Identity Crisis

As an update to one of my previous posts, last week’s Twitter chat — moderated by NCARB — went extremely well, and I really enjoyed being a part of it. This being my first such chat, I have to say that it was an amazing thing to take part in an organized, moderated conversation with people from all across the United States, which really made me realize how powerful of a medium Twitter has become. I felt that I represented myself well and even made a few semi-profound statements that made me sound like I kinda-sorta even know what I’m talking about.

What I didn’t expect, however, was the permanence of that conversation. The transcript has already been published by NCARB, via Storify, and a slightly abridged version also appears on ARCHITECT’s website. As in, the magazine. Several of my tweets were featured. In ARCHITECT. As in, the magazine. Little old me, appearing in ARCHITECT? !!holycrap!!

Except it wasn’t me. My words, of course, conveying some of my thoughts on this crazy ride we call internship, but hidden behind an ambiguous handle (IDP_PA) with an equally ambiguous profile photo, the “Coordinators” graphic that I had stolen borrowed from NCARB’s website. That red dot in the middle makes me look more like a certain omnipresent sentient computer system from some science fiction movie, instead of the living, breathing human that I am.

20130907-150636.jpgHAL: It can only be attributable to human error.

Thanks, HAL. Who asked you, anyway?

A year ago, when I started this Twitter account, I had my reasons for using that graphic, and at the time, they made perfect sense. Even though I had just taken on the Coordinator role, I was already thinking of succession planning. I knew that the position was intentionally finite, and wanted to be sure that the next person would be able to step into it seamlessly. That meant a dedicated email address for inquiries, and a “nameless” Twitter feed — each completely separate from my personal accounts.

Now, here I am, my words unexpectedly appearing in ARCHITECT (as in the magazine!), with no connection to myself whatsoever. However noble those reasons might have seemed a year ago, now they look somewhat foolhardy… and maybe even a little stupid. I mean, this was a good opportunity for some exposure, and I’m essentially hiding behind a nondescript moniker!

20130907-150636.jpgHAL: Look Dave, I can see you’re really upset about this. I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill, and think things over.

Thanks for the suggestion, HAL. And stop calling me Dave. (Even my profile picture doesn’t know my real name… Sheesh.)

So, over the the course of the past week, I’ve made the executive decision to update both my profile picture and my profile name to represent me as a person, not the position that I hold. (My Twitter handle — and email address — remains the same, for obvious reasons.)

20130907-150636.jpgHAL: I’m sorry, Dave, but I can’t allow you to do that.

Well, gee, I’m sorry, HAL, but you don’t get a vote (and seriously — stop calling me Dave!). Maybe it’s too much of a change all at once, but then again, I never claimed to be a Twitter expert. Learning as I go, here, people… learning as I go.

So, thanks for representing me for the past year or so, HAL, but I’ll take it from here.

Wait — is that “Daisy” I hear…?

This post borrows very heavily from Kubrick’s masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey… So if you haven’t seen it, you might not get it. HAL’s quotes are taken from IMDB.

Breaking News

Lots happening in cyberspace these days… Time for an update.

First and foremost, in a post on their Facebook page yesterday, NCARB has announced that the ARE Scheduling Blackout, which has been in effect since June 30, is rapidly drawing to a close. Record data for more than 90,000 candidates – including name and contact information, candidate numbers, eligibility history, rolling clock information, and test history — has been migrated to NCARB’s new records management vendor, Alpine Testing Solutions. Although “My Examination” has not officially launched, ARE candidates can start scheduling exams (via the “My NCARB” button on the council’s website) while the new system continues to be tested. Any ARE candidates (particularly those of you in Pennsylvania) who are logging in to use the new system for the first time, I would appreciate it if you would drop me a line (or leave a comment) and let me know what you think of the new interface. (Not needing to take the exam means that I have no way of testing it out on my own…)

Secondly, NCARB will be hosting the latest installment of the ongoing “AIA Chat” series on Twitter next week. I had already made plans to join in, but since I have been officially called out by NCARB (which I found quite flattering), you can be sure that I will be making a guest appearance. The chat will take place Wednesday, September 4th at 2pm ET — be sure to follow along using the hashtag “#aiachat,” and feel free to join the conversation!

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Lastly, my Twitter spam has gotten much more creative. I got a really good chuckle out of the idea of an appearance in a Drake video — I knew those twerking lessons i bought on LivingSocial would come in handy!! (I’m long since done with IDP, but I imagine I’d receive a lifetime’s worth of Community Service hours by declining this particular request.)

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Happy Labor Day Weekend to all — enjoy the last few days of our waning summer! Back to the grind next week!

Miami Heat

I can’t believe it, but over a week has already gone by since the annual gathering of IDP Coordinators at the very appropriately named IDP Coordinators’ Conference (note: catching up after missing a few days of work makes blogging about it very difficult). As with last year, I was looking forward to the opportunity to catch up with my peers and gain more understanding of what my role entails… but a little concerned over my potential to burst into flame while doing so. The conference had shifted locations this year to Miami, and I wasn’t exactly built for the heat.

