The Architecture Student’s Guide to a fulfilling learning experience
Architecture school can be a challenging period for those who wish to join the profession. With mind numbing man-hours, and endless assignments and projects, it can be a pretty stressful period for many. A good balance of work and relaxation is essential in order to avoid depression and visits to the doctor, while at the same time acing your assessments. Here are a few tips on how to scale this mountain.
Maintain a strict time management schedule
Now this might sound like a ridiculously obvious piece of advice- we know that your deadlines are just as ridiculous, but don’t leave things for the last minute. Block an hour per day, no matter what, for revising your theory subjects, and another hour for courses related to your software skill or any extra learning outside your syllabus. In addition to this, fully utilize the studio time you are given and try to work on your project for a minimum of an hour even on days when you don’t have submissions the next day. Trust us when we tell you that this will save you from the last-minute panic and stress commonly seen in architecture school.
Take care of your mental and physical well being
Despite how hard your professors might try to convince you that architecture school is a 24/7 responsibility, the answer is NO. It is not. Your sleep is extremely crucial for you and get your minimum 6 to 8 hours however you can. Being able to fall asleep and wake up on command at any time during the day does you no favours. Don’t skip your meals if you can help it and go for that daily 30-minute walk at the minimum. You need to put this effort in order to get yourself out of the tortured architect mentality that architecture schools almost seem to program you into. While it is tempting to emulate the poor work habits of several famously idolized people, there are several examples of successful people with an incredibly good work-life balance. Hence, choose your role models carefully.
Do internships during your holidays
It might be tempting to laze around during your semester holidays, but this is crucial time that should be spent gaining as much real-world architectural experience. You might have to volunteer freely the first few times, but it will put you significantly at a larger advantage than your peers when applying for your mandatory 1-year internship. And if you ask your final year seniors, they will tell you how most of their learning happened outside their classrooms.
Learn to take criticism and criticize
No matter how perfect your design might look to yourself or to some others, there will always be a few people who criticize it. Learn not to take this criticism personally, because no matter how it was worded, it does not determine your self-worth. Instead take it as an opportunity to learn from the person criticizing you. Make them feel good by acknowledging your mistakes and ask them questions in order to truly understand what they are trying to tell. Also, learn how to give criticism. Constructive criticism is one that aims to help others and improve your own understanding of the subject- not break someone’s self-confidence.
Learn your building codes and regulations
Knowing these beforehand, will save you the trouble of constantly referring them. It can also save you a lot of time and money when you start working in the field.
Don’t work till the last minute
Keep yourself at least a week or two before your deadlines in order to work on your presentation. However tempting it might seem to work till the last minute, remember, that out in the field, presentation is just as important as your drawings- especially when your client is the one looking at them. Readability helps you sell your designs and improve your overall marketability.
Participate in competitions besides your college work
This, while not mandatory, will help you present a portfolio that is slightly different from your peers. The ultimate aim of architecture school, is not just to get that degree- it is to make you more hireable.
All in all, the solution is pretty clear but hard to implement. It is no wonder then that so many try and yet fail to achieve a good balance in architecture school. But once you start following this advice and see the results the serotonin rush you get will help you maintain consistency as long as you stay on track with a clear goal.