My Dream Career

Luis Alava

Dream Career

When I was a kid, my favorite toys to play with were Lego blocks. I used to spend hours just exploring and building anything with those blocks. I felt free and happy just imagining all the possibilities I could create. As I was growing up, I learned that my father was an architect. At first, I didn’t understand what an architect did, but as time went by, I was intrigued by the drawings and the “real-life” construction work he was involved in. This was as exciting as playing with Lego blocks.

Then, in November of 1999, my family and I decided to start a new life here in New York City; I was 10 years old. As a kid, I managed to adjust accordingly to this new lifestyle. But unfortunately, my father’s case was not the same. As an architect not from the United States, my father had a horrible transition. He was no longer working in his field, and the change in language hit him the hardest.

Coming from a Spanish-speaking country, Ecuador, we had to learn a new language, a new culture and eventually new laws. My father had to work in factories and couldn’t practice his profession as he did in Ecuador. This change in life also changed my education and interests. I was no longer just interested in one thing, but instead, I found myself liking different areas of studies, such as; science, psychology, math, etc. Sadly, architecture was no longer a priority for me.

As time went by, I decided to study civil engineering. Unfortunately, it wasn’t my best interest. Instead, I ended up switching majors a few times, leaving school for a few years, and later come back in 2017 to finish my degree at City College in New York, in Bachelor of Science with a Psychology major. At this point, I was an adult still trying to figure out what to do with my life. Then, in the same year, I realized that I had neglected my original career path, just to explore different areas of study. So, in Fall 2017, I decided to enroll at the New York City College of Technology, in the Architectural Technology program. This was the only way to start from zero, a new career path, and become what I always wanted since I was a kid, a Licensed architect. City Tech has given me the tools and education needed to reach my goal. Semester by semester the professors and the education I had, has inspired me and made me more passionate about the profession.

As a 30-year-old man, my dream career has changed a few times. After going through many loops in life, I believed I am finally on the right path. After completing my degree at City Tech, my next step would be to work at an architecture firm and continue my education towards a Master of Architecture (M. Arch.). Then, after a few years of experience and some exams, I would apply for the architecture license and eventually work towards my goal of owning a firm. This dream career has been in my mind ever since I began playing with Legos, and even though the path has not always been straight, it is never too late to follow your dreams, especially if you know the dream is worth waiting for. The key is patience.

2 thoughts on “My Dream Career”

  1. Luis, I’m so sorry to hear about your father’s experiences. Too many newcomers don’t know there are paths to practicing their profession. Language can be a big handicap.

    I was much older than you when I started to study architecture. I was a psychiatric social worker. You’ll find that your maturity and background in psychology will help you understand and deal with clients and other workers.

  2. Luis, I didn’t know your father was an Architect. That is interesting how the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I spoke about how my mother and uncle are artistically talented and my uncle actually attended Pratt to study Architecture, but had to withdraw due to financial issues. As an adolescent, I spent hours and hours… and hours on Sims, not playing with the characters, but building multiple houses! That game was addicting. I would like to know more about the diverse side of Architecture moving forward.

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