Careers Interview

As someone looking to study political science and hopefully segway into a related career, I was lucky to be introduced to a current PoliSci student at UBC who graciously took time out of his day to answer some of my questions.

Firstly we went over some recommended high school courses I could take to prepare me for political science:

  • History 
  • Law 
  • Economics  
  • Social Justice 
  • Philosophy

We then discussed the content/course load of a PoliSci student (specifically the joint political science/economics program at UBC). This included:

  • Reading: 100pgs/week of ‘dry’ literature
  • Writing: 8-15 pages/week
  • 3-4 courses/semester

Lastly we talked about general advice/suggestions:

  • Join a worker cooperative (experience is good)
  • studying capitally run workplaces vs co-ops (very interesting)
  • don’t go into politics
  • did I mention do not go into politics?
  • choose a career that isn’t in politics
  • run as far away as possible


In-Depth Night 2021



This year my goal for In-Depth was to learn the ins and outs of architectural rendering as well as acquire a basic understanding of constructive components. My mentor, Murray MacKinnon has kindly taken time to guide me through this project and I am extremely grateful for his technical insights and help.

My project is centred around designing, drawing, and rendering an original two story family home inspired by ‘green building’. Below, I will take you through the process step by step to demonstrate my learning…. ENJOY!

p.s. if you have any questions/comments please put them down below! I’d love to answer some!


Step 1: Bubble Diagram

A process that uses circles to map out general floor layouts

LEVEL 1 [left] LEVEL 2 [right]


Step 2: Refining (“boxing”)

Turning the circles into squared out shapes



Step 3: Refining (adjustments)

Expanding the entrance and breakfast nook



Step 4: Refining (digitally)

Transferring my plans onto a digital medium



Step 5: Perspective Practice (highlights)

Practising my use of perspective in drawings involving buildings/structures


Step 6: Rendering!

Using the dimensions of my plans to render a house (w/garden roof)

SIDE [south-west]

SIDE [north-east]



In-Depth Post No. 5 2021

Progress so far

Since my last post, I’ve ‘squared out’ my bubble diagram into a comprehensible plan for both floors of my house. I’ve also recreated my plans in MineCraft (video game) to help me visualise my drawing in a more three dimensional manner. In my most recent meeting with Murray, we discussed how I can start rendering my plans into a perspective drawing. It was difficult to understand the extremely complicated process over a zoom call, but I managed to get a general enough idea of all the mechanics. My next step is to purchase some large paper and a meter stick so I can finally start exploring perspectives with my design.


How to Have a Beautiful Mind

Here is a short transcription of a section from my last meeting with Murray (talking about roofs)

Me: green

Murray: blue

OK, so I was so I was also wondering, so if I were to go with a more flat roof, how would drainage work, for rain on the actual roof.

(Green Hat     questioning)

(Blue Hat     organises hats)

Two ways. There’s always two ways. If you do an inverted roof, those actually work on a flat roof.

(Yellow Hat     values/insights)


You don’t want water sitting on an exposed membrane. At the point where the water is sitting it emphasises the sun’s rays and increases the deterioration of the tar. So you want to get the water away as fast as you can, so you basically slope the structure or you can actually get a special kind of insulation. They can actually hot-wire cut that into various shapes. So you can say, look, I’ve got a ten foot span from the centre to the outside wall and I need an 1/8 of an inch of slope. So that would be an exposed membrane, top membrane. 

(White Hat     information/facts)

Okay, cool. 

(Red Hat     feelings/intuition)

Is that too much information?

(Green Hat     questioning)

No, no, that’s all good. So I suppose, you’d choose either depending on the structure of your building?

(Green Hat     questioning)

No, it’s not connected. I mean, if I was doing either of these roofs, As I said, everything will be the same, until you get to the last bit of the roof. The inverted roof will have the insulation on top, and the exposed roof will have the insulation below the water-proof membrane.

(Black Hat     critical thinking)

Oh, I see. OK, so pretty much just choose whichever one.

