Strategizing (Or Exam Prep Part 2 of 3) & The Mighty Ampersand

A three pronged strategy for The Undertaking, aka ARE exams:

1. Regular visits to the Department of Treats & Breaks

I’m more a carrot than a stick person, and so I need to institute a strict regimen of treats & breaks. Kittens will see that I stick to it. Treats will include everything from cookies to finally starting that cake carrier collection I’ve been wanting. Maybe even the stapler collection, too. And breaks can be anything from racing around with the kittens for a bit to taking a night off to go to a museum, concert, or other un-architecture-related activity.

2.  Environmental encouragement

As you might guess, I am pretty sensitive to spaces I spend time in, what with being an architect and all. I even wrote my thesis research paper about how space and creativity interact. This whole test thing isn’t exactly the most creative of enterprises, but one of the things I learned from the research and thinking for my thesis is that creativity has a lot of different steps, and they all need different things. And some of those steps bear a striking resemblance to test-studying.

Anyway, I need a good environment to study in. Basic stuff—good lighting, space to spread out, not too chaotic. But it also needs to be a kind of optimistic space, a space that makes me happy or at least content. So I’m going to put a little time, a little energy, and a tiny bit of money into making my space feel more that way. I’ve got some paint chips, I’m picking out a few pieces of art to buy, I’m framing some art I already have, I’m clearing out old things to open up spaces, and generally sprucing things up where I can. Hopefully it will all make me feel more in control, more content, and more focused.

3. Sit down and do it

Putting in the time is the main thing. I’m making study dates with myself (mostly at home, but occasionally at one local cafe or another, maybe even in the main reading room at the fancy library on 42nd Street now and then). The kitchen table is study central, and with a few snacks, some tea or coffee, and a kitty sleeping on my lap, there’s no need to roam around. Although the ruckus upstairs (continuing renovation) isn’t helping much…

. . . . . . . . . . .

In unrelated design news, aren’t ampersands awesome? I’ve had trouble drawing (it seems more like drawing than writing, doesn’t them ever since I learned how to draw a treble (G) clef. It seems I can only hold one in my head at a time. And while plus signs are also cool (yay maths), ampersands have so much history, so much variation, and so much elegance. And they’re just so damn useful. Do you know why they’re called ampersands? Here’s the answer from A Brief History of the Ampersand (scroll down in that link to see some nice examples in action):

The word “ampersand” was first added to dictionaries in 1837. The word was created as a slurred form of “and, per se and”, which was what the alphabet ended with when recited in English-speaking schools. (Historically, “and per se” preceded any letter which was also a word in the alphabet, such as “I” or “A”. And the ampersand symbol was originally the last character in the alphabet.)

Cool. I need to get my hands on a nice vintage ampersand to jazz up this place a bit. I love punctuation in general, but I really have a boundless affection for ampersands. One of these days maybe I’ll even master drawing them.



This entry was posted on Friday, January 15th, 2010 and is filed under architecture. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
Bookmark and share this...



2 Responses to “Strategizing (Or Exam Prep Part 2 of 3) & The Mighty Ampersand”

  1. Tom V

    Kirsten, I’ve been an avid reader of Pauls for a few years and have stumbled on your site occasionally. Congrats on going for the ARE and LEED. I’m a licensed RA (for about 5 years now) and passed the LEED AP at the end of June, mere days before the deadline. I feel for you having to work on a LEED project to further your credentials in this area, it almost feels “not fair” to say the least.

    As for studying for the tests, ARE and LEED, I just had to put everything on hold for a few weeks before and seriously drown in that stuff and ream it into my brain. There was no other way for me, it sucked but I passed all of them on the first go around. (I took one at a time about every 4 months.)

    Now, I haven’t perused your entire blog, are you going to take the ARE in a single sitting or are you going to stagger the dates?

  2. Kirsten

    I am planning to stagger them a bit–I don’t think I have the stamina to do it all at once! And I’m still finishing up a few more months of IDP hours, so I can’t get my license right away anyway. I’m impressed you did them all at once–and passed.

    Smart of you to get the LEED done before they changed it. I’m sure I’ll get to work at least peripherally on something at some point.