArchiTalks / 15 Ways to Make the Most of Your Architectural Education

Eric Wittman – intern[life] (@rico_w)
getting [schooled] again

Sharon George – Architecture By George (@sharonraigeorge)
What’s better than architecture after school?

Jarod Hall – di’velept (@divelept)
Back to {Architecture} School

Keith Palma – Architect’s Trace (@cogitatedesign)

Adam Denais – Defragging Architecture (@DefragArch)
[ArchiTalks #21] 10 Things Architecture Students Say Going Back to School

Jim Mehaffey – Yeoman Architect (@jamesmehaffey)
Back to School? It Doesn’t Stop there for Architects.

Tim Ung – Journey of an Architect (@timothy_ung)
10 Things I wish I knew about Architecture School


9 Replies to “Back to School”

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