Architecture vs Journalism

Or rather, architecture and design vs journalism and mass communication.

Those are the main things I’ve been looking at.

I feel quite ambivalent about the two. Well, mostly towards architecture because I’ve already experienced what it would be like if I were to pursue it. I know I have great interest in it and I sort of have the knack for it. It would be nice to design my own house one day, but that really is about it. I’d like to help with urban planning, but knowing someone with that specific degree and him telling me that he’s still jobless after having graduated for awhile now…well, to say the least, it was very off putting.

I just really want a degree where I can help make the world a better place and I don’t know if I could actually do that with an architecture degree. Sure, I could go ahead and build public housing for the homeless and poor, but most of the time, my designs are just too impractical and would probably cost a lot more to build than what the budget dictates. I may enjoy doing the floor plan part, but when it comes to materials to be used, I falter and am not confident enough to stick to what I’ve said, because I’m scared that a building I’ve designed might collapse and all the inhabitants inside would die. And I’d be to blame.

Hmmm…that’s similar to the reason why I didn’t go after a career in medicine. I like helping people feel better, but I just have this fear that I could kill someone accidentally. And then I’d be to blame.

Lives of people cannot be played with and someone who has more confidence in their abilities should be the ones taking care of those areas.

I’m just better with theory.

Back to architecture though. Due to my dad’s credibility, good work ethic, knowledgeability, work experience, and reliability (duly respected), I know I’m already guaranteed a job if I actually graduated with an architecture degree at his work place. I’m not saying that in a snobbish, self assured way. I’m saying that because a job there’s already been offered to me even at the beginning of my second year in architecture. I naturally kept my answer as vague as possible, because I already had another job lined up and I was already having my doubts by then.

But I don’t know if I want what my dad has now. Every single day, I see him working hard, managing subcontractors, handling meetings, and doing quality checks; he has a lot more responsibilities than the ones I’ve mentioned, with a really huge scope to deal with as well. If something goes wrong in the construction phase or when the resort is already operating (nearly the whole FOH HLS and gaming area is his scope. And having seen and worked in his office, it’s an extremely big deal), it would fall on my dad’s shoulders. His stress levels are so high he doesn’t even spend enough time at home; we barely ever get time with him since he’s always working overtime to deal with backlogs caused by the incompetent subcontractors he has to deal with. Those drawing packages, I’ve seen them. I’ve also seen his work space — it’s covered all over with papers stacked so high, he barely has room to do any work (he already has the biggest workspace compared to everyone else too). Samples are also all over his area. He never has time for himself since he has so many meetings to attend and so much work to do. Toilet breaks are nearly an impossibility for him even. Because of all this, he wants to quit and retire and garden in the countryside. With our whole family in tow, of course

As an aside though, my dad’s already showing signs of losing his mind, as he suddenly started laughing maniacally about something one day. We laughed along, because it’s pretty rare to see him laugh (he usually sits quietly, even at the dinner table, not really listening to any of us. Actually, dinnertime is a very quiet affair on most nights — unless my brother decided to do or say something random or when my mom brings up some deep conversational topics. My dad rarely joins in, but when he does, he usually just listens. When he does talk, it is dang deep.) and it really isn’t an uncommon behaviour in our family. The crazier, the better sometimes. Also, I think insanity runs on our family branch (my dad’s brother and sister seem quite normal), as my brother and I will sometimes laugh at nothing or just say some weird whimsical shiz no one else understands but the two of us. Hmmm…my mom’s the most normal person in our family, it seems.

I don’t want that life. I just can’t. I’d die with so much work and so many responsibilities. So much pressure from different sides to get work done (construction is so fast, their target is a floor per week). I don’t want to reach a point where I just want to give up and do nothing, just as my dad wishes now.

I know my dad loves work. He’s a workaholic, just as I know I can be. Like father, like daughter, no? I know I can tolerate working long monotonous hours — just as it was back in IB — but I don’t know if I can work forever like that (never ending work, it is. Once something is completed, another package needs to be dealt with, which could be riddled with mistakes that need to be corrected (which involves the drawings being passed back and forth until everything is correct). After that, another package comes. Then another, and another, and another. And another. Until the project is done. But then, the client could want something else added, which means another few years. Seems never ending, in my opinion.). I don’t want to end up like my dad. I understand his point of view, and that probably has had an impact on my decision to switch majors. I just really don’t want to end up in the same situation.

