I have recently finished my exams and have received my license in the state of South Carolina! There is zero chance that I would be here today without Young Architect and Michael Riscica. I knew I wanted to be an architect when I was in 3rd grade. I followed all the steps – getting my first job in a firm when I was still in high school. I got my bachelor's and then my master's and was nearly complete with my AXP hours (then called IDP) when the economy crashed. I lost my job and I felt betrayed by an industry that I had been chasing for so long. I started teaching Interior Design at a local college. During this time IDP changed the breakdown of hours and mine were completed. I filed for permission to test, but I was too scared and had no idea where to start.
Teaching led to working for a German cabinetry company. I was there for 7 years and I loved so much about it but deep down, I knew. My heart was still in architecture. I started my own residential design firm in 2019, ten years after I stepped out of the traditional world of architecture, and gave myself a year to get my business off the ground. A colleague of my husband’s highly recommended Bootcamp. I was a little reluctant to spend the money, but I also knew I needed the structure, the guidance, and the accountability. I signed up for the June 2020 Pro Practice session. I was so excited and honestly very nervous.
My husband, always my biggest supporter, stepped up and took over just about everything in our home. And that wasn’t easy in the middle of the pandemic with a full-time job and a 5-year-old and 2-year-old at home 24/7. I was putting in full-time hours trying to grow a business while also teaching a college course. I won’t lie to you – it was a lot. But Mike’s program and community kept me focused. I had a plan with a weekly syllabus so that I could concentrate on small pieces at a time instead of being overwhelmed by the big picture. This I expected. What I didn’t expect was how important the community would be in my process. Accountability, of course, but friendships that I know will last a lifetime and discussions that stuck in my head better than a paragraph from a book. We broke down questions and topics together, shared our work experiences, recommended books, and other resources. There is so much diversity in this group. We were in it together and it made studying fun.
I took my first test in August 2020 and my last just under a year later. I put in 1068 hours of studying. I was able to pass all 6 tests because of Young Architect. I believe this so much that after finishing the pro practice tests and PA I signed up for the Technical Bootcamp in April 2021. Mike provides the technical syllabus for all graduates of the pro practice group, but I didn’t just want the syllabus. I wanted to be in the Bootcamp community again. I wanted the meetups and I wanted to expand my community. I also wanted those weekly check-ins. They keep you focused, motivated, and prepared.
Believing in yourself is also critical. That said, there is definitely luck in these tests. Did you get the right test for you on the right day? Was the computer working properly? Was the tricky concept asked in a question format that made more sense to you than perhaps another? We can’t control these things – but we can control our process. We can also control our mindsets. Take deep breaths and eliminate unnecessary stressors (plan out your clothing, pack your stuff the night before, create a routine, exercise, etc.). I wore the same thing to each test down to my socks, parked in the same area of the parking lot, ate the same dinner the night before, watched a funny movie with my husband the evening before my exams, ate the same breakfast, and packed the same snacks. Clearly my “lucky outfit” isn’t actually lucky, but feeling confident in the routine you created is. Also, paying attention to time. Practice working through questions quickly and have a plan for how much time you want to spend on each section.
If you are scared to start, or stuck in a rut, or just needing to do things differently I can’t recommend Bootcamp enough. Mike, thank you for everything! I love this community and not just for Bootcamp, but the lecture series, accountability groups, and everything else I know you will bring to this group in the future.
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