And So It Shall Begin

One week from today, I will board an Amtrak train, the Surfliner, and travel to Union Station in Los Angeles.  From there, I will take the Gold Line light rail to a neighborhood between Pasadena and Glendale (though the hotel staff liked to refer to its location as being in Glendale).  I will be taking an earlier train than I’d intended, but all of the reserved seats had already been taken on the afternoon trains that I preferred.  I suppose I could try to take one of the afternoon trains, taking an unreserved seat, but since those seats are not guaranteed, I’d be worried that no seats would be available at all, and that I’d be left with traveling on Friday night, arriving in LA very late, leaving me too tired for the all-day class on Saturday.  On Saturday, I will have an early breakfast (as early as it’ll be available, as my room rate comes with breakfast), then take a taxi into Pasadena for the first of two classes.  The course is a preparatory class for sitting for the LEED Green Associate Exam, which I hope to pass on the first go.  It’s $250 per attempt, but more than that, my continuing my vocational rehabilitation plan depends upon passing.  I am hoping to pass this calendar year, so that I may begin, in January, to take the computer software classes that will make me more employable.

There is quite a bit riding on this exam, and, naturally, I’m nervous.  One young man whom I met in a seminar at the Energy Innovation Center (on LEED Core Concepts) is studying to take the Green Associate exam and the Neighborhood Development Specialty exam in the next month.  We commiserated about how it is nearly impossible to find a job in architecture without holding some LEED accreditation, with the minimum being a Green Associate designation after one’s name.  Accreditation requires maintenance, as well.  There are, thankfully, free seminars that provide continuing education credits which one can use for the purpose of maintaining one’s accreditation.  In the past, I’ve already attended a number of these seminars, but since I was not (yet) a “LEED Professional,” I was merely enjoying learning the material.  Yes, I’m a little bit of a nerd…

The thing that will make the exam difficult for me is the terminology.  The difference between “integrated” and “integrative,” among other very specific semantics, will likely be tested.  I’ve had a mixed relationship with semantics, because, in some ways, I’m very nit-picky when it comes to certain definitions, but less so with others.  In some instances, I’m willing to accept the “well, you know what I mean,” notion of language, and in others, I’m insistent that no, I don’t know that is meant when the wrong word (or form of a word) is used.  This difference, specifically, if I understand it correctly, is that a method can be integrated into a process, whereas the entire process itself is integrative because it has the quality of being made up of several integrated disciplines.  In other words, architecture is, itself, an integrative profession because it encompasses so many different knowledge bases.  I’ve heard the phrase that an architect is, in essence, a “master of all trades,” having to take into account all of the various specifics that go into the construction of a building.

I will make the return trip, after each Saturday (the two first consecutive ones next month), in the evening after class, likely exhausted and sleepy.  I will need to keep at least part of myself awake so that I can listen for the announcement when the train reaches my stop, Sorrento Valley, since I will be leaving my car there to return home, since parking there is free.  Catching the train there saves me travel, since I don’t have to go all the way downtown to get the train at Santa Fe Station, and time, since I don’t have to travel further to get to the train at all.  Taking it “on its way” heading north.

I’m excited and nervous…  And, as I’ve already said, though I don’t believe in it, you can wish me luck.


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