Thursday, May 31, 2012

Another semester down!

So usually my posts are all about ultra running and races, (ok so mostly races) and I have a little time on my hands this morning so I thought I would write about another big deal in my life- school. I am currently in my third year of college, still chasing the dream of Architecture. I have about a year left in Madison, then its off to UWM to finish it out. I plan on staying there through out the Masters degree, so I am looking at an additional 4-5 years. Yes, its a long road! I have been building houses and various other structures since I was 17 years old. There was always work, and you never had to worry about finding more. Nowadays since the housing bubble has burst (thanks to all the cookie cutter housing developements who flooded the market with crap houses) it has grown tough to stay busy year round. In 2009 I decided to go back to school. Originally for Project/ Construction Management, and make the transition into commercial construction and go from there. However after taking a sustainable design class at ITT being taught by an Architect, I learned that there are a lot of changes coming to the way we build buildings and how they in turn affect our environment.
This was amazing to me, and the more I learned about it and worked on projects and figured out problems the more I found myself wanting to do this even more. I though about making the jump to Architecture...but at this point in my life? Was that a wise choice? I was 33, and knew that in order to become licensed I was looking at another 7-10 years of school and internships and whatever else life through in the mix. Tough choice, and many people told me it wasn't a smart 'financial' move. However one Architect told me," You know Marcel, 40 is coming no matter what. What do you want to be doing when you get there?" I will never forget those words.  I jumped.
The more I am told that Architects will never make much money the more I realize that it wasn't a factor in my decision anyways so who cares. (Well I do CARE, but its not a game changer) Not too mention with all the options that holding a degree in Architecture brings, if there is a drive you will find different avenues. As a sub contractor I find myself always hunting down work, doing the work, then hunting down the paycheck. This is not new to me...its simply the nature of the beast!
I love the way life throws you curves. I live for the spontaneity of the seasons, the weather, the random laughter. Architecture was a fit for me, and now that I have undertaken this journey I am learning that just like in ultra running the finish line isn't the only good part, getting there is pretty fun too.
So with a little extra time on my hands this summer I took up scuba diving, which we are doing our final lake dive this Friday (hooray!) and then hopefully passing the written exam soon after. I would like to dive at Atwater Beach in Milwaukee on Lake Michigan soon, which is right down the road from the Architecture School of Milwaukee. Lots of neat places to be exploring in Milwaukee, and although it may take a little bit to adjust to the change in scenery and the population, I am sure it will be a grand adventure while I am there.
I do of course still have a couple of big races this year, with a 50 miler in the BigHorn mountains of Wyoming in a few weeks...then a possible 100 miler in November! Honestly I want to scale down the ultra running next year, just doing a few special ones and focus on some other things. I would love to learn how to sail! And kayaking around WI would be fun too.

Its truly amazing how many things there are to do with our time. We all have the same 24 hours in a day, what we decide to do with it really determines the quality of our days, years, and ultimately our lives. I feel so blessed to be healthy and able to breathe clean air and to run on beautiful trails...these simple things enable me to tackle the rest of life, with a smile.

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