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Surviving Architecture School
By: Ashley Cooper
10 Tips to Get Through Architecture School:
Graduating from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor of Science in Architecture has been the hardest experience I have been through thus far, but it has also been the greatest and most rewarding part of my college career. Besides the numerous courses: math, structural engineering, building anatomy, building construction, architecture history, art, and studio, here are a 10 tips I have learned for anyone who is considering a major in Architecture…
Tip #1: Time Management is your best friend.
Unlike exam based majors, architecture is mostly project based. That means the, “Oh well, I put enough time in - I’ll be okay,” excuse is not going to work here.
Tip #2: Plan for way more time than you need, and always set up auto save.
I learned this the hard way that life does not always work out the way you want it, and something always goes wrong. Planning for more time than you “expect detailing the floor plans will take” will actually help you keep your sanity, and most likely help you get some extra sleep you were not planning on getting.
Tip #3: If you have to do a model for your project, make sure you get materials and fabrication time in the shop way earlier than you think you need to.
Trust me it will save you a lot of running around from store to store trying to find what you need, and panic attacks about you not having a model to turn in.
Tip #4: Make sure you casually drop the name of your favorite delivery places on campus to your parents.
For the nights when you had to work through dinner and you see your friend across the studio warming up their baked chicken and pasta. You will wish someone could deliver you food…
Tip #5: Make friends.
When you need just one more 3/16” column for your model to be done and the stores are closed until the morning, someone will be there to lend you their extra material, and help you sleep easy that night knowing that you are completely done.
Tip #6: Go to class every day, and show your progress even if you just want to do nothing but search Facebook all day during class.
This will go so far with your professors, and they will be more willing to cut you some slack when the end of the semester is coming up, and you have 3 exams on top of your studio project due that week.
Tip #7: Studio is not the only part of your education.
Make sure to put effort in your structures and architecture history courses because knowing these can help make your designs realistic and unique. Plus being able to speak on architectural topics is key in the work place.
Tip #8: Make time for yourself.
Allow yourself to go to the gym, have a wine night with your roommates, or go out to lunch with some friends. These moments will help you clear your head, and actually make your progress on your project because you allowed time to clear your head.
Tip #9: Don’t allow your major to dictate your college experience.
Yes, being an architecture major is demanding and you have a lot of work to do, but don’t let it control you. Learn to plan for big events or for visiting friends and family.
Tip #10: Enjoy it.
The friends I have made in this major are unlike any I have ever had. They will be there to help you at 3:00am when they have just finished their model, but see you have not finished yours. They will be there to pull you out of class when you really need that coffee break. They will lend you a jacket to get those 15 minutes of sleep you need to push through the night. They will be there helping you through every failure, school or social related, and every success because they have become your right hand and you would be lost without them. And when graduation day comes, they will be harder than anyone to say goodbye to.
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