Thesis: Cal Poly Architecture
Thesis. It's a small word but a big project. And I don't know about other schools, but Cal Poly Architecture's thesis is a year-long commitment, research study, internal struggle, love-hate relationship, emotional roller coaster, interdisciplinary piece of work. With supportive professors and a humanitarian organization and professional mentors to keep me on my feet, I am proud to present the longest project I've ever worked on, the Dream Soccer Academy.
Dream Soccer Academy is an orphanage and soccer academy located in a small agricultural town in the soccer-loving country of Cameroon. You can read lots more about this project over on my architecture portfolio page, and in my thesis book down below.
I want to thank Daniel and Journeyman International for encouraging me to do humanitarian work, and giving my project a real purpose. I'm grateful for Dahiru and DSA Cameroon, for inspiring me with their mission to help children in need, allowing them to dream, and trusting my visions. Much love to my professional mentors, David and Paige from RRM and Michelle and Justin from BAR Architects, for taking the time to meet with me over the months to guide me in the design process. And my team, Simon and Gary, for bringing my project to engineering and construction reality. It's been so rewarding working on a project with others, knowing you'll always have people that understand and support your journey.
Our thesis shows turned out wonderfully. (Thank you friends who stopped by to support!) But words can't begin to describe my surprise during the architecture graduation ceremony when my professors presented me with one of the AIA Design Awards. Whaaaat?!?
This is for the five years of doubt, the "I'm not good enough"s, the crying phone calls to mom, the shame I felt for not spending enough time in studio, the lingering anxiety of being an impostor, and for lovely Professor Howard Weisenthal, who once told me I'm not a good architecture student and should probably switch out of this major.
Only this year did I realize that putting on a facade, bragging about how much excessive time you spend in studio, talking big, or flaunting your expensive tools and models has nothing to do what you're worth as a student, as a designer, as a person. What matters is your innate nature to truly care about the human condition, to design for them, think about helping other people besides yourself (for once), and work your freaking ass off behind closed doors.
I know you shouldn't rely on seeking validation from others, but this little piece of paper is forever a reminder to myself that anything is possible. Seriously, anything. (Like look at me, I have an architecture degree 😂) You fake it til you make it, guys.
I made it.
And with that, I want to thank Cal Poly Architecture for the best college education I could ask for, for pushing my limits and teaching us to expand our learning into all kinds of other subjects. I'm so proud to be an architecture student. We get to create, design, engineer, build, present, and excel in so many fields. A huge thank you to my peers, for always inspiring me to be better. Y'all are so amazingly talented.
A farewell to architecture (at least for now). You've taught me so much about hard work, being creative and resourceful, and allowed me to experience creating something that could permanently change people's lives.