(Yellow Hat     values/insights)

Yeah, a sloped top deck is just fussier. If you wanted to go Spanish, you can. You get to the top of the top table, up one of the two arch ones so that every tile you see actually has another tile tucked underneath it. They do weigh a lot, but they never break, unless a plane crashes down. But yeah, they don’t wear out, but they are very much vernacular. I mean, as soon as you put them on a house, people will go, oh, Spanish, you know, and maybe you were going for a West Coast look

(Yellow Hat     values/insights)

(White Hat     information/facts)

yeah, I’m most likely going to stick with a simpler roof design. 

(Red Hat     feelings/intuition)

What else could you do a roof with here? Shingled shakes. Not so much anymore, simply because they don’t have enough trees. There used to be shake and shingle mills all up and down the Fraser. If you walk the river south of us actually, you come to historic places with the little brass plaques. ‘Shingle factory used to be here’, you know, and they were made out of the stump ends and the offcuts from the lumber mills. So they would, you know, have a chunk of wood about 18 inches long, big round chunk of the tree, and they would take that and split it into shakes and shingles. But we don’t see that anymore. You just don’t.

(Red Hat     feelings/intuition)

(White Hat     information/facts)

Some do it, but there’s there’s two problems. One is shingles are thinner. They tend to split more easily and they tend to rot faster. Shakes, which are also made out of cedar, are split.

(Black Hat     critical thinking)

So shingles are sawn, shakes are split. The split ones last longer. They give you that very woodsy look because they’re not the same thickness. Shingles are exactly the same. They’re all this big at one end this big at the other end. Shakes Split more randomly.

(White Hat     information/facts)



In-Depth Post No. 4 2021

Progress so far

In my last meeting with Murray we went over my bubble diagram, discussed any possible changes, and how the components of the house (plumbing electricity, structure, heights) would fit together.

Additionally, I ‘squared out’ my bubble diagram into a format much more akin to your typical architectural plan drawing.


How to have a beautiful mind

What new information are you getting and what questions did you ask to probe further into the topic?

I’m currently exploring green building for my house design. Green Building: green building refers to both a structure and the application of processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building’s life-cycle: from planning to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition. 

Discuss any new points of view you developed while in conversation with your mentor.

I discovered just how many different techniques can be used in the construction and maintenance of green buildings (I was not previously aware of how simple being environmentally friendly buildings could be). My visual image of what a green building looks like was somewhat shattered as well. Not every green building has trees growing out of the roof, and many can appear quite ‘industrial’ whilst still conserving nature.

What were some of the alternative perceptions that are new to you.

As mentioned above, I was pleasantly surprised at the countless green building designs there are in the world. Green buildings don’t have to compromise on functionality nor appearance. But in the end they do decrease our carbon footprint, which is no small matter.

How do your mentor values differ from yours?

In a purely architectural sense, Murray prefers the technical aspects of architecture, whilst I’m more attracted to the artistic and design areas of architecture. This isn’t a major bridge however since he appreciates architectural aesthetics and I am fascinated too in the ‘art’ of logistics.

What questions did you ask to check on facts and details? 

I asked if there were any architects or architect affiliations that I could look into for further reading/knowledge. He recommended Peter Busby (sustainable building expert), James Km Cheng (local architect), and the LEED Manual for further insights into green building.

Ask questions. Record them. Why did you ask these questions?

How can I incorporate aspects of green building into my design of a house? ( Murray and I both love green buildings, so incorporating some green characteristics into my house is an important ingredient to my design).

How can I improve my current baseline drawing of my house? (Feedback is always helpful, and I knew for a fact that my design wasn’t as good as it could be, it being my first attempt, I still have a ways to go).

Ask for an explanation for a certain skill you are learning. Discuss what happened.

I asked him how I could take my plan drawing and turn it into a architectural rendering. He described one technique that involves visually placing yourself as a spectator somewhere around your design. Then, from that point, you draw straight lines through every corner/notable feature to the end of the page, making notes as to where the lines end up. Then, you do the same thing vertically, with a side plan, ‘projecting’ the lines onto a vertical plane. Finally, you take the marks you’ve made on the horizontal and vertical planes, and bring them together to form an outline of your rendering.

Ask a multiple choice question. 

I asked him what method of structural support would work best for my design. beams, wall studs, pillars, or something else?

Was this useful? Explain

Yes. This question opened up a whole range of dialogue on structural supports, and a comprehensible list of pros and cons for each. Finally, a comparable discussion on which of the mentioned supports would work.

