There are many different stories that go along with going to University. I completed my professional degree in four years, with the rest of my classmates. University was a great time for learning, making new friends and just growing as a person. I learnt that taking five courses a semester was not as easy as it should or could have been. So I would take two online courses each summer to keep up with the rest of my class. It kept me way calmer, and allowed me to keep the wheels turning in my head throughout the summers. 2009 came and I graduated with my Bachelor degree in Landscape Architecture.

That summer was hard! While at school you get in the mindset that finding a job is going to be easy. ‘You will be a cad monkey’, they proclaim!  I have never been fond of monkeys so I thought to myself ‘That does not sound appealing, but I know you have to earn your dues.’ My first summer out of school was tough. I did garden work , worked on farms and rode multiple horses a day for other people and made finding a job my main job! That winter I was determined to find a full time job within the industry of landscaping. I was offered a position as a landscape maintenance foreman. I was wary because I had never been a foreman, nor did I have nearly as much knowledge as I should have had going into that position. In University they teach you many things; but plant maintenance is not one of them. So that summer I got a great tan, had a mostly fun time, learnt many things about myself, plants and landscaping.

Then I got the email! The email was from Adam Gracey asking if I could come in to talk to him. I called Christine right away asking what was up? I had met Christine while out riding one day. We both joined a club around the same time. She looked at me one day and said “what are you in school for?” Probably wiping mud off my face I announced “Landscape Architecture”. She laughed and said she was a Landscape Architect, and her husband owned a landscape design build firm in Toronto. (Once I got home I googled the company right away and oohed and ahhed over the amazing jobs they had done.) Going back to calling Christine, she just said there may be an opportunity for you. Going in fairly blindly, I walked into the office. I had met Adam before at outings and parties where we would casually talk about landscapes and design, but walking into the office was a new place for me.

I am now in year three at working at D.A Gracey. I use many of my skills I learnt in University, and I just keep learning more and more about the business and industry. I do a little bit of everything and I enjoy that. In University they did minimize the art of Residential design build. I was never sure why, because this industry really lets you play out on a more creative whim. When entering this office I did not realize I would learn so much. The learning curve was steep, and still is at times, but that is the way I like it. Learning all the time keeps things fresh. The most important part is having a similar design aesthetic. Working for a company that does quality work, and has great designs is an excellent motivator.

By: Courtney Cotter