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Why, hello there, Miami…

While I missed Chicago, I’ve never been to Miami, so I was grateful for the opportunity to visit. I even managed to convince Mrs. IDP-PA to come along, without too much kicking and screaming (Mr: “You do realize that I’ll be tied up with the conference most of the time, right?” Mrs: “Actually, that’s the part I’m looking forward to.” It’s this brutal honesty that really makes our relationship work.) I have to admit, I wasn’t sure if Miami and I were really going to get along (Case in point: while packing up last week, looking over the hotel’s website for things to do while we’re there, one of the suggestions was as follows: “When you’re in Miami, it’s all about image. Rent the newest Lamborghini Gallardo, pull up in front of the trendiest Nightclub and get the full VIP treatment.” Uhm, yeah. Considering that I’m more of a “Jump in my Subaru Legacy, find a parking spot at Target, and be home in time for ‘Pawn Stars’” kind of a guy, this didn’t seem to bode well.), but as it turned out, we managed just fine.

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No pressure here! As long as Windows isn’t scheduled for an update, I should be just fine…

This year’s conference included a panel discussion on the role social media can play in educating aspiring architects about IDP, ARE, and licensure, presented by NCARB’s Samantha Miller and yours truly. I hear that it went well — I actually have no idea, since I “blacked out a little” while speaking, like Will Farrell in Old School. (Actually, I do remember, and will probably base a later post on at least some of it.) The crowd of nearly 200 was by far the largest that I have ever presented in front of, and I sincerely thank the gang at NCARB for the opportunity.

Here are ten things I learned at the 2013 IDPCC:

10. Despite a complete overhaul (increasing its clarity and tying it more closely to the Experience Categories in IDP), and offering numerous opportunities in all experience areas, hardly anyone enrolled in IDP is utilizing the Emerging Professionals Companion. (Roughly 1,000 out of over 70,000 record holders have reported credit earned from the EPC.). Expect a post about this in the near future.

IMG_13749. NCARB has some excellent swag — the beach ball was an inspired touch. And those foil-wrapped chocolates of theirs are insanely addictive.

8. Very few young professionals are taking advantage of the opportunities for Supplemental Experience. (Students, on the other hand, are fully engaged with this aspect of IDP.)

7. Five intelligent, articulate, well-educated coordinators, along with their significant others, each armed with a smart phone equipped with sophisticated global positioning applications, cannot locate a local well-reviewed Thai restaurant less than a mile from the hotel. It defies logic.

6. I have no idea if an IDP 3.0 is anywhere in our near future, but if we ever move in that direction, we’ll have plenty of excellent ideas to draw from. The participants in last December’s Intern Think Tank completely blew me away with their blue-sky ideas of how the internship process could be improved upon… while, at the same time, admitting that our current model is working pretty well. Fascinating stuff from a really impressive group. (And if any of you reading this have any ideas of your own, get ready to share them at this year’s event.)

20130804-210542.jpg5. If the name of your hotel contains the word “Kimpton,” it’s going to be pretty swank. Gorgeous rooms, friendly staff, and a free wine happy hour in the lobby, every day — how could you possibly go wrong? The Allegro in Chicago was pretty impressive, but Miami’s Epic takes the cake.

4. Semantics can be a pretty important thing. I (very publicly) made the comment that there are nine schools of architecture in Pennsylvania — which simply means nine locations that I should be trying to visit, in order to connect with students — but that statement isn’t correct. PA actually has 9 universities with architectural programs — 6 of which are accredited schools of architecture, 2 non-accredited undergraduate programs, and 1 applicant for NAAB status (a process that takes three years). Open mouth, insert foot. Sigh. Live and learn. (And for those of you that heard me say it, consider this my official retraction.)

3. Pecha-kucha style “20×20” presentations were an efficient — and entertaining — way of sharing some personal perspectives on the internship process. These five presentations were very as unique as the individuals giving them, and a great way to close out the two-day conference.

installing-update_sf 2. Even while using a laptop computer running Microsoft PowerPoint in presentation mode, while speaking in front of an audience of roughly 200 people, you are not immune to the debilitating effects of a scheduled software upgrade. Windows Updater, apparently, trumps all. (Thank goodness for the immediate response from NCARB’s customer service team, Martin Smith and Guillermo Ortiz de Zarate!)

1. Cheating a little, since this is actually something that I learned last year, but the apathy level in this group is zero. I am honored to be included in such an intelligent, energetic, and motivated group of individuals, each of whom have devoted so much time and energy toward the development of our next generation of architects (and on a volunteer basis, to boot). I’ve truly been inspired by these people, and look forward to spending another few days with them next year. Lamborghini Gallardo optional.