Ask the speaker to clarify his underlying values for doing, thinking and feeling the way they do

When he was a child, his mother brought architecture books home from the library which she worked at. And ever since then Murray’s lure to architecture has been concrete.

In-Depth Post No. 3 2021

Progress so far

Last time I talked to my mentor we discussed using bubble diagrams to illustrate an emerging concept or idea. I ended up playing around with a few different layouts for a 3 bedroom home until I got one that I wanted to explore further with.

This is what I ended up drawing:

Some things I considered while sketching out the concept:

  • Direction (ie north, east, south, west)
    • How will sunlight hit the house/windows
    • Which rooms should/will get the most sun
      • bedrooms
      • kitchen
      • patio
  • Number of rooms
  • Open concept/plan

Next I looked at some real properties/land areas for sale on which I could hypothetically build this house.

I found a few options that would work well (**some links have expired due to the property being purchased**):

Dunbrow Rd 48 St, Alberta (17.31 Acres)

0 Woodland Dr, Ontario (44 Acres) 

140 Glenwoods, Ontario (5 Acres) 

(next to a school) 

Kinniburgh Dr, Alberta (53 Acres)

(near a school) 

4715 Birchgrove, Ontario (40 Acres)

After looking at some possible locations, I started exploring different architecture style options. Something that I’m quite excited to incorporate is an ‘Art Nouveau’  inspired entrance. So, I explored some existing examples:


“How to be interesting” and “how to respond” from How to have a Beautiful Mind

Murray and I have talked about a number of houses in Vancouver, and each one has given me new insight into a different perspective of architecture. In other words, I’ve learned about some very interesting buildings.

This was the latest house we discussed:

Murray sent me some pictures he took of the “Baldwin House” from a walk he took around Deer Lake:
He told me that living in a house like this nowadays is not ideal due to all the electricity it requires to keep it warm during the winter. Because there is so much glass, heat can easily escape the house. Murray explained that if someone wanted to build a house like this presently then they would need to install double windows (which would be very expensive).

This house was designed by a man named Arthur Erickson. The Baldwin house is classified as a historical landmark.

It was designed in 1963.

While the house is quite old now, it’s still incredibly beautiful, especially when seen with the lake.

I am grateful that Murray has shared some personal architecture favourites with me, as I’ve not only enjoyed learning about local constructs, but I’m finding it easier and easier to discuss architecture-related topics with people.

In-Depth Post No. 2 2021

Progress so far

I just recently had my first meeting with my mentor Murray MacKinnon, so I’ll be adding some more in-depth information about him first.

During our meeting I asked him some questions about his career and how he got into his profession. I discovered that while he was in the architecture business, he focused mainly on client representation. In his own words, he prefers the “how do you make it work” aspect, over “the vision”.

As for my project itself, we looked at some architecture from Frank Loyd Wright, and talked a little about different architect styles. We then established a plan for my design. He recommended a list of steps in order to reach my goal of designing a small family home:

  1. Choose a site (see city hall for requirements for that site)
  2. Establish a function for your building
  3. Ask if your function can be carried out on the chosen site
  4. Identify any building restrictions (ex. height limit)
  5. Come up with solutions for restrictions (if relevant)
  6. Consider parking area
  7. Finally, use the “bubble diagram” method to sketch out a house

Bubble Diagram Example:

Furthermore, we discussed about what basic skills make an architect. He said that one of the most important skills is being able to visualise the design. This includes picturing the site conditions, assessing where the light comes from (East/West), and deciding what is the best use of the land you’re given.


Incorporating Three aspects from How to Have a Beautiful Mind: Agreeing, Disagreeing, and Differing

Green buildings, are, in my opinion, beautiful. They aren’t everybody’s cup of tea however. But Coincidentally, green buildings are one of Murray’s passions. Because of our shared interest we got to talking about some of the green projects that he has helped with during his career, as well as some talented green architects he had the pleasure to work with.

One particular green construct we discussed was the VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre. Here are some pictures of this breathtaking design:

As far as disagreements went, because I’ve only had one meeting, there wasn’t much of anything to disagree about.

