Sunday, January 1, 2012

Twenty Twelve

Sunday, January 1, 2012

I had planned to write a recap of 2011, I already took down notes for January and February, and a little bit of march. But in the flurry of busyness surrounding the last few months at my job and the nonstop busy during my semester, it didn’t get done. You can read the half baked blog post at my scraps blog for posts that didn't make it, here.

Also, not that I was any good before, but my writing skills seem to have dwindled down significantly. Probably because of lack of practice. Maybe I should work backwards, start with where I am now. The new years. As it so happens, I’m currently procrastinating. I should be studying for my exams that are just around the corner but although I find economics and all the related stuff fascinating the horde of new concepts and specific terms tend to confuse me, just like it did in high school. Business studies was the only subject I ever got a C for and because I just couldn’t grasp what was being taught I dropped it the next semester. Also perhaps because our teacher was pretty lousy. I still sat in through the classes though, because I was the only one in my grade who wasn’t taking business studies, so even If I did have a free period, there was no one I could hang out with. As it turns out the next semester we had a different teacher who was slightly better but then if my memory serves me right he felt underappreciated because people didn’t respect him in class, so one day he exploded and never came back to finish the syllabus. I mean exploded in anger.

Oh. I should mention that I’m having exams because I decided to continue my Part 2 in architecture. It kind of a difficult concept to explain, whenever I say I’ve taken up studying again people always say, oh, you’re doing your masters? And I have to try and explain that it’s not a masters degree even though it’s at the masters level. For the benefit of anyone randomly traipsing through the web and happened to find my blog by searching for Part 2 bachelor of architecture in UIA (IIUM) I’ll break it down

In Malaysia, to become a licensed architect you need to pass three parts or stages. The first stage is Part 1. In IIUM, Part one is called Bachelor of Science (architectural Studies). It’s mostly the same for other public universities in Malaysia, except some universities combine part one and part 2 into a 5 year course. But in my case, after completing part one; you would have graduated with your first degree.

Then you can either choose to enrol in Part 2 if you want to continue immediately or work first (as I did) or just not continue at all, or continue in other fields. With a part one degree your position in an architecture firm would most probably be that of an assistant architect, though the specific workload you’ll receive as well as the pay differs from firm to firm. I worked for a year before deciding to continue my Part 2.

Part 2 in IIUM and generally most public universities in Malaysia, again, is called Bachelor of Architecture. Even though it’s technically almost a masters degree level/postgraduate course. Well actually, it IS a postgraduate course since we already graduated the first time around. But anyways. In Australia, part 2 is called masters of Architecture, whole in the UK, they don’t have a standard name for the degree, which I think makes it even more confusing, in some universities it is a masters course, while others might call it a postgraduate diploma, postgraduate degree, etc. I guess the confusing part is just the naming. Because it is another undergraduate degree in the eyes of the university, but at postgraduate level, while we have to register as double degree holders. Yeah I don’t think this is helping very much.

Anyway, after completing part 2, you graduate again, and have to work in the architecture industry for a minimum of 2 years before you are allowed to take the part 3 professional exams. There’s no official course you have to go through (I don’t know of any anyways), although there are study groups conducted. If you manage to pass the part 3 exams (if I’m not mistaken there are 2 parts of the exam, written and an interview/oral exam) then you finally become an architect with an Ar. In front of your name. I’ve heard many horror stories about the part 3 exam, and they all seem to be true, the passing rate for the exam is less than 10%!!

Erm yeah so that’s basically it. I can’t be entirely sure what I’ve written is 100% correct and I know it’s definitely not comprehensive, but that’s what I understand anyways.

Where was I? Oh yes. Part 2. I decided to continue part 2. Like my first degree, I planned to do it elsewhere, to have a different experience and to move out of my comfort zone. Applications were filled; certificates and transcripts photocopied, and sent to various universities and scholarship organisations in Australia and New Zealand. My dad told me to try for the UK as well but I found their application systems to be confusing so I didn’t. One by one the offers came through, each one bringing up a little sparkle of excitement which I had to squash down in order not to be thoroughly disappointed like I was in 2007. Didn’t really work because I got disappointed anyways. So again, I sent in local applications, and UIA accepted me and I went. I don’t think I’m quite over it though, because whenever I hear of people flying off, I get a little pang of jealousy and yearning that brings my whole mood down.

The first semester of part 2 proved to be extremely extremely trying and tiring. The stream of assignments never seemed to stop, and the expectations were very high. I don’t think I coped well at all. After having gone through one semester of it, I’m seriously wondering if I want to continue or not. I’m seriously considering quitting. Because even though I like architecture, I appreciate it and all, I don’t see myself enjoying any aspect of it in terms of a job. I wanted to continue my part 2 to see whether I’d want to really be an architect, and to learn the things I needed to know to become a good architect in the field, since when I was working, there was so much that I didn’t know. But now, one semester wiser, I think I might be inching closer to a definite answer. I don’t think I’d want to be an architect like the ones I have worked with/for. If I was to be one, I don’t think I’d open up my own form or even work in one. I’d work on projects that I liked, without chasing clients and so on. I don’t know if that’s a feasible model to work on but I don’t think the stress of the whole architecture industry would suit me. Not just the stress, but the whole business side of it. From what I observed, the priority in the architecture industry was to make money, not to design functional and beautiful buildings that would benefit the community or help people. Of course that’s a narrow perspective having only worked in one firm and heard stories from my colleagues/classmates who have worked as well. Maybe I’ve just yet to find a firm that suits me, and whose main aim isn’t just to make money.

Well I think this post is long and rambling enough as it is, so I’ll save my abstract thought for another time. I have to get back to studying anyways.

I have kitties available for adoption if you want one! they are all super cute and cuddly :)

l-r: 1. BonBon Mignon, the curious adventurous one
2. DimSum (not available for adoption) the cuddly fluffball
3. Souffle, the blue eyed boss
4. Kimchi, the little cutie with puss-in-boot eyes
5. Truffle, the handsome, active and playful one


1 hitchhikers:

Aneesah said...

I so understand your thoughts about being a real architect and working in practice and all (in the long-term future). =/ But, unlike you, I kind of really have to finish Part 2 (no choice of quitting), so basically my future is written up till the end of Part 2, inshaAllah. After that, I probably just wanna be a housewife. :P

Hang in there though, Maryam, inshaAllah we can survive even as just architecture-appreciaters. And in the end, He knows best. ^^

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