November 16, 2017 by 2019-2020 Equity & Diversity Task Force, 2019-2020 Sustainability & Resiliency Task Force, 2020-2021 Council of Global Representatives, 2020-2021 Learning & Teaching Culture Advisory Group, 2021-2022 Professional Development Advisory Group

Studying architecture is a dream that many have worked so hard to accomplish in life, both to those who have already graduated with their degree in architecture and for those who have saved up and plan to begin architecture school if they haven’t already started. Regardless, many will say that experiencing architecture school is a completely different beast as to what they may have expected at first. As current students, we had to learn this for ourselves from day 1.

It starts off at a decent pace, of course, but once things approach your first set of midterm examinations, you will begin to really see how architecture school functions. Now, this is in not meant to dissuade those interested in going into architecture, instead, it should be used as a resource for those curious students.

Supplies. As often as we build study models and final scaled models, an architecture student begins to realize that this cost certainly adds up through time. That being said, some will become desperate in the “crunch of time” in order to complete a project on time. Hence, there will be times where others may feel obligated to scavenge for materials. At first, it may not seem so bad, that is until they start to scavenge through your own personal belongings that you may have worked very hard to obtain yourself.  Knowing this ahead of time has caused many to start locking their things away and securing their own supplies for projects, as would be advised in an environment such as this.

Commuting. In my case, there are some students who have chosen the option to commute to school on a daily basis. Although there is no problem with the idea of saving money and commuting back and forth, it is important to note that it can become stressful at times, especially during big projects and finals. There are many variables that can potentially come into play in the life of a commuter, such as car issues, traffic/road problems, weather, duration of commute, endurance, home life/situations, time, and even sleep. These are a few to name, but they are important factors that one must be aware of when commuting. Planning ahead and staying organized has proven to be paramount in the balancing of my commuting life.

Software BEWARE.  As a design field, architecture is heavily based on technology. From floor plans to section drawings to renderings and so on. Computers will be put to full use. It is useful to prepare one’s mind for the large volume of software and programs that will be utilized to carry out design studio work for projects. There is a wide range of software: Auto CAD, Revit, SketchUp, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, Lumion, and a handful of others. BE PREPARED to keep your mind open to learning the programs, as they will be used throughout the rest of your college career, and even into your professional career as well.

All-nighters. All architecture students are bound to eventually face the universally-dreaded “all-nighter” a few times before graduation. These typically come during the final stretch of a project that may require a large amount of extra time to be dedicated to it. That being so, architecture students will spend long hours through the night and into the morning working to meet a fast-approaching deadline, many times without sleeping through the night. It is important to rely on your skills of time management to prevent these long nights from happening in the first place. Make note of how long it takes for you to complete a set of drawings or a model.  It will help you to plan your future projects in a more balanced manner.

Culture/location. It is important to know the school that you go to on a deeper level. Make friends not only with students but also strive to build a reputation and relationship with your professors and other faculty and staff, who will be far more inclined to give you that extra push or potential internship opportunity. Concerning the school: know your school of architecture and its surroundings, especially for places where you can purchase supplies, where to eat, and where to study. Being better acquainted with your surroundings will help to make your college career in architecture more enjoyable.