As for differing, when we were talking about the basics of outlining the design of a house, we expressed different methods of going about that designing. While I started the conversation thinking a design should start from the outside and then the inside be fleshed out later, he proposed I try the opposite. This is when he recommended using the “bubble diagram” as a means of hashing out my ideas on paper.

However, he did not discourage me from trying it my way. He said that different techniques are used for and by people with various styles, and that technically there isn’t any wrong way of going about designing. I found this reassuring, and am eager to play around with these two methods to see which I find most appealing.

It just goes to show, even when there is no agreement per say, there are incredibly beneficial conversations to be had when no one is committed to a single idea or approach. When there is space to learn and develop for ourselves, then we can truly understand the topic at hand.

In-Depth Post No. 1 (intro) 2021

What (topic): Architectural Drawings. This will include, basic concept drawings, plan drawings, different perspective renderings, and potentially some colour. Some of my objectives/goals include:

  • By the end of the school year, I would like to have improved my realism through building design and renderings  
  • After each week I hope to have learned at least one new skill/element of design. 
  • After in-depth, I would like to have gained enough knowledge to begin applying my skills to real-life situations/problems. 

Hopefully by the end of In-Depth I’ll have:

  • showed clear improvement between the start of my in-depth project to the end of the project 
  • drawn renderings in a manner that allows others to understand the concepts without verbal/textual explanations 
  • used/explored multiple techniques and found my own style of rendering 
  • taken my design(s) beyond ‘textbook’ architecture 
  • Created/used colour palettes were unique and variant 

Where: At home (via phone/video/email). I have a desk area perfect for some sketching, and noise cancelling headphones that will protect me from my brother’s video game commentary.

When (timeline): I will officially be starting my In-Depth project next week, until the conclusion of In-Depth in May. For the first half of my project I’d like to focus on sketching (general perspective drawings & renderings of pre-existing buildings) to gain some knowledge of common architecture styles and techniques. This will help me narrow down my focus even further to a specific style architecture. In the latter half, I’d like to use the knowledge and skills from the former to design a construct of my own (in a specific style determined beforehand), complete with all necessary plan drawings.

Why: I have, for a long while, considered a career in architecture. In-depth will provide an adequate baseline of skills that will help me determine if this is what I want to do later on. Even if I end up travelling down a different road, drawing will always be a passion of mine

How: I will be mentored in Architecture by a retired architect through email, and phone/video calls. I also have an extensive list of online resources that I can refer to when my mentor isn’t available. Additionally, I have contact with another artist in the community who used to co-own an architecture firm that I can also learn from. 

Mentor: Murray MacKinnon, architect of 40+ years (retired). 

Method: Sketching with pencils on paper.

What I still need: In short, I don’t require any additional support for my In-Depth project this year, but I might need to get some geometrical rulers once i start drawing more complex constructs.

Eminent Learning Centre 2020

Pawel Kuczynski

*first perspective*

**personality & thoughts are purely conjectures**


“Some people say that [my works] are surrealist drawings. But I think, that I’m a realistic illustrator of our time… our surrealist time.” -P.K.


Born in 1976, in Szczecin, Poland, I grew up during my country’s communist rule. I am a visual artist who uses watercolours and pencils as a vessel for social commentary. By spotlighting modern day issues in our world, I hope to incite thought-provoking conversations. Over the years I’ve contributed to the use of art in social, economic, and political movements, and have won over 140 prizes and distinctions (one of particular note being the “Eryk” prize from the Association of Polish Cartoonists).  


Here are some of my pieces:

































Lately I’ve been exploring some different art styles by taking on the persona of “Mel”, a random person. This following piece was created digitally…

That’s all for today. But before you go, what are your interpretations of my art? How do certain paintings make you feel? I’d love to discuss this in the comments below.

Have a good evening!


Core Competency Activity Nov. 2020


  1. During Quarter 1, what went well for you? Explain.
    • In English I wrote a short story that I was relatively proud of 
    • I had the opportunity to reconnect with everyone in my TALONS class after the break 
    • I had a more concentrated workload (only three subjects total)


2. During Quarter 1, what did you find challenging or disappointing or stressfulExplain.

    • Having to adapt to a new environment was—and still is, challenging 
    • I haven’t been able to build relationships with all the new grade 9 TALONS students 
    • I was disappointed in my final grade for one of my classes 
    • Sanitising all desks, chairs, and equipment—while necessary—is a plaguey task  
    • This assignment 



3. Think of ONE thing you really want to improve in Quarter 2 (and Q 3&4). Examplesschool subject, sport, time spent on homework/studying, playing a musical instrument, leadership skills, a language, photography, a relationshipgeneral fitness.