I actually remember something my dad said to me a long time ago. He was questioning me whether I truly wanted architecture. “Are you sure?” he’d said. I said I was, knowing the stability it would bring, still idealising it. Two months ago, after having seen his workload during the summer, I had asked him why he picked architecture. His reply was that he liked to draw growing up and so people suggested he take architecture. He wanted to become a doctor, but his older sister (my aunt, obviously. She didn’t actually finish, because she got pregnant then married midway.) was already going into the medical tract and they couldn’t afford two people going after medicine, so he had to pick something else. If he’d known the work he had to do now, he said he would have picked anything else but architecture.

I can’t say he doesn’t like architecture, but I’m sure his workload made him say that. But if that’s what it would be like in the long haul, I really don’t think I’d like it. My dad has designed other houses outside of his work here, like our own house in the Philippines (which is bigger than what we’ve been accustomed to, having lived in apartments most of our lives) and some other people’s houses (family friends) in the Philippines. His best work though is our house. It really is quite nice, and I know my dad put his whole heart and soul into it’s construction, because, after all, it has always been his dream to have his own house for his own family. So I guess he does like some aspects of it. Maybe just not the construction industry.

Architecture. He managed it okay so far. Until now. But he’s had a great career to look back on, so it was worth it for him, I hope.

It would be nice to be an architect, because…well, it sounds nice. But that alone? I don’t know. Would it be fulfilling for me? I’m not sure.

I know I would do alright with architecture, once I’ve put my whole mind to it. But I just doubt my abilities too much. And my passion for it is less than my passion for writing — by a small margin — so maybe writing is more for me. Architecture would have been a safe bet for me, true, but I don’t really think it would have been as fulfilling for me as writing (or something related to it) would be.

Are these all just words to justify my choice not to continue with architecture? Maybe. But they also are how I’ve always felt about architecture. Just pure doubt. And if I doubt myself, how will I ever perform well?

As for writing and journalism and mass communication. I doubt myself in this area as well. But in a different way.

I know I have talent enough for the written word. It needs to be trained up and polished up a bit more, but I think I do have what it takes. I’ve got the crazy writer’s mind, with crazy thoughts and worlds and ideas whirling about in there. I just doubt if I could actually find stability with it. The point of getting a degree in the first place is to get a job after graduating, no? Or maybe that’s just how most Asians see…

I know I could do some small good with my writings — write some inspirational shiz and stuff like that, something similar to the concept of Orwell’s 1984 maybe (get people thinking about the society we live in and all that). Maybe even write a screenplay or do something with film. Or even a documentary. I have a lot of ideas right now. In any case, I know there will be a lot of financial struggles involved with this career. But I feel like this is really what I need to be doing.

To sum up, it’s either I pick pressured stability or inspired poverty. And because I feel my true calling is anything to do with writing and spreading messages through the written word, I’m picking inspired poverty.

Something else to add to this though. My parents are pretty cool with my decision; they’re happy so long as I’m happy. Although my dad did make a comment that amused me. When I finally told them what my decision was, my dad just told me if I did end up marrying, he’s hoping the guy has a stable career (hoh boy. Some standards have just been made. *chuckles* Never ever until then did he mention me ever ending up with someone eventually. He always hoped I’d just become a nun. Me, a nun…I don’t know, Dad. Maybe. We’ll see how things go.) and can support a family well enough. My one remaining grandparent however was not too keen on the idea that I switch out of architecture, because her mindset is that so long as there’s money, there should be nothing else to worry about; one is basically set for life. But no. That’s selfish. And that’s empty. I don’t want to do something for money. Ever. Okay, maybe to be able to live with some little comforts like food and a roof, then money wouldn’t be bad. But I want to do something worthwhile. And because of that, I’m going to prove her wrong — I really hope I can show her that meaning behind what one does to help our fellow man is more important than wealth and money.

So yeah. I’m going to have an impoverished future. But so long as I’ve got God, then I’m set.

Matthew 6:25-34 (English Standard Version [ESV])

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?[a] 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s