As far as I remember myself, I have always been fascinated by the things that seem too usual and mundane for the majority of people, so they tend to overlook them – I mean the houses we live in, how they are constructed, how they look, how the skills of building them developed over time. After graduating from high school, I decided to further develop my connection with this subject by applying to an architecture department of a community college, where I managed to expand my knowledge and place it on a specialized theoretical foundation.
In 2005 I participated in a workshop introducing a project about Battery City Park, NY. It was this workshop that first showed me that my interests were wider than just architecture – I became increasingly attracted to the urban studies and planning in general. This experience led me to understanding that urban studies, especially in our diversified cultural environment, are not limited to building and construction; they are also influenced by scores of other disciplines, such as economics, management and sociology. I realized that it was urban design that effectively covered my new sphere of interests, so I decided to pursue a career in this field.
As a result of this, I started to pay more attention to a wide spectrum of urban studies and planning. On the one hand, one cannot shrug off the pragmatic aspect of the question in our age of rapidly growing cities and overall urbanization of the world, caused by fundamental changes in the world’s economics. On the other hand, such aspects as historical and cultural backgrounds, social development and so on also contribute to the existence of such concept as the city.
Urban design consists of many aspects and trends, and I suppose that I already had to deal with it, although not on a large scale, when I redesigned the dorm in 2005. I hope that knowledge of various constituent parts of a larger whole is a valuable knowledge when you start to learn about it. If a building is a part of the city and good urban planning presupposes efficient distribution and usage of public space, then the experience of working with smaller units may prove useful when working with larger ones.
At the present moment I hope to continue my study of the subject under the guidance of the excellent professors at this university. I have studied a lot of information concerning various Urban Studies and Planning courses across the country, but still decided that the ones offered by UCSD will prove the best for applying and developing my skills and abilities. In the long run, I think, there is no better place that makes me a valuable asset both for myself and the people around me.
I think it would be true to say that the experience I feel to be one of the most important in my life was the time when I participated in a UNESCO’s project at Baran Bannan as a volunteer. Not only the architecture there was amazing; I was really impressed by the way the traditional cultural background mingles with modern life and later developments in social and economical spheres. My interest for urban studies and planning has been further incited, for I couldn’t help but think about how one can apply such an experience in other places, how challenging and interesting it is to create conditions that would let that past and the present coexist in the boundaries of one city.
Another experience that I recount as one of the most significant throughout my school years (and also the one that makes me most proud) is the fact that I have been appointed the Master of Ceremonies for three years in a row. It was an excruciating experience in the beginning, for I felt terribly uneasy standing in front of all my schoolmates and faculty. But this feeling of embarrassment became the motive power for me to move on and fight my fear for public, so I managed at first to brace myself into being indifferent at it and, finally, at feeling pleasure when performing this duty. It may seem to be rather trivial for some people, but you wouldn’t believe how deep an impression such a duty may leave on a teenager who didn’t have to participate in public activities of this kind before. I think that it helped considerably in teaching me how to get along with people and not to be confused by dealing with crowds.
This experience showed me how to be responsible and self-confident; so, when time came for me to choose the direction to move on, I’ve decided on what I was really interested in without asking anybody for advice that could have lead me astray – for to ask for advice about your work is to be already mistaken (Rand, 19).
Rand, Ayn. The Fountainhead. New York: Macmillan, 1973.