College life. Everyone has had a preconceived notion about college life when in high school. I had them too. And I, like every naive high school student, did not think any differently. Always thought college life would be an enjoyable moment without any care in the world. Whereas in reality, college gives nothing but a set of lessons that extend beyond the lines of academics.
Especially in an architecture college, I can guarantee that even if one does not necessarily learn much related to academics, any individual would carry with them a set of life lessons once they graduate.
The year of Un-Learning
When I started with my first year, I was pretty sure my college life was going to be a hard battle of wits, with students of unique caliber competing against each other for top marks. To sum up, the first year was just the basics. Initially, one would think architecture is only about designing fancy buildings. I had the same thoughts about it too. And the first year, let us explore the fancier aspects of architecture in various ways.
First-year was all hand done work. From drafting plans to rendering them and even model making. Even if we were poor at designing and conceptualizing, we were given enough practice to produce quality hand-done work. We were given projects based on abstraction, art, space visualization, and many more. The variety of these projects made us un-learn a lot of things.
Un-Learning. That was the first thing our faculty aimed for us to achieve. To unlearn everything we ever knew about architecture. It was to cancel out all the preconceived notions already written in our brains. To be open to criticism and work more with options. That was the aim of the first year. And this process of unlearning once achieved helped us throughout our endeavor to grow as a person and an architect.
The year of discoveries
Second-year was just an upgraded version of the first year. Though this was also the year I learned a lot about myself and the subject too. I was starting to realize where my capabilities lay.
Which area of architecture did I lack in. We saw a shift from traditional methods of producing work to computer-aided drawings.
Honestly, in my second year, I had my focus oriented towards the traditional methods of producing work. I never enjoyed working on a computer even when in school. All my school life, I tried running away from computers and software only for it to become a huge part of my life. They now govern my entire life. But I never realized that in my second year. So I tried avoiding software and stuck to hand-done drawings.
By then, I knew my interests did not lie in designing as much as they did in research work and documentation. We had documented two places by then and both the times I enjoyed them.
To sum up, the second year of my college life helped me unravel myself and understand layers of myself to some extent.
The year of Foreseeing
University year. That’s it. That’s how I would describe my third year of college. One had to take this year seriously to live a peaceful life, there was no other way around. The entire year we worked towards doing well in University juries. Day after day, night after night, submissions just pile on and on, and on.
If anything, architecture has taught us to procrastinate and get work done on time. It’s a superpower gained with time, after taking risks after risks. And the amount of procrastination my and my little friend circle has done the entire year is proof that this superpower truly exists. Though, we did not let this hinder the quality of work produced.
This year also taught us to think ahead of time, regardless of how unorganized a human is. We all know, getting prints from a nearby shop is a hassle especially on days closer to jury dates. I learned how to think ahead and devise various plans as to how to get my prints as smoothly and quickly as I could. This included finishing work a few days prior and getting them printed a day before any submission, or, reaching college early to get them done.
Unlike how the third year of architecture usually goes by, our batch had the fortunate or unfortunate chance of not appearing for University juries because of the pandemic. So, even though we learned a lot of life lessons, our chance of learning how to appear for a University level jury was snatched away. Even though the idea of not giving juries and canceling submissions was exciting then, now it seems like a missed chance.
The year of Coping
One major aspect this year taught us was working from home without losing one’s mind. We used to cry about going to college every day and how we wanted to work from home before the pandemic. This year gave us a clear picture of work from home when you are an architecture student.
We did not have a normal semester. I remember, a lot of our seniors hyped up the fourth year for us as the most relaxing year of architecture college. Because of the current scenario, our semester was miserable. We were only working for the sake of completing submissions. Important aspects of architecture such as studying and designing high rises were just brushed upon this year even though we were supposed to be learning about them in-depth.