Rachel Gresham says that her interest in architecture started at a young age, with an interest in both art and math. When Rachel reached high school, she found that her high school offered both high-level art classes and a drafting class, which she enjoyed greatly. So, when the time came to decide what career to choose, after being a professional ballet dancer was ruled out, Rachel decided to pursue a career in architecture.
Rachel enrolled at Virginia Tech for her architecture program. In addition to architecture, she and some other friends who were also dancers started a ballet project during her freshman year. Rachel enjoyed her classes, but after the second year she began to feel burned out, and this caused her to struggle to get the rest of the way through her architecture program.
Rachel did finish the program, although she had to give up running the ballet project eventually in order to have the time to focus on her studies. She also ended up having to stay into the summer to finish her thesis.
Once she finished school, Rachel was advised to take the first job she could find, because the country was still coming out of the recession and jobs outside of big cities were scarce. She took a job in Richmond, then eventually left to take a job in Charlottesville. However, it was there that Rachel began to experience some problems. Listen to the episode to hear how Rachel learned about the importance of enforcing her own boundaries and paying attention to her own needs and how she ended up in her current job.
What You’ll Hear on This Episode
- How Rachel decided to go into architecture
- Rachel’s architecture school story
- Rachel’s first job after architecture school
- How Rachel’s second architecture job worked out
- Why Rachel found therapy helpful
- How Rachel ended up with her current job
- Rachel’s keynote speech at the Young Architect Conference
- Rachel’s five aspects of workplace culture
- Making decisions about where to work
- The importance of knowing and enforcing your boundaries
- The importance of mentoring in the architecture field
- How Young Architects are mentoring each other
- Rachel’s advice for aspiring architects
- The book that changed everything for Rachel
- Rachel’s favorite resource
- Rachel’s best timesaving trick
- How listeners can connect with Rachel
Top 3 Takeaways from This Episode
- Know your own boundaries
- Know how many hours you’re willing to work and what kind of educational opportunities you want from your firm
- When you’re being interviewed, ask plenty of questions yourself to make sure this is the kind of place you want to work for.
Rachel Gresham’s Advice for Aspiring Architects
“My advice for aspiring architects is to apply the design process to your career.”
“What my boundaries are. Boundaries, boundaries.” – Rachel Gresham on what she knows today that she didn’t know back then
“My most recent recommendation is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho” – Rachel Gresham on the book that changed everything
“That would be my happy light.” – Rachel Gresham on the resource she can’t live without
“My best timesaving trick is my food prep regimen.” – Rachel Gresham on her best timesaving trick