- November 4, 2020
I worked in a small architecture office for three years. During that time, I helped design a single family home, a beach house, and a small resort master plan, all for high-end clients. While the projects were successful, they did not make me happy. The city, the people, and the work was quite contrived and drove me to eventually apply to graduate school.
Three months before applications were due, my partner and I collaborated on a competition entry, hoping to include it in our portfolios. We invited a friend to join, making a group of three. From conception to submission, the project took three weeks. We received great news of the results (we made it to the third round as finalists) just in time to update our portfolios. We submitted them, along with our applications to schools, in January and received word back three months later in March.
Of the four schools I applied to, I got accepted into three. The one I didn’t get into was the one my partner did. I really wanted to go to that school, mainly because of the town — the streets, the people, and the food made me happy when I visited a year prior and I expected it would be the same for the next two years. She decided to attend this school as I chose another, three hours away.
Three months after COVID hit, my school decided it was going virtual; hers was not. We spent the three months of summer living with my parents, packed our bags — hers, mine, and the dog’s — thereafter, and moved out east to her school’s town. Despite the quarantine, economic setbacks, and a virtual semester, this has been a great experience. I was right — the streets, the people, and the food has brought me joy. We’ve been here for three months now and I can say I am truly happy. I wonder, would it have been the same if things went differently? Without my disdain for work, without the virtual semester, without my current context, would alternate forces have coalesced to grant me happiness to the same intensity I’ve experienced here? I suppose happiness is fated to some degree, guided by cosmic forces outside of my control. I’d like to think my journey to the now — this very spot on the couch, on the third floor of an apartment shared by three roommates, in a town I’ve so longed to be a part of — has been a collaboration between will, fate, and serendipity.