Under-eye bags, sleepless nights, printing anxiety, and complete black outfits are a staple of any architecture student. However, this was not the case when I had not joined this fateful course. 

As a dreamy but studious kid in the Science stream of a reputable High School, there were some things I took for granted; namely, knowing the singular right answer to any question, sleeping at a reasonable time, completing assignments without the fear of redo’s and in general living an agreeable life away from constant design changes!

Life changes drastically when a student joins the Architecture course in College, and often it is a Culture Shock; it uproots you from your comfort zone, changes your understanding of how to gain knowledge, and pushes you to explore and re-evaluate most of your school learning. While many of these are positive changes from our staunch education system, they are also excruciating for a student. Adapting to these changes and unlearning a rigid system is painful but also freeing.

However, one of the best teachings of Architecture School might just be finding humor in the painbe it laughing through failure, or the pain of magnanimous design changes at the last minute, or even the tiny gut punches of losing favorite stationery.

Architecture school has its bittersweet moments, and here are 8 things that happen when you join an Architecture school they might seem irksome at the time but are often humorous and even silly in retrospect.  

Unlearning school

Professors spend the first few weeks of Architecture School trying to hammer the concept of unlearning into the students. A student would often think “Why?” Rigorous studying and careful preparation have led you to the school of your dreams, and now they want you to forget everything that brought you here! It can often be a tumultuous emotional ride.

Printing Anxiety

A big part of every submission is getting drawings printed in time, and a printer knows when you’re running late. All the paper jams, color bleeds, cut prints, and running out of ink scenarios happen exactly when an important large size print is needed for a jury. And alas, a juror never understanding of these troubles!

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Printing Anxiety_©System32Comics

Rejection is a Frenemy

It happens so often that your design not getting rejected is a rare occasion. At first, a design rejection is hurtful, but over time you realize that the first option not getting chosen is an opportunity to explore and come up with better ideas! You can see your evolution through the new ideas and that is growing as an architect! You and Design’s rejection is a love-hate relationship.

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Last Minute Changes_©Dilbert and the CAD Monkey

Don’t Panic! Your model has errors.

Modeling software giving you panic attacks is a routine before any submission. You work on a model for days to bring your design to life, but the moment you want to save your latest changes, the software crashes! Or worse, hangs, and every student at that point, becomes devout, praying for Autosave to have done its magic.

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Stressful Software_©Andrea Vasquez

Grey Areas

Many things, from your hair to your objectivity turn grey as you study architecture. Since architecture is a subjective aesthetic, any design problem has multiple right approaches. As a professor of mine had said, in art and architecture, there is no wrong answer. The work stress gives you grey hair, and the lack of a singular correct solution greys your objective sense.

Stationery Hoarder Tendencies

If you were a lover of cute stationery and nice pens before Architecture, prepare to have your tendencies quadrupled! The need for various kinds of rendering techniques leads you to buy all types of stationery, some of which might never be used twice. Throwing out old stationery feels illegal, especially considering how much it costs!

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Blood, Sweat, and Tears

Surviving Architecture school means giving it your all-so much sweat, a lot of tears, and even literal blood from cuts during the model making. The highlight of model making exercises would surely be some bloodstains on models and cutting boards, but you keep going nonetheless.

To sleep or not to sleep

The first week of school teaches you to value your sleep, or at least manage your sleep in winks! A long list of submissions and countless subjects forces students into making a choice: to sleep or to work. Many agree that time management can help you avoid sleepless nights, unfortunately, the best design work materializes under pressure.

Watch of an Architect_©Leewardists.

These experiences would be shared by most architecture students, as they delve into a new realm of infinite possibilities. Architecture gives you the freedom and a wide scope for knowledge, but it comes with its struggles. They can often feel like tough things to go through in School but often turn out to be the most fun memories! 

Architecture prepares you for life, you learn to take rejection in your stride, have bold ideas and the knowledge to execute them, and of course, the experience of working under extreme pressure – all in the spirit of becoming a better professional!


"Shama Patwardhan, an Architect from Mumbai, is passionate about architecture and inquisitive about its implications on Social Equity. A human being with eternal panic, she is fond of poetry, art, literature and cat videos on the internet."