Designing redundant, boring, practical buildings got me over the hump!
by Jerryn J. McCray, AIA
I was the best and worst intern ever. I was skilled, talented, ambitious, arrogant and black. I wasn’t designed to make it. I was often the only one and I was consistently pissing off my bosses. I was completing tasks at a high level but there was no way I would ever be promoted (due to my “attitude”) without credentials.
I WENT TO WORK
I started studying immediately after an audit by NCARB. Apparently, I fulfilled the IDP requirements suspiciously fast and they had to shake me down. This was 2005. I escaped Auburn University in 2002 (3 years flat). Whatever… I studied every day. I studied every night. I studied on weekends. I passed the first two exams with ease.
I HIT A WALL
No one ever told me many of the correct answers would require actual experience. I flunked the first structures exam because I simply didn’t know what the hell I was doing. No amount of studying and grit (arrogance) could make up for the fact that I was 26 years old and knew more about craft beer and rendering software than I did about a building’s structural logic. My job title was “designer”, which equated to a cartoonist for sleek boxes with windows.