In one month, I will be presenting my dissertation at the University of Hawaii at Manoa School of Architecture Spring 2016 Doctorate Project Presentations.

Yes, I definitely got through it all… but not quite done yet!

This has been the most difficult, crazy, yet invigorating experience of my life yet. I would not force any person to get their masters or doctorate unless they really wanted it, and loved their field. Don’t get me wrong, I love Architecture. But this… this pushed every limit possible of my sanity, and my physical well-being. I can’t even imagine what other doctorate candidates go through when the time it takes to get their doctorate degree is around at least 4-7 years.

So, was it worth it? It was. I grew in ways, I couldn’t have imagined. The program as a whole – from zero knowledge of architecture coming from a business marketing background, to a full fledged doctor of architecture candidate.

Education is, and has always been, what you make of it. I learned more about myself, my capabilities, exceeded what I thought I was capable of. I learned the most from my classmates/studiomates. I admired them in many ways, different things in each of them. My architecture education has opened my mind to many opportunities on how to apply creativity and creative thinking. Architecture education and architecture as a profession demands a well-rounded and highly diverse skill set – everything from writing, reading, graphic visualization, presenting, client relations, and more. We are expected to know so much, and a general knowledge of almost everything. This is what I love about it though. Diversity is strength.

I should start working on my presentation…

I have been into self-improvement books lately, or what I like to call — opening your mind and exploring other ways to think.

I have recently listened to Tina Fey’s audiobook called BossyPants. First, I love Tiny Fey. I think she is so great, and funny.

This was not a self-improvement book, it more revolved around some of the stories she chose to share with her readers. Entertaining for me, since she was actually the one to be reading her audiobook!

There was one part that hit me though. It was actual advice that I understood and could apply in my life. She related life to improv comedy.

She states that in improv, you learn to say yes, but always contribute something to the situation. She states great examples which I am not going to get into because I would just make a fool out of myself trying to make a funny example. But the point is…

If we say yes to things in life, don’t just be a YES man or woman, contribute something to it in which you would be satisfied with the result too.

How Tina Fey related improv comedy to the way we all should be responding and reacting in life was truly inspiring for me. I have to keep reminding myself to think this way. *notes on life*

I believe you can act in two ways.

You can choose to shoot down someone’s idea, and be that guy.

Or you can choose to point out weak points, and add valuable points to strengthen and support the idea/individual.

I have just received an email from a principal architect from great local firm that he’s unsure if my D.Arch topic is considered “research.” For a split second, I was like, “wooowww.” But after thinking it over a couple minutes after, I can’t say I’m truly offended because I do know that I will meet people who do not see the value in my research and how it is relevant to them. I have accepted it. It’s impossible to please everyone, and I am not even going to try to please everyone. All I can do is focus on my goals at hand, and hopefully get support from those who believe in my research on the way.

spencer leineweber

I found out yesterday that my professor and chair of our graduate program at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, School of Architecture, has passed recently. Spencer Leineweber was one of the very few professors at my school who genuinely cared for the students – our education and future careers. Spencer was inspirational with all of her experiences, research, knowledge, and passion for architecture and historical preservation. I always had tremendous respect for her, and only wish I had more time to learn from her. I still can’t believe this happened. Her husband passed last year, and no doubt, she must have missed him deeply.

I hope I will still be here for her funeral, and hope I am able to attend.

I really feel like the world has lost someone who was doing her part to make the world a better place. 

Spencer, you have made a difference in the world. Although I’ve only known you for a short period of time, I am happy and honored to have known you.

me and dad 1

Dear Dad,

Thank you, thank you, and thank you. Growing up, I did not fully understand what it took to keep a family together and keep a family happy. A big part of my positive upbringing was because of you, but of course, it took two – you and mom. I can’t believe what you have achieved given your upbringing in another country (3rd world country), it takes a tremendous mind to take on what you had in your lifetime and still have hope for a happy wonderful life. Life scares me because I often think of how hard you had to work to get where you are today. But I’ll be OK knowing that you are and have always been my number one supporter. You have never told me I couldn’t do anything and never let me give excuses, instead, you have always told me to go for it – who knows what will happen… you always have to try – it’s what you have always told me. This has become the one thing that repeats in my head when I don’t think I should do something, or am contemplating on making a decision with risks.

I love you daddy.

I am your money tree that you have invested in, don’t worry, I will bear fruit soon.