Sep '04 - Apr '06
I just sent this to the Director of the School of Architecture. Sad, huh? I can't decide if the situation is quite as dire as I've painted it here. I do know that I'm royally screwed for this coming week. It's already 2:30am, and I'm not done even half of what I wanted/need to get done today. Am I lazy, weak, or just fighting against a giant unstoppable steamroller?
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From: David Zeibin
Date: Sun, 17 Oct 2004 02:16:49 -0700
Subject: Themes and workload
Just for the record, and since you told us to let you know, I think the Themes readings are often too much work. But... I don't think this is a symptom of Themes being too much work; nay, this entire program is too much work.
To offer some background, let me explain where I'm coming from: I just finished a degree in Engineering Physics at the University of Alberta. The program graduates approximately 20 students each year (it has grown to this number only very recently, up from ~6/year), all of whom are basically among the top 15% of students at the U of A. Minimum cutoff average GPA to get into the program is routinely 7.8 on a 9-point scale, and the typical courseload per term is 6-7 classes, or 18-21 credits.
Given these numbers, one might say that on paper, architecture school is comparable to this. But it's not. Not in my six years in engineering, nor in my three years during that time at the Gateway, (the student newspaper on campus where I consistently put in 50-60 hour work weeks), have I ever worked harder than I am working right now. Only just a few minutes ago I counted it up: 9am to midnight, mon-fri, plus ~8+ hours each of sat-sun = 90+ hours/week of nothing but architecture. Further, I like to think I'm a pretty clever guy, with a solid skill set tuned to doing well in architecture school: background in materials and engineering, solid writing/communication skills and good design intuitions from working at the paper, etc... But somehow I can't quite keep up with just getting all the work done?
Does this not seem ludicrous? Of course, I know the UBC SoA is not an anomaly; all architecture schools are like this, yes?
I guess all I want to say is, I love architecture and this is the first time in my education that I've actually truly enjoyed coming to school, being with great people, and being excited about learning. But I have a nagging cough as a remnant of that cold that's been passed around, I consistently have headaches because I'm not sleeping enough, and I only see my girlfriend for a total of maybe 10-15 hours per week (thankfully she is extremely understanding at present). I'm worried that I cannot take it mentally or emotionally, never mind physically, and the option of quitting is, now, never too far away.
Perhaps I am not cut out to be an architect, or perhaps I am approaching architecture school from the wrong angle, or perhaps I am just trying too hard to do everything right. Or perhaps it actually is unrealistic to expect students to enjoy their education and have the time to feel they can learn and be creative. Whatever the case, it makes me unhappy. For now, I'll lumber on and make the best of it, I guess, hoping that when the thesis students say first year is the worst, they're telling the truth.
Thanks for reading. See you on