After pulling all-nighters, and grueling hours in the studio bent over sheets or praying that our computers will not crash at the last minute; the moment you hold your degree in your hands after five years of pursuing a professional degree is a—sweet triumph. It leaves a lasting impression on our minds and fills us with a feeling of warmth and elation that is forever etched in our memories.
When we reflect on the knowledge gained throughout those years, and of course, the lifelong friendships we form, we are hit with an unwavering realization, apart from the lump in our throat. The things we learn in architecture college are not just limited to designing perfect interactive spaces, architectural education also encompasses some other great lessons that are treasures outside of academia as well.
From day one of architecture college, we are taught about the concept of ‘design thinking’ or thinking about a given problem from all possible perspectives. In architecture, every dot has a meaning!
We learn how to carefully scrutinize a problem and arrive at the best possible solution tactfully. We study multiple precedents and gain preemptive insights into possible repercussions. Whether we realize it or not these problem-solving skills transform us into aficionados when it comes to being quick on our feet!
After a semester or two of internship, the illusion of working as a solitary genius is unveiled. The truth is architecture firms rarely function, without a collaborative approach. Architecture college gives you heaps of opportunities to work together as a team. Well, the experience can be frustrating, but excellent teamwork skills are sought after by every firm, and other soft skills are considered a bonus! So, keep in mind the motto—teamwork makes the dreamwork!
Research, Research, and More Research
Is it possible to turn into architectural experts overnight? Absolutely not! One of the things that juries or even brainstorming sessions have indubitably prepared us for is to know the complete in and out of the project we are doing, and its concepts. Even a trivial concept such as a plaster motif would be required to undergo thorough research. Videos, books, research papers—the medium doesn’t matter when it comes to amassing new knowledge efficiently. Instead of blankly staring at monotonous paragraphs, we learn to adapt to more innovative ways of research!
Let us be honest, all-nighters are not an easy task. After staying up all night and finishing the last-minute assignment that somehow just got pushed to the bottom of the to-do pile, getting through the next day is a grueling task. All we can think about is hitting the soft pillow and curling up under a blanket!
For those days when coffee just does not hit the right spot, excellent time management skills definitely come in handy. In architecture college, we all pick up some level of time management, to help us speed through tasks efficiently. We learn to overcome the intense time crunch, and it is a skill that definitely turns life into a breeze, even outside of education.
What’s architecture college without countless presentations, in all shapes and sizes? Whether you’re defending your project in front of a tough jury panel or trying to convince your team members that your idea is the next best thing, all of us involuntarily become eminent public speakers! After five years of architecture education, no crowd can deter us, be it big or small! Convincing people of anything and everything is a part and parcel of our career, so beware!
Comfort Being Conspicuous
It is a widely known fact, that we are acclimatized to some things considered ‘weird’ by others. From drawing in public, sitting on the steps of an abandoned building, to taking measurements of seemingly random things with our tape measure, we learn to be ourselves and ignore judgmental eyes.
While we may be forced to look ridiculous at times, say while carrying a sheet of foam board that’s bigger than ourselves, we ultimately learn to focus on what we need, for our work is more important to us than watchful eyes! We learn to conquer awkwardness, social anxiety, and learn to be comfortable in our own skins. After all, what’s more, important than that?
Throughout our wonderful architectural journey, we are made aware of life outside the bubble of architecture. At college, we might have an unspoken rivalry with non-architecture students, but that slowly transforms itself into a growing collaboration to create mindful spaces that incorporate the best of both worlds.
Without a structural engineer, a building may not stand, and without the advice of a doctor, we might not be able to fully understand and design hospitals. We realize that it is a beautiful field, that is only enhanced by multi-disciplinary collaboration. We meet and interact with people from all walks of life and make spaces for amazing people! What’s not to love?
Architecture paves the way for true innovation and development, and we inculcate many important skills along the way that are applicable in different phases of our lives. The things we learn may vary but, in the end, we emerge out of college stronger, more confident, and ready to conquer challenges!