Sunday, August 5, 2012
I'm very excited to say that my program at the University of Pennsylvania starts tomorrow! I've spent the past few days getting everything set up, including buying a bicycle and learning how to use the city's public transportation system. I seem to be in a great location - this morning I biked to the Philadelphia Museum of Art in about 15 minutes. This is shaping up to be a fantastic experience.
Monday, July 30, 2012
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Unfortunately, the cost of attending the University of Pennsylvania for graduate school is on a whole other order of magnitude and my remaining GI bill will only cover a fraction. The annual cost of tuition for a Master of Landscape Architecture degree at UPenn is over $43,000 - and the program lasts three years! I was counting on receiving the Yellow Ribbon Program scholarship offered to veterans, which would have covered much more of my tuition. Unfortunately I found out at the last minute that I did not receive it.
It would have been easy to simply lower my head and despair, but instead I took action. With about two weeks remaining until the start of the semester, I contacted the other universities that I had been accepted to and informed them of my situation. I asked if there was any possibility that I might still be admitted to their programs if things did not work out with Penn, either this year or next. Within 24 hours, every school I contacted responded with an offer to admit me this year with no problems.
I let Penn know that I had other options, and included the responses from the other schools in my email. Within a matter of hours, Penn increased my school scholarship by $15k, and also let me know that I would be eligible for a TA position in my second and third year ($2k per year).
If you're heading to college, you need to be ready to fight for your scholarships. Once you have been accepted, you know that the school wants you and has chosen you over hundreds of other applicants. And if you are accepted to multiple schools, then you have increased bargaining power. For this reason, I would suggest that anyone applying to top schools also apply to some less prestigious schools, simply because the more schools you get into the more bargaining power you potentially have. I don't know the minds of financial aid and admission department administrators, but I would imagine that they would appreciate individuals who show this level of tenacity in requesting scholarships - it speaks to one's character. And it works!
Monday, July 9, 2012
Monday, July 2, 2012
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
I got my first smartphone about a month ago, and I'm only now realizing just how powerful it is. Hopefully now that I've downloaded the blogger app for android I will be able to post more and create better content for this site.
This post, in fact, is coming from my android phone and I'm not even typing! I'm just talking to my phone and it's typing it all out for me. It's amazingly easy!
Monday, June 25, 2012
Saturday, June 23, 2012
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Monday, June 18, 2012
Thursday, June 14, 2012
- 1 block cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 pint cottage cheese
- 1 small container cherry tomatoes
- 1 small box frozen broccoli
- 1 bag elbow macaroni
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Thursday, April 12, 2012
Yesterday I confirmed my acceptance to the University of Pennsylvania's three-year Master of Landscape Architecture program. I travelled to Philadelphia last week and attended Penn's open house, and was very impressed by the faculty and organization of the program. Although I am sad at the prospect of leaving my beloved Austin, I am excited to study under the likes of James Corner, Laurie Olin, Anuradha Mathur, and others. Arriving at this point has been one of the great journeys and challenges of my life, and has involved more than a little stress, anxiety, and sacrifice. It is my intention to revamp this website in order to better document my future experiences in landscape architecture, and I am also working on a video series entitled "Gaining Acceptance to Top MLA Programs".
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
I purchased this plant yesterday from The Great Outdoors as a gift for a teacher who wrote me a recommendation letter. I like the rich coloring and shape of the small leaves, and it should do well both inside and outside.
Temperature: 55 to 85F. Can tolerate 50 degrees without damage.
Water: The Goldfish plant likes to be kept moist but can get a little dry between waterings in winter. Leaves enjoy frequent misting if possible.
Humidity: High to very high. (I am going to place a tray of pebbles and water under the pot to increase humidity in Austin's dry climate.)
Sunday, March 4, 2012
Thursday, March 1, 2012
It's not the end of the world if I don't get into UPenn. I've already been accepted to A&M and I feel confident that I'll be accepted to UT. It would just be cool to go to an Ivy League school with a prestigious MLA program. Hopefully work at the nursery and my new vegetable garden project will help assuage my college acceptance anxiety.
Monday, February 27, 2012
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
- Craft a decent resumé. This should be a no-brainer for any job-seeker, but I feel I should mention it because these jobs can be more competitive than you might think. I used a resumé template with green font that came with MS Word for Mac to create a very snazzy looking resumé. (The green font looks more professional than it sounds.)
- Know the hiring season. Selling plants is a season-driven business, and employees are typically hired in groups before the growing season begins. In Austin this hiring season is mid-January to mid-February.
- Know your local plants. Nurseries and garden centers like to see that you have some very basic knowledge of plants, and that you are somewhat familiar with the species commonly sold in your area. I was asked multiple times about this stuff, and studied up to make myself a more competitive applicant. Some universal questions you should know the answers to include:
- what are the primary soil nutrients that plants need?
- what is the difference between an annual and a perennial?
- what are some plant species you commonly find in gardens in your area?
- what are common pests in your area?
- what can you add to soil to adjust pH balance? - etc.
Friday, February 3, 2012
I haven't been keeping up with this blog much in the past few months, primarily because I have been going through a time of great transition, risk, and uncertainty. I originally began posting as a way to document my road to becoming an architect, but with the recent situation I feared that I would not succeed in my attempt and therefore had no business writing a blog about it. Sure, the blog might still serve purpose as a source of "what not to do," but that would not be fun to write. Yesterday I received notification that I was accepted to the Master of Landscape Architecture program at Texas A&M University, and now feel that I can (and should) resume my postings.
This news marks the beginning of a new chapter in my life, a point at which I have turned off the well-traveled road and found myself walking deeper into a mysterious wood; Nothing is certain except the I knowledge that I am just where I need to be. Stay tuned and I will explain how a guy with an atypical background and relatively low undergraduate GPA succeeded in being accepted to one of the top-ranked landscape architecture programs in the country.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.