I don’t know why I was expecting to see the crisp white NCARB envelope as I flipped through the stack of statements and magazines, perhaps it’s some sort of ARE sixth sense that one develops over the course of the process. That or, after all of the exams, I’ve finally learned how to listen to my gut. And just as I had expected, there the unmistakeable blue striped envelope sat at the bottom of the stack.
For the first time in all of the result openings, I hesitated.
Walking out of the exam I had felt that I did a decent job, better than the first attempt, but still not sure if it was good enough. As the week went on I scribbled notes to myself on concepts to remember to focus on should I be faced with a third round of studying. As I waited for the results, exam specifics blended into an overall sense of uncertainty, followed by an overwhelming wave of peace. The worst that could happen would be that I would fail again, and then try even harder. As I looked at the envelope these two weeks of emotions all surged through my system once more in rapid succession. First the fear, then the peace.
My finger slid through the fold of the envelope. I peeked inside.
About a year ago, as I prepared for the structures exam, I caught myself daydreaming about the feeling of euphoria one must experience when getting their final pass letter. Are there tears of joy? Squeals of excitement? Does the weight of the ARE albatross hanging around one’s neck suddenly disappear? Whatever the feeling it must be glorious. As my moment arrived it was a strange amalgamation of those things, a deep exhale of relief while blinking back a tear. Upon reaching the light at the end of the tunnel one is enveloped in a warm sun lit glow of a perfect summer’s day. It’s the most intimate and yet all encompassing feeling. It’s not big or flashy, it’s simply tranquil.
There really is no fanfare at this point, I’m proud for accomplishing the seven exam feat and excited to finish up my IDP and state board requirements to finally get the license in hand. Then we’ll party. But until that day arrives I’m grateful for the success of passing, amazed at the amount I’ve grown as an [almost] architect, and humbled by all of you who have joined me along the way. I started writing this blog to keep track of a personal quest and never expected to reach the end of the journey with so many new colleagues and friends. I’ve been touched by your stories and encouraged by your words. To me, it’s incredible how an examination that is so highly individualized manages to bring us all together.
It’s been an honor to share my AREndurance with you and I thank you for sharing yours with me.