    • Because I have both science and maths this quarter, I would like to improve my time management skills in order to stay on top of my workload.  



4. What are two specific actions that you can start doing every day to get closer to your goalHow long will you spend on this action each day? What part of the day?  

    1. Set reminders for myself (calendars, sticky notes, etc.) 
    2. Give myself a mental timeline of how long I want to spend on each assignment



5. If you experience challenges, what might you do to work through them? 

    • Write it out. Get my thoughts out so that I can break everything down into more manageable pieces 
    • Take a break. If I can’t figure something out, I’ll leave it alone for a day and see if it’s more approachable another time 


Developing the Leaders Around You

John C. Maxwell – Developing the Leaders Around You

Session One

Principle/Idea: Leaders attract other leaders (pg. 5)


The law of magnetism states that, “Who you are is who you attract”. When you demonstrate exceptional leadership capabilities, the leaders around you will be more open to working with you. After all, “it takes a leader to know a leader. It takes a leader to show a leader. [And] it takes a leader to grow a leader” -John C. Maxwell.

Reasons for choosing:

Everyone tends to attract others with similar characteristics and personality traits. While I get along well with my own friends, I also want to be able to attract people who I might not have a lot in common with, but who have strong and unique leadership qualities that I can learn from.

Future application:

In the future, I will try to emulate leadership qualities that I want to attract in others. By displaying these qualities I won’t always attract people with similar interests, but I might attract those with effective leadership qualities.

Session Two

Principle/Idea: Leaders are Bottom-line thinkers (pg. 11)

Definition: As Thomas Edison once said, “there ain’t no rules around here. We’re trying to accomplish something”. Bottom-line thinkers, while not oblivious to the limitations of reality, choose to take those limitations with a grain of sand, and instead look for possibilities to accomplish their goals.

Reasons for choosing:

I tend to focus more on the limitations of a task than the possibilities of that task. While I frame it as being realistic, I know that that “realism” often cloaks my pessimism. Yes, there are going to be limits, but not all of those perceived limits are deal-breakers.

Future application:

Instead of finding creative ways to limit my output, I will try to make a conscious decision to “get things done” without bothering too much on the limitations of the task.

Session Three

Principle/Idea: Work on yourself before you work on others (pg. 16)

Definition: “Leaders go first!”. By putting in the effort to maximise your own potential, others will be better inclined to let you help them reach their own potential. By having credibility, leadership, connection, and respect, your mentee will be motivated to do as you have done, and furthermore, expand into themselves.

Reasons for choosing:

I always want to do something. And I feel that I can create the most impact when I do something for others. But, while this may be true, that impact could be so much more if I only take the time to develop myself first. Yes, it takes time and isn’t always the most enjoyable aspect of leadership, it is crucial when developing other leaders.

Future application:

While I will still expand on my understanding of how to develop other leaders, I will also try and take a step back from focusing on others, and make sure that I am the leader that I want to be.

Session Four

Principle/Idea: Leaders have the ability to evaluate a person’s development level [in terms of leadership] (pg. 21)

Definition: Through experience and monitoring, a leader can determine where others are at in their development, as well as if they have grown to/plateaued at a certain pool of development. There are 6 simple levels/pools of growth. Level One includes minimal growth. Level Two is when they grow enough to be capable of doing their job. Level Three is when they are able to grow so that they can reproduce themselves within their jobs. Level Four is growth that takes them to a higher level. Level Five involves growing so that they can take others higher. And finally, Level Six is when they can grow to do any job.

Reasons for choosing:

More often than not we want to work with those we know, not those that have the mindset to grow themselves/others. I know who I work well with, but if I only look for familiarity, then I will never be able to grow myself to bring others higher.

Future application:

In general, I must be willing to constantly add and update aspects or ideas to my list of evaluating strategies, as many of these come with experience. And experience comes with time. Above all else, I will be patient with myself because leadership is a process, and mistakes will occur.