31 Jan

Why I’m Re-Reading My College Textbooks

Why am I reading my old Landscape Architecture college text books?

It is the beginning of a new year, and I’m delving back into a book I first read when I was in Graduate School studying to be a Landscape Architect  and Planner entitled “Readings in Planning Theory”  Edited By Scott Cambell and Susan Fainstein 1st Ed 1996.  I had this book in a pile of old books I was getting ready to throw out.

As they sat in the corner of my room, waiting to be recycled, I would periodically walk by them and have a pang of remorse that I didn’t need them anymore.  I hadn’t read them in years.  As the new year came along and I flipped my calendar over to January 2014, I decided that instead of throwing these books out, I would read them….and then throw them out…just to get my money’s worth out of them…ha!

Then a couple funny things happened.  First, I actually started reading one of the books…I kind of thought this would just be one of those things I thought I should do, but don’t actually do. I’m sure you know what I mean.

The second thing I thought was funny was that I really didn’t remember reading this particular book.  I know I did, I got A’s in all my classes, and there is much highlighted with a yellow highlighter, and I remember the main ideas, or generally remember the ideas, but there were so many interesting ideas, people, and projects that I had forgotten about.  I’m sure the information is  there deep in my subconscious, somewhere, but reading it again made it seem new, exciting, and like I had found a long lost friend.

I realized that I still absolutely love the academia of my profession, I love the ideas of planning and design.  This time when I was reading, I wanted to absorb the information in a different way than the younger me did.  Armed with many tools that were not available to me then, primarily the internet, I can connect with the authors, the projects, and other landscape architecture and planning professionals in fundamentally new ways.  It is very exciting.

So if you have books lying around from college that need to be recycled…I want to encourage you to pick one up and commit to reading it, you might find a connection to that spark that made you first want to become a professional in your field.