I get asked quite often why I decided to get into architecture and design. My usual reply is that I came out of the womb sketching floor plans. A roll of sketch paper is still glued to my hip to this day. The reality is that I really had no choice—and I mean that in the best way possible. The combination of the arts and putting concepts together is in my parents' DNA. My mother had such a passion for theater and the arts, and my father very much enjoys connecting the dots. Like most little girls, I enjoyed playing with dolls but it was the actual doll houses that I gravitated to the most. Rearranging the furniture within those little walls was my daily focus. This later evolved into changing the furniture around in my bedroom once a month and eventually graduated to transforming the main living room spaces of our family home. My mother even gave me a budget to help fuel my creativity and learn the other side of planning and executing a design vision.
Through it all I was constantly drawing, doodling, and creating random layouts of room designs, imaginary houses and buildings. When my grandmother caught wind of my sketches, she immediately signed me up to receive a years subscription of Architecture Digest. I can't express how much I loved flipping through those glossy pages. My grandmother not only believed in me, she lit the fire under my feet to get my wheels turning about becoming an architect.
My parents were also very good about teaching my brother and I about the value of education and having a job. They never were the type of parents to make a big deal out of fancy cars, clothes, or materialistic stuff. It was the importance of school and building the stepping stones to a strong platform and a career that was considered to be the greatest achievement.
My mother and I are very similar when it comes to the arts. We both love structure and anything to do with a beautifully thought out theatrical performance. She was definitely a force with putting me in dance classes since the age of 4. It is safe to say that dance became my life and another new passion.
Every day after school and every weekend - I was slipping on my ballet flats and dancing my heart out. So much so, that I became captain of the dance team throughout high school and participated in state wide competitions. I learned to love every minute of dance including the strict discipline that came along with it. It shaped me, challenged me, and pushed my limits.
Dance continued to be a major part of my life, but it finally came to a point when I had to make a conscious decision about the next stage of my life. This meant leaving the stage. I needed to hang up my dance shoes once and for all. You see, to be a professional dancer, you need to be all in. And I was not all in.
However, what I was always 100% about was wanting a career in architecture and design. That passion never left me.
With all that said, I decided to share with you my top tips for helping you through the process of figuring out what is your true passion.
1. Tune Out Any Outside Noise
Parents, relatives, and outside opinions can often clog up your dreams. Instead of listening to what others want you to do, feed into the part of your brain that guides you to what you desire the most.
2. Do Your Research
Do your part in researching everything that there is to know about your passion. Interview people that are already in the profession you want. Send letter, write, email and always ask questions!
3. Get An Internship
The best piece of advice I can possibly give you is to carve out time during your summer vacation to get an internship. Try and do this early on because it will not only look good on your resume, it will give you experience that you can't get anywhere else (including school!).
4. Make Mistakes
One of my grandmother's greatest quotes was, "You don't learn from your successes, but rather from the mistakes you make and the lessons you learn from them."
5. Stick To What You Are Good At
Remember that you will not know everything or even know how to do everything, but if you stick to the areas of where you thrive the most, you will create the most value.
6. Be Open Minded
You will never know if you don't try. So, learn to take risks and don't be afraid of fucking up.
7. Get Out Of Dodge
I encourage everyone to move away from home for at least three months. I don't care if you travel to Europe or the Equator—get out. There is no bigger inspiration than getting out of your comfort zone.