Brian, a second-year student in the Architectural Technology program at Mohawk College, is proof that change isn’t only possible – it can improve your life.
Brian had spent many years working in the environmental field before deciding it was time for a change. “I was in more of a planning role. When I was reviewing planning applications, I always saw the way people could do things better,” says Brian. “But I didn't have the ability to say more than it ‘doesn't meet the policy.’ I knew I wanted to have more of an impact. I wanted to be on the other side. The design side rather than the application side.”
Brian knew he wanted to be the one submitting architectural plans, not just reviewing them for implementation. He just needed to figure out how, and Mohawk College was there to help. Brian saw returning as a mature student as an advantage to making the change he wanted in life. “I think as a mature student, I'm quite used to not having summers off of work,” says Brian. “So, I looked at it as ‘Why do I need a summer off?’ I want to get through my program and get my credentials as quickly as I can.”
While Brian knew his goal, he didn’t know if he had what it took to be successful in the program until he got started. “The part that I was most nervous about, I've always been a math and science guy, I debated for a long time about taking an architecture program because I knew I could figure out the science of it,” said Brian. “The nerves came from; how creative do I have to be? How much of an artist do I have to be? Having an understanding of the different architectural styles and getting an appreciation for them is going to be helpful with creativity.”
As a student in the January intake, Brian attended classes throughout the summer and started his third semester in the fall, providing a seamless learning experience without breaks. “I'd recommend a January start. It's tailored. Coming from my background where I wasn't coming straight out of high school, it allowed for flexibility,” he says.
Brian believes that during the January intake, professors are more accessible. “There’s more of a relaxed feeling in class, and people are more approachable,” he says. “You've got more elbow room in the classes, and nobody feels like rushing off, so you have a chance to chat with your classmates or the faculty. You just get a little more face time and one-on-one time with people. “
Through his program, Brian has earned a placement with the City of Hamilton working on the other end of his old job. “I've actually got a job at the City Hamilton in the building department. It seems like a really great spot to get my foot in the door.”
Since he’s reached his goal, Brian is curious what it will be like now that he’s on the other end of the process he had been completing for years. “I have a little bit of an understanding of how the review process goes, but it's going to be completely different from the other end,” he says. “We used to receive plans that had already been through the building department, but now I'm going to be on that end of it. I'm hoping with my previous experience that I'll get to fast track through it a little bit and not just be photocopying.”
While Brian is unsure exactly what his new role holds, he is sure about one thing: he has no regrets about going back to school.
“It's been one of the best decisions of my life so far. It's been a great program. I've learned a lot, and I'm only a third of the way in, so there's lots of room to grow. I'm very excited for where it's going to go.”