Road Trip: The Apprentice

No, not that Donald Trump vehicle. Is that even on anymore? I hope not.

Anyway, last week I got to visit Dominican University, which is near Chicago and the suburb of Oak Park. I'll get to the title of this post and Oak Park, but first, Dominican. I had a great visit, having the opportunity to visit with a lot of classes and quite a few faculty members. Dominican has sent a lot of students to DC through our program over the years, so they are very enthusiastic about WII and the opportunities for students. 


Many (if not the majority of) Dominican students are, in academic parlance, "commuters," which seems to have a negative connotation in some parts. Frankly, I couldn't have imagined being a commuter student, because I simply don't think at the time I was ready for college I would have had the stamina, patience, and resolve to live at home (or off campus) and come to school every day. I laud "commuter students" and I'll try to come up with a better term for you folks. I also think that for those students who don't live on campus and then come to DC with us, it must really be an even deeper acclimation: first to living in a different place, and then to living with complete strangers for the first time. 

Anyway, when the students do arrive on campus, they find a lovely one, with a blend of the old and the new, and some wonderful cloisters, which I appreciate. 

Now to the title. I had actually been near Dominican before because on a previous trip to Chicago I made my way to Oak Park to see many of the houses still standing designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Wright is a real favorite of mine. There is something about his approach to bringing together the human and natural world in a non-cheesy, birdhouse, weird sort of way that is genius and almost spiritual for me. I like how he plays with scale and changes perspectives in a space to make you feel something. 

At one point in my youth, I wanted to be an architect. I loved playing with Legos and drew many floorplans of dream houses. This is probably normal, but I thought it was really something I might pursue. Years later, I got to meet an architect at Wright's school in Arizona, and he talked about the apprenticeships that he underwent and now led. It is a practice really of medieval times: one craftsperson teaching someone everything to do with their craft. There is mentorship there, but also skills and knowledge passed on--often for the good of the craft itself.

In some ways, I wish internships were renamed apprenticeships: I just feel like there is more respect for that term--and more of a sense of responsibility on both sides. Perhaps I can start on that petition once I come up with another name for commuter students.