I think we’ve established that Architecture is a course cut out only for the passionate. As a student myself, I entered the course filled with motivation. In my head, the course was going to give me ample opportunity to let my creative mind run free, and leave me enough time to pursue all my extra-curricular activities. My little bubble was immediately popped with 8 am – 6 pm classes 5 days a week. I’ve never been a person who has been able to sit in one place all day. So, architecture as a course was a real test of my patience and focus. I scrounged to find time to pursue my extra-curricular activities without tipping my academic scales.
Eventually, I got a grasp of it and learned to function on minimal hours of sleep. Given how heavy a sleeper I am, my phone alarms set at intervals of one minute didn’t suffice. My friends and classmate are both my survival kit and alarm clock throughout. From making sure you or your friends haven’t fallen asleep the night before submissions, to helping each other keep a track of all the submissions due, remind each other of the classes we need to attend, the course does teach you how to work efficiently as a team. I can only count the number of times I’ve had to shove my friend awake during class just before we get caught by our professors.
B.Arch in a Pandemic
Since I attend college away from home, I live in a hostel. My parents wouldn’t buy the long hours and hard work we’d put into every subject, I’d walk them through over the phone. I mean this was all until the pandemic bulldozed us and they saw it first-hand. They finally gave up trying to get me to sleep and wake up and so my assignments early in the morning and began to come to terms with the time and commitment it takes.
We survive through every all-nighter and every redo with the hope that it’ll all pay off one day and we will get to see our designs come to life soon enough. However, being a student in 2020 is an umm, let’s just say a once in a lifetime experience. Every all-nighter was different now, I was no longer reliant on the mess hours to fuel me through the night. I had an open kitchen filled with food and coffee literally at an arm’s reach. One ill-timed CAD crash, one delayed Ctrl-S is what makes or breaks you. It’s when you truly begin to value Revit’s constant reminder to save your work.
From fretting over completing our designs in time, we now worry about having a fast enough internet and pray that our laptops can handle all the applications opened, to get us through an online jury. Moreover, the necessity for self-explanatory presentations has hit an all-time high as we struggle to get our designs across through one small screen.
Let’s not forget the swollen eyes from staring at a screen all day long, deprived of seeing your classmates and friends, the only thing that made classes easier to get through. Every class isn’t complete without hearing the line “Am I audible?” or “Is my screen visible” at least 20 times. We really began to value and appreciate our patient and tolerant professors.
Embracing the Curveball
Having established all these downsides, the positive are things we could’ve only dreamt of. I mean, attending class while you’re still cuddled up under your blanket, who would’ve thought? The ability to make yourself invisible and inaudible to your professor at the click of a button has been a blessing to my wavering mind.
Instead of waking my friends up during class, were now reminding each other to make sure our mics are muted during class. I was now able to attend classes with my dog sleeping on my lap, which has been nothing but the best. This time at home has also been a blessing for my consistency with my extra-curricular activities with my parents constantly being around to make sure I don’t build an excuse to laze around instead.
From whining about why our college hadn’t given us quarantine holidays yet, to thoroughly rejoicing the 2 week holiday the pandemic gifted us, to hoping out coming semesters of college are no longer online, the pandemic has really tested our relationships, abilities and strength and responsibility as a society.
Though times are tough, we are constantly reminded to count our blessings and make the most of the curveballs thrown our way. All the resources, seminars, workshops, internships and projects we aspired to take part in are no longer limited to our in-person time, schedule and presence. Everything is quite literally a click away. Let’s embrace these inconvenient changes to open up a whole world of new and fresh opportunities, and lifestyle and learn to build and shape a stronger, sustainable, and cohesive society.