And there's a Masters of Architecture degree to prove it.
2 years ago, in August of 2008, Jonathan and I (and I do say the both of us, because if you have ever been through ANY type of degree program while married, you certainly realize that both partners go through it) began the journey to becoming one step closer to his title of, Jonathan Edens, AIA.
As long as I have known him, Architect was his goal.
In 5th grade, if you asked Jonathan what he wanted to be when he grew up, the answer would always be.....architect.
He is one of very few people that I have ever encountered to set a goal at such an early age and never waver from it. Ever. Everything he has done in one way or another has led him to where he is right now, completing his MArch degree, and ready to take the next step.
The process to become a licensed architect is not only misunderstood, but also underestimated. The time, effort, studies, and sacrifices are somewhat comparable to obtaining a doctorate. And even furthermore, there is the misconception that the pay is comparable to what those in the doctorate field are paid (not even close....think much lower).
And now that he has completed the rigorous 6 years of combined graduate and undergraduate studies, he must begin a series of 7 tests, known as the ARE, which to no surprise, are not free and not cheap.
At this point, he is basically a little over halfway there.
It must also be said that, these past 2 years have been many things to us.
While the MArch degree has afforded us opportunities, experiences, and relationships that we couldn't have gotten anywhere else, and cherish with every bone in our body, it was definitely not an easy road.
We were married July 19, 2008, left for our honeymoon, returned home, and in a mere 10 days, we moved to downtown Charleston to begin the 1st semester of graduate school at the C.A.C.C. Now, while Charleston is a beautiful city with much to offer, if you can imagine, it might be the ideal place for newlyweds.....that is of course, if you don't count the fact that said newlyweds will never see one another. And when I say never, I mean never. As in, the husband will come home at 4AM on Saturday and Friday nights only to sleep 2 hours, then get right back up at 6AM to return to studio (not including the ridiculous weeknight hours). This happened every single weekend.
The C.A.C.C. program is the most demanding semester of the MArch degree, and if you were to ask Jonathan if would he like to take a trip to Charleston now, his answer is (and will remain for at least a few years I am sure), "uh.....heck no." We now say that, if our marriage (especially at the newlywed stage) could survive that, we can survive anything.
This was and continued to be a trend throughout the remainder of his graduate program. Luckily, we dated throughout our undergraduate programs, so I was accustomed to the demands of studio on an architecture major. However, it's completely different when you're married, and moreso, newlyweds.
I say all of this not to complain, but to remember how humbling the experience was. We learned a lot about ourselves and one another (which, when you've dated 8 years prior to marrying, aside from the obvious things, you can imagine that there wouldn't be much more to find out); how we handle frustration, how we should handle frustration and anger, how to effectively communicate with one another, and so much more.
Now at the end of the graduate degree road and looking back and taking the time to reflect, I realize that, while it felt like the hardest and at times, worst experience, I am thankful for every second of the past 2 years (even Charleston).
It has made us the couple that we are today and has made us better spouses, friends, and hopefully, better Christians.
Fall semester, 2008, Charleston
Spring Semester, 2009, Italy
Fall semester, 2009, Clemson
Spring semester, 2010, Clemson
May 7th, 2010 was a wonderful day in the lives of the Edens. My husband moved one step closer to achieving his lifelong goal. Throughout his entire experience he consistently exuded diligence, determination, discipline, integrity, and perseverance.
And I have never been more proud of him.