Architecture college is a place that does not conform to the way of learning in a usual higher learning department. We create, we lug away, we sit around and think and to be fair, sitting around and thinking is part of what nurtures us as an architect. We are thinkers, dreamers and observers. We are dream sellers. We create dreams and we turn them into a reality that can be followed to make into something realistic. So, it is fair to say that architecture school brings up day dreamers who jot down dreams on sheets of paper to make it into reality. Well, that is putting architecture as an education mildly in all fairness because that is not all we learn at architecture school. 

Considering it is a multidisciplinary education where we need to learn the skill sets of a humanitarian, a psychology expert – to deal with clients, an environmentalist – all hail Mother Nature, an engineer – how do you expect such a large thing to stay in one place without falling without the knowledge of Newton’s laws- and a designer – which might as well be the most important skill set, we need, which does or does not necessarily is used in education and in survival.

Welcome to the world of an architecture student.

1. How to Make a Good Cup of Coffee

With all those submissions, you better not fall asleep because let’s be fair, everyone tends to procrastinate at some point of time and at times, deadlines are a killer. Some days, we dream without eyes open so much that we aren’t even sure where time flew or we keep on going over and over, redoing our design till our satisfaction which, to be fair, consumes time like a black hole.

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An ideal cup of coffee ©

At that point, coffee works its magic to keep you awake and finish everything. It is one necessary trick to know how to create a coffee concoction strong enough to run you through the number of hours you need to work plus two (for safety sake).

Work it out and find your blend. Some prefer black with two spoonfuls of sugar (adds a sugar rush and gives you a boost of energy, however also may lead to a sugar coma), some prefer black like Satan’s soul, some prefer loads of milk (careful as this doesn’t really give caffeine much chance to keep you awake and energized) and some prefer less. I found my blend in the third month of architecture. You’ll find yours as well. 

2. How to Trace a Sheet


Considering it is a cheat method (I know, I know), it is something that you should know but morally shouldn’t use. Tracing sheets is a method old as time – exaggeration but it might as well be. What makes it a cheat method is that it is basically copying somebody else’s assignment using a piece of glass and light. You know the basic tricks, stick one sheet under, get some light and trace away. Easy as that! But let’s be fair, it doesn’t teach you anything which is sort of the point of school but it does come handy when you are running out of time. This is one survival tactic to be used at the utter end of morality.

Again. Not recommended at all, amigos.

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3. How to Find Free Softwares

Thankfully Autodesk and some other companies do provide student friendly versions of their softwares that students can access free but other companies don’t play so nice. It’s pay or go and you can’t just depend on the four weeks long freebie version, which to be fair, doesn’t give you as much control over it as you’d like. For a test run, it is fun but hear me clearly: WE NEED SOFTWARES FOR FREE! We don’t have a lot of income and we need to learn things. So, knowing how to find free softwares is a must. Without the virus, of course, which I learned the hard way but the hunt was fun. In the long run, it is the survival tactic required to keep your computer safe.

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4. How to Eat on the Move

Let me begin this by saying that I am aware that it is not healthy but required. Many times, things are going to come up in the middle of when you are eating and that is something that is annoying, frustrating and a thousand other things I cannot even begin to explain because food is essential to one’s functioning and skipping food isn’t ideal or well, survivable. Eating on the move is part of the hippie life we live as an architect or architecture student. Food is a necessity that we have to learn how to eat on the move. Wraps, rolls and the kind that can be moved around with, make up the majority of an architect’s survival diet.

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5. How to Make a Bomb Presentation

The life of dream sellers depends on presentations. As a student, we have to have some sharp presentation skills or life is practically over. Well, that might as well be an exaggeration but it’s not far from the truth. How else are we supposed to discuss ideas if we don’t have a proper pinboard for showing those ideas in the light that they need to be seen in and a little glamorizing never hurt anybody, right?

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At the same time, it is important to have a convincing set of words to go on about our design and convince the jury that anything is possible. Words and presentations are another two of the survival skill sets that fill up an architecture student’s body along with the caffeine flowing through their body because being fair, we are hungry all the time and running low on food most of that time. However, coffee is such an on the go necessity that we even joke about getting IVs attached. 

6. How to NOT Get Distracted

We are all guilty of it. Daydreaming leads to ‘what if’ scenarios which in some cases are also triggered by that high caffeine level and the sword of deadlines hanging over our heads. That’s not even it. Social media is the culprit. You be looking for ideas and inspirations and find yourself stalking hot celebs from that new Netflix chick flick for an hour or two before you realize that you have all information about it – including the fact that they have six children (Brad Pitt for example), is bisexual, has had two wives but no idea about your residential project which you needed the inspiration for. In that case, use this celebrity to boost your project. Stalk his house. Basically, bounce back from the distraction or well, use it for your own good. 

Stop that damned distraction.


Life in an architecture school is different and an experience of its own kind. It is having fun and on the edge of surviving. It is cut throat yet beautiful. It nurtures thinkers and observers. But I do hope to live the architecture student life, you have the six important skills to survive.


A logophilic, punny architecture student with more-vivid-than-life imagination who believes that architecture is more closely linked to human origin, living and psychology than we may give it credit for. I can usually be found with my head in a book, or sometimes a notebook jotting down my observations or imaginations.