Week 1: 27th September to 1st October
One big long queue
This first week can only be described as one big long queue. Queuing to enrol at the Bartlett, queuing to enrol at its mother institution UCL, queuing to get computer stuff, queuing to hand in forms that could just have been dropped into a collection tray, queuing in big long queues where everyone seems to know everyone else, queuing for student discount travel forms, queuing to get a new student photocard that looks as though a monkey made it, queuing to pay fees, queuing in sweaty, humid corridors bereft of natural light and ventilation, queuing for interviews at 11.30 at night”¦..
Basically lots and lots of queuing.
140 hot, sweaty, totally queued-out architecture students crammed in a lecture theatre with a capacity much less than the attendance are subjected to 8 hours of their potential tutors ramblings about why they should join their Unit (studio). The Units went kind of along these lines
Unit 11: We draw fancy stuff and respect your individuality.
Unit 12: We do arty stuff and respect your individuality.
No unit 13 because we are superstitious like that.
Unit 14: We make weird stuff that reacts to you in a weird way and respect your individuality.
Unit 15: We do weird stuff on the computer and respect your individuality.
Unit 16: We draw weird stuff that flies and that you can live in and respect your individuality.
Unit 17: We're really popular but don't worry we also respect your individuality.
Unit 18: We actually make buildings but don't worry, we do a bit of weird stuff at the start and oh yes, we respect your individuality.
Unit 19: We do the weirdest stuff, we hate real buildings and respect your individuality.
The respect of ones individuality is probably emphasised in an act of denial as deep down most of these Units probably know that they are conveyer belts, factories for the replication and propagation of the tutor that runs them. Go on call me a cynic!
Interspersed between the Unit introductions were talks by student counsellors, so concerned about us poor lot that they thought they'd make a special visit and by the Workshop and AV people telling us about the inductions that we would have to do next week. Joy even more queuing lies in wait.
11.45 at night, I'm at the Bartlett and I haven't even started work yet. What am I doing, yes, you guessed it, I'm queuing, this time queuing for my first choice Unit interview, which is one and a half hours late (which meant that my interview was scheduled for 10.15pm which is still rather silly I feel). Doing this every year you'd think they'd sort out a better way of doing this, but I guess architects are suckers for self punishment. One of the Units was even interviewing at three in the morning!
All architects wear black
Or funny glasses or collarless shirts or bright socks, it's strange that when moving from one school to another you expect to meet different personalities but are confronted by the same again. For instance: the slightly eccentric tutor who believes he professes the future, the architectural teaching duo that may as well be the same person and are rumoured to be gay, the nice guy tutor who everyone loves and the hard bastard who everyone hates”¦feel free to insert your own stereotype here.
I get to join my unit (have been given my first choice early, so no need to fight to see the notice board), I get to join a workshop introduction where they will probably tell me important stuff like “don't put your fingers near the Bandsaw” and go to collect a swipe card for 24hour access where I will probably (but god I hope not) go through a 50 minute talk on out of hours working, if I'm really lucky they might make me do a risk assessment.