Tertiary Preparation Essay
I am applying to QUT to study the Bachelor of Design – Architectural Studies because I have a passion for design. I haven’t known I wanted to go down this career path long, possibly only six months. I have always had a passion for the same area of work although I haven’t been able to pinpoint the career I really want until recently. Once completing this degree I would like to complete my masters in architecture then create my own business designing sustainable, environmentally friendly and carbon neutral housing.
I am fully aware of the impacts that tertiary study will have on my life. With an estimated forty hours a week of study ahead I have secured a well paying and completely flexible job for the oncoming years to assure that I have ample time to attend uni and study the various subjects. I have also saved enough money over the past year to pay for the first year of University and rent for 6 months all textbooks, stationary and all other necessities relevant to tertiary study.
I have a home office in my current accommodation that is isolated for uninterrupted study and or work, including a computer, printer, internet, etc.
I realize that with a four year gap between school and the present day I will have some knowledge and skill deficits. The main one for myself is reading, writing and interpreting text to great depths. To try and combat this I have always tried to read as much as possible, be it a novel while in bed or even a websites blog, I feel this has kept me from falling too far behind in this area.
I will become an architect whether or not I am accepted this year. When I put my mind to something it happens and I don’t quit even after adverse objections, as each challenge should teach you something new and valuable.
I have always been the type of person that goes about work very strategically, finding the most efficient, easiest and most practical way to complete the task ahead. This works to my advantage as a carpenter and also when completing computer based work
By the second year of my apprenticeship I was going to jobs by myself and dealing with the clients and organizing other tradesmen. I feel that being thrown in the deep end as I was, really tested me. I was then responsible for the performance of the job, including time and money restraints. The last three years I have been working away from home doing shift work which placed me in a heavily routine workplace and home life. In this time I have travelled to work in many different areas; Townsville, Tully, Roma and Bundaberg and Mitchell to name just a few. Working in very isolated areas has made me very adaptable to the ever changing surroundings.
I am fully committed to tertiary study, I feel ill will be very suited to architecture because of a combination of my love for the environment, passion for art and design and my heavy involvement and interest in the building industry. Even if I am not accepted into architecture this year I will be trying to register for a different university course and trying again next year.
Independent Learning Strategies
I am predominantly a kinesthetic learner. I get distracted easily and I am sometimes forgetful with short term information. These are my main flaws, by knowing my flaws I work on ways to fix them. To aid me in this I have several different fixes, one being a diary which all work related items get placed in, linked phone and computer calendars and the most helpful of all, a routine. At the start of each working day I check over my diary and calendars and produce a list of what tasks I have ahead, how long each one will take and I mark them as I go. I use these methods to help me in work and day to day life. Working two jobs, my apprenticeship and my own handyman business has taught me how to manage time effectively, how to prioritize tasks by importance, time restrictions and deadlines.
To manage my stress levels I like to exercise, as it calms me down and keeps me focused. I am up at 4:30 am every weekday and heading to the gym, it also clears my head of all stray thoughts so I can start each new day fresh. I also listen to and create music and draw as it calms me down and allows me to think straight when I am stressed.
Interpersonal and Communication Skills
As mentioned previously I have been running my own handyman business while completing my apprenticeship. It was by no means at all difficult work although it taught me more about interacting with different types of people from various walks of life. After working this business I found that I had much improved professional people skills.
Having to deal with clients and the real estate agent on a regular basis it was necessary for me to be clear and concise with all forms of communication between the two otherwise it was far too easy for sticky situations to arise.
While working for Ambrose Building as a carpenter I was working as part of a team for seventy percent of the time. I often paired up with another lower ranked apprentice. Teaching and working with an apprentice is a great test. I needed to be able to express my thoughts logically and within reason without confusing them as most of the work and information is completely new to them.
I believe that my oral communication skills are proven to be very adequate as I would not of excelled in any of the jobs I have had up until now as they all have required enormous amounts of communication in a wide variety of situations. This is further reassured by both of my references the one from Karen Hornsby mentioning my maturity beyond my years in conversation and in the reference from Brett Ambrose my abilities when dealing with clients and sticky situations at work are praised.
As I have not been in an office type job or any heavy study since school my writing abilities are probably not to the same standard as most of the other university students. I believe that years of having to communicate often via
emails for work in a highly professional manner and that this PCA is some proof that I have adequate writing abilities.
Achievement and Experience
In 2009, while I was in year twelve at Mansfield State High School, I was picked to be part of a team that was to build a house to be the main exhibit at that years HIA Expo in Brisbane. The project was called the Adapt House by Latemore Design. It was a great experience in which I was included in all facets of the construction process, from welding the subfloor together through to putting on the roof. During this project is where I started to develop keen interest in the building industry and in modular housing as it was my first real involvement in it.
After the Adapt House I was certain that I wanted to work in the building industry. I had a fascination with the mighty structures that man could build. I just didn’t know what part of the building industry I wanted to work in. Once finishing school I started my carpentry apprenticeship. I worked the majority of my first year building new homes in the Brisbane area and found not a lot of interest or challenge to it at all. I then requested a transfer to a different company hoping I will be able to learn and participate in a wider variety of work. That was the best move I could have made.
I ended up working for Ambrose Building, a large insurance builder with an impeccable reputation for quality and satisfaction assurance. I worked my fingers to the bone for them and after a couple of months my hard work started to pay off. At first I was given minor tasks to organize jobs, predominantly work by myself. I showed a lot of initiative and drive while doing these and I thoroughly enjoyed what I was doing. Because of this, I was handed larger and more complicated tasks where I was not only organizing myself but other trades as well. Halfway through the second year of my apprenticeship I was teaching one of the estimators at work a few computer literacy basics. Seeing that I had skills in the field I was asked to help develop and improve their estimating programs. To do so I requested to be
able to learn more about what I was trying to improve.
For a couple of weeks I tagged along with another estimator learning the basics, asking as many questions as I could and trying my best not to make too many mistakes. I caught on quickly and was soon heading to sites estimating jobs ranging between $10 000 and $100 000 by myself. After a couple of months I had shown great improvements and was then able to go on estimating larger jobs going up to around $400 000. During each day of estimating I would take notes on different features and procedures on the program and how they needed to be added, removed or improved. This was all then brought up at the weekly office meetings that the estimators would have. The program ended up working cleanly and concisely, with very few faults overall.
I really enjoyed this part of the job and I was good at it. From then on still in my apprenticeship I was asked to supervise jobs estimate when they had too much work and also complete carpentry work. It was quite the balancing act but I managed, first priorities being the supervising, followed by the estimating and then the carpentry work as we always had plenty of carpenters for labor work. While going through the rest of my apprenticeship I was slowly groomed to become a fulltime estimator once I had finished my apprenticeship. The only really solid factors that stopped me from pursuing that career path was the lack of creativity involved and the repetitive nature of the work. Therefore I found Architecture very interesting and was keen to explore this.
I have also completed various low grade first aid courses through St Johns. This training has been quite useful while I have been working on construction sites. Working for Ambrose Building I was the unofficial first aid officer I just didn’t have to deal with any of the paperwork side. I would always get contacted first when an emergency situation was in motion and people were unsure of what to do as I have knowledge and a bit of experience in the field. A few major worksite injuries that I have had to temporarily treat were snake bites, a broken arm, broken wrists and ankles and lacerations via knives and an angle grinder. I have always really enjoyed helping people like this and it gives me great satisfaction when they have been properly taken care of. Due to my enjoyment and interest in first aid I still plan to study further into the field.
After I qualified as a carpenter I left my job for Ambrose Building due to the fact that I had worked away from home for three years straight and need a break and my social life back. I then started at a building firm in Brisbane called Carpentology. I was working on a multi-million dollar upgrade to a mining magnates property. While there I was mainly building the two aircraft hangers there. It was excellent to learn more of the commercial side to the building industry as I have not had all the much to do with it. I learnt more about the forces that applied to large structures, the different materials and products used in commercial work and the incredible designs that can be engineered to millimeter precision.
I have packed my life full of work in the past four years and doing so I have had to sacrifice a few personal pastimes and hobbies. One of these being AFL which I achieved quite well in. I played for the Springwood Pumas FC for seven years, getting heavily involved the the club. While there my team won three division one premierships and were runners up for another two. During my years there I won a few awards being, best and fairest twice, most improved once and the one pecenter on two other occasions. Although I haven’t played now for four years I try to stay an active member of the club.
Skills and knowledge
I haven’t completed a study skills course or any formal training for university preparation although I don’t believe that this will disadvantage me as I have ample self-discipline, the ability the apply myself very well and I know how to use the library to its fullest, I am very computer literate and the most important of all, I want to learn.
As I am computer literate, proof of this can be found in the attached letter of recommendation from Brett Ambrose and in this typed and printed essay. Not only am I proficient in those areas on the computer but I am also quite competent on a few design programs such as Revit and Google Sketchup. I enjoy drawing different urban designs as experimentation and I have so since starting my apprenticeship. I have always wanted to design and build my own house. I usually try to take ideas and inspiration from different types of living situations and environments (urban and rural), current buildings I have worked on and from places I have visited here and overseas. I then use the different programs to create a 3d image of the building. Being a qualified carpenter I also like to try and design different tools for around the worksite that would make life easier and safer. I feel it is one thing to sketch drawing but it really comes to life when you can create the 3d model. I also use Photoshop which might come in handy through architecture although I currently only use it for photo editing to my own pictures as photography Is another hobby of mine.
As for academic ability, the only real academia that I have been involved with, is what was required at TAFE, the STAT test that I participated in this year and the first aid certificates. Although I did not do extremely well in the verbal reasoning section of it, a percentile rank of 54, I feel I did quite well in the quantitive reasoning with a percentile rank of 97. I think that this will aid me with my future studies as all building design and anything to do with the constructions industry is always heavy on mathematics.
The aforementioned duties such as supervising for Ambrose Building helped me with my problem solving skills. Being solely renovation work we always have to match existing materials and appearances which can be sometimes difficult, especially when working on heritage buildings. For example the Hubringer Hall museum in Cardwell which was destroyed in Cyclone Yasi. We had to completely rebuild the structure to modern regulations whilst also retaining the heritage listing of the building as it was built in the 1890’s. The project took longer than expected but ended up a great success.
My abilities to analyse, organise information, evaluate and interpret issues were honed when I was estimating for Ambrose as mentioned beforehand. If I wasn’t able to create an accurate estimate based on the property and circumstances, the company would suffer financially on the project when going to undertake the works.
Going through my carpentry apprenticeship as I did and picking up all the extra skills and knowledge I have in the building industry and the maturity and experience I have from working in the real world, I feel it gives me a huge advantage over others applying for architecture. I think everyone should know how a house is built before they try and design one.