During the second residency of my MA program two years ago, I sat down with my program director for an advisory session. “Where do you see yourself after you are done?” he asked me. I thought for a moment. Although I had one year of coursework under my belt at the time, I felt there was so much for me to learn about historic preservation. It had turned out to be about so much more than saving and identifying historic structures and sites. It went much deeper that that. “I suppose I could work for an architectural or CRM firm?” I said, partially shrugging.
“I don’t see that for you,” was his simple response.
Huh? I thought. I’m certain I looked confused. Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do?
“I don’t see that for you,” he said again. “I see you out in the world working with people and transforming communities.” I just looked at him quietly for a moment. I laughed. “Well, alright. It’s not something that I can’t do, you know?”
As I am in this last stretch, working on my thesis and contemplating my future in this field, I realize that all of my work, interests, and opportunities kept pointing to just that: making me someone capable of transformation. That’s such a powerful thing to me. I know now that my work is meant to be a liaison–a bridge. To engage and educate people about the field. To help strengthen and advocate for communities. Connecting with like-minded colleagues. I didn’t know it was going in that direction and still don’t know exactly what I’ll be doing yet, but I get the feeling my director did, and my disbelief has finally become belief.
How exciting! Educating and advocacy are just as if not more important than the preservation work itself – it takes people like you to help communities realize that the preservation work SHOULD happen!! Once the community is behind it, it WILL happen 🙂