Hug a Professor Day


 Maybe it was a professor you had in college or university, a teacher in high school (or even CEGEP, for those who know what that is)… or maybe it was a TA (teacher’s assistant), or your thesis advisor… but whoever it was, you haven’t spoken to them in years. 

 Well, it’s time that you reached out to them and thanked for what they taught you, directly or indirectly… it might be a small thing, a little remark… but it has stuck with you to this day. 

 I was struggling in my third year of McGill School of Architecture, trying to simultaneously design and draft a complex floor plan for a theoretical hotel located on Sherbrooke Street (the site is now a recently completed condo complex, which I noticed a few months was being marketed in the New Yorker… “image your own pied-a-terre in Montreal”… but that was before the Canadian dollar soared to above par…).  I was faced with an unresolved design and a long list of drawings that needed to be completed by hand (because at the time, a lot of profs had not yet bought into the idea of CAD, and a proper CAD setup wasn’t really available anyway), and there I was, hunched over my drafting table, standing sandwiched between the diagonal slope of the dormered ceiling of the studio and the diagonal slope of my drafting table, stressed to the hilt, with a retractable HB lead pencil in my right hand and my left hand pressed down against crinkly smudged layers of trace paper. 

 Manon, one of our TAs, came over and watched me for a moment.  She reached over to my trace paper with a thick pen/marker, and as she made a few bold lines over it,  said in a soft voice,  “There is something about using a pen instead of using a pencil, that gives you a hard line… it’s not so much about being black-or-white in your ideas, as much as it is about bringing things and into sharp contrast, into focus.  Sometimes you need to switch over to a pen.” 

 I’m sure her exact words were different, and that there is some part of the message I’m forgetting, or even part of the message that I’ve added.  In fact, I’m quite sure it wasn’t the first time I’d been told this idea, in some form or another. However, for some reason, it never really stuck until that moment. When faced with a tricky design problem or decision, I pay attention to the tools and methods I’m using… and switch them appropriately. The solution usually follows soon after. Thanks, Manon.

 When is the last time you’ve thanked a teacher?

 How about today?

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About danspira

My blog is at: http://danspira.com. My face in real life appears at a higher resolution, although I do feel pixelated sometimes.

Posted on November 4, 2007, in Architecture, Learning, Life. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. you’re a strange, strange dude… think we should thank Zryl for checking us for tzitzis?

  2. hmmm, that would fall under “Punch a Professor Because of All the Psychological Damage They’ve Caused Day”

  1. Pingback: Biting the Bulletpoint, Part Two: Flowcharts, Mind Maps, Memory Palaces, oh my… « Meme Menagerie

  2. Pingback: 2015 Blog Feed-forward: Building on an Elephant’s Memory | Dan Spira

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