Architecture is a professional degree which starts with an interest in sketching or looking forward to a creative profession, but does it end? You may be practicing Architecture or you may change the course of your journey to enter into another field, but the spirit of Architect always stays alive.
When we enter the field of Architecture, we are completely unaware of what may lie ahead for us. Yes, we take admission only after consulting from a few people who say ‘it’s tough, you will question your decisions but it is worth it towards the end.’ Sometimes, Architecture is a rewarding field while other times it is a set of exhaustion, all-nighters, and enervating effort. The motto remains ‘Deadline is our Motivation.’
The last-minute prints, AutoCAD crashing just before the last edit, the adrenaline rush while the clock ticks towards the last minute. ‘Oh snap, we did it finally’ and then rejoicing before you are called for the jury and told to question your entire existence. So, after five years of turmoil what do we learn from Architecture college is both tangible and intangible.
Yes, we do learn about the exciting software, architecture subjects but there are some life lessons we take along while trying to be a good professional:
Patience is what you learn after the rampant work progress and still finding a will to learn.
You learn that with all the criticism you may face, some redo(s) you will do and assignments you continue to submit day after day with an enigmatic effort.
You learn persistence, and patience with each stroke, each line, and every mistake.
Though we may feel like it’ll all go in vain, in the end, it doesn’t. From those mistakes, we learn that this part is a reflection on how much we understand and imbue in our professional lives.
DEALING WITH CRITICISM
But with every submission, we get criticized for not thinking enough, not considering users or the bylaws which were to be followed. The biggest mistake is letting the criticism get to our heads. It may feel like a death race in the second, third semester after which we get used to it.
We may apply constructive criticism to our designs while simply letting go of the opinions that do not matter unless we are blustered to get flunked in the semester.
We learn and get criticized to change or defend our work.
YOU DO, YOU REDO
The strenuous part and newfangled to our lifestyle is the rigor drafting on those large tables. It takes at least 5-6 hours to complete one sheet, where you, with precision and dedication complete it with the help of the giant tools like parallel bars, T scales, and Set square and numerous grades of pencil only to see a redo and repeat the process.
The effort is debarred and it teaches us perseverance. We live to fight another day!
PUNCTUALITY OVER LIFE
As the deadline hangs overhead almost every day, sometimes for assignments, for your design project or in fact, attendance. We learn that punctuality is the only savior that leads us towards a decent grade. Isn’t it?
We learn time management, at least a few people do. To rush at the last minute towards the stationery shop and find the printer crashing due to overload, it is better to miss a two-hour sleep and submit the sheets before the students lose their mind.
Some keep enjoying the last minute crape, others learn their lesson of punctuality.
SAVE YOUR WORK
Just like Bees, Laptops too smell fear. I would disagree with any architect who doesn’t think the exact. They know your final submissions are approaching or maybe they love to see you beg for your life. As you’re hurrying through some last-minute changes, the laptop knows just when to show the message “AutoCAD has stopped responding” and you go through some existential crisis in a single minute.
Though, during internships we learn that ‘ctrl+s’ is the messiah key, so gradually, it is a subconscious function that we repeat while diligently engaging our brain into creativity.
During Practise. It becomes non-negotiable to be done as a mundane chore.
DON’T TAKE YOURSELF TOO SERIOUSLY
We take our projects to be like our baby, we give birth to it through the ideation, research, and creativity influx into some endless nights. But, that is where the problem sows its seed.
We become too attached that we forget, the criticism we receive and the grades we get do not define us but a task through which we need to learn and grow. Sometimes, we take it upon our self worth and this may be the process of throwing yourself into the thorns while you forget the flowers also grow there.
Go with the process, learn, and imply where it is necessary. In the end, it is a project with constraints, deadlines, prohibitions and you are doing the best you can.
DEFENDING YOUR OPINIONS
An architect becomes good at a few things that certainly is the lawyer to his work. We may receive criticism, we know we neglected a few things; we are smart enough to know our mistakes. It is just too late to correct them so we learn the ‘art of verbal defense’ and it pays us well if combined with confidence.
We learn to defend when we are standing on the right soil, our opinions, and the ideas we’ve put into it. It just needs a ruminate mindfully over it.
The way you speak, your body language is the first impression towards the guides and jury. We learn to present ourselves with a construct that defines our project and allows us to express who we are without hesitating. If we put in the work, no one can take that confidence away. It is the root of communication.
You speak authoritatively and justifying each line builds strong roots for the presentation.
Though we have a batch of 120 students, in most Architecture colleges, an introductory meeting is a ritual and taken to be momentous. That’s a start towards befriending a whole lot of people.
You have your seniors to guide you, to teach you and direct you while overcoming obstacles. We learn to break the shell, growing into an adaptive personality.
This breakthrough also helps us while we become mentors to some juniors. It is this rectitude which leads us to a better professional life ahead.
BREAK THE RULES, SOMETIMES!
I am not talking about the bylaws here! I am writing to you about letting it loose sometimes. Yes, your professors won’t always agree to the risks you might want to take in your design. But, sometimes take a calculated risk with proofs and research. It is worth it in the end. Don’t make the designer in you die a slow death for grades and later for money.
I have done it, so trust, Abort Mission immediately!! Take that risk, rationally.
YOUR WORK IS YOUR LIFE
You need to either fall in love with the long hours of AutoCAD, drafting, learning new expressive means to limn your design. You’ll sleep in your studio. The only escape might be the chai break you would want to go for. You, being an architect, put life into peoples’ dreams.
Your work becomes your life. Your friends from other fields might just call you to ask if you are alive. But, if you’re lucky enough to have good experiences, a great drive, and persistence to work towards it, you will love your life. An artist lives forever through his work, so will you.
THIS SHALL TOO PASS
You’ll know that it will pass, yes hard times do pass. But the experiences would’ve shaped you into who you are. With all the hard times, laughs and giggles will never leave your side.
This shall too pass, but with the right company by your side, these will give you hard-hitting nostalgia. You’ll miss rushing, drafting until your back gives up, entering the class 20 secs before the lecture starts.
You’ll simply learn that no matter how hard the times are, good company by your side will make your best self grow in these times.
OUT OF COMFORT ZONE
You only grow out of your comfort zone; Architecture college makes you build a house out of the comfort zone. You’ll know how to work under pressure; in fact, it will make you productive during stressful times. It will construct your brain to have expeditious thinking, improve skills to defend your work, and the last-minute edits before submission.
It will make you leave your comfort zone; you’ll still be the survivor at the end.
CREATIVITY OVER SOFTWARE
No matter how much we progress in terms of software, digitization, and Virtual reality. Sketching is the initial step to start the process. You’ll learn and it will be used throughout your professional life that quick sketching leads to better solutions. It helps in impressing clients and getting a project, immediately.
Ar. Sanjay Puri still starts his project with a quick sketch, a conceptual thought. Even. The Pritzker winner 2018, still starts his work with some conceptual sketches.
IT’S A SOCIAL SERVICE BUT NOT FREE
Your design will develop the society’s skyline; you may even renovate, give some opinions, and throw some design tips for your relatives. Architecture shapes society and you work hard for every project, deadline, and client but why do we need to do it for free? Trust me many people will ask but do not do so.
You hard-earned your degree, do some justice to it.
There are no definite things that we learn but these were a few which are learned through the scrupulous course of Architecture. You’ll have many discourses and some experiences you would want again to happen. In the end, it always is a bitter-sweet series of eidetic memory sculpted in the hippocampus of your brain, for a better part of your life.