Architecture school without any doubt has been quite an experience in itself. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that it provides a unique experience in itself. From the permanent raccoon eyes, a (clearly) pleasant by-product of late nights, to the amazing (lack of a) happening social life, it provides a distinctly different college experience than the ones we fantasized about courtesy movies. The school gave me quite a rude awakening almost like an ice bucket being turned on my head. Even now when I look at the fresh-faced, hopeful, eager fresher’s, I remember my own experience as a newbie and chuckle at their naivety and internally look forward to witnessing the whiplash awaiting them.
Currently, at the end of my college life, all one can feel is the oncoming nostalgia from the tons of memories and the ones that stand out the most are the humorous ones and the experiences that had us on the edge of bawling our eyes out of frustration for sure!
Majority of our college hours are spent at the studio learning, relearning and in some cases unlearning things we already know. The experiences that made us feel like a star architect and the ones where we realized we were no better than toddlers learning how to write A, B, C, D. Realizing after multiple juries that there is no such thing as a final design. The pain and anxiety one feels as a professor sketches on top of your design. Enduring those redos and making up for the time lost via topo (making a copy of a sheet by tracing) in other subjects.
“Borrowing” of stationary and somehow ending up with completely different stuff by the end of the studio, how does that even happen! Cutter scars are equivalent to battle scars ladies and gentlemen, that model wouldn’t have made itself now would it?! What we dream of designing VS what we end up designing ( we’ve all been there fellas). Scrambling for new ideas when the design ends up being the farthest from the original concept…Pinterest to the rescue! Minions required for free labour? Look no further than the juniors.
The studio is a world of its own, the one where we could create whatever we wanted, and in some cases what our professor wanted. From creating fictional worlds for competitions to scrambling to find the correct dimensions in construction, to wondering whether napping can be considered as a valid hobby, we’ve done it all. And once the time for a ‘creative break’ came around indulging in our favourite vice, getting that caffeine kick.
We’ve all been there, in a conundrum that is unique to people involved in architecture, struggling to use Excel but being a pro at Photoshop. The ageing of our skeletons as we wait for a render. Staying up all night before a jury and praying the next day for the plotter to spurt out your sheets in a quick and decently looking way before a review/jury and eventually crying over going bankrupt with every sheet printed (I can still feel that pain).
No one would argue that the Professors provided a unique experience in themselves. While some seemed akin to gods and goddesses in their rights others made us question whether we are in the right profession or not. While some read off of the presentation others wisely guide and give us advice like,” Don’t leave everything last minute” but do you listen? NO.
The eventuality leads to late submissions which equal to no submissions accepted on occasion to pray for the submission room to catch on fire or the various scenarios running through your head right now( Don’t lie, you know what I mean) to delay your submission date. None of which works which leads to begging for grades towards the end of the semester and hoping for extra work to compensate.
All of these memories, of using workshops and study tours as an excuse to travel with your friends, the moment you realise your social life majorly consists of people from your college, looking forward to internships, make lists but never completing them, realizing that calling someone at 3 AM is not normal. All of these can surely be considered a part of the quintessential architecture school experience.
We as students swing between the workaholic and the hobo life and get so used to working 24×7 for months on end that the days post the final jury is a weird zone, where we hibernate for days catching up on sleep and all those TV shows we missed and feeling stressed that we aren’t feeling any stress due to lack of work. But all of it is worth it when we finally get that Architect title.
But in truth, I promise you it is only to be told by our neighbours, “Wow, so you’re an architect, now can you come to take a look at this minuscule silly problem at my house which is in no way connected to your profession so you can fix it for free. And as you try to explain that what they want is no way near your profession they say,” Its an engineering problem kid, it’s right up your alley!”
And this ladies and gentlemen is the exact moment one can proceed to finally pull all their remaining hair out and say “Ciao, adios” as you hightail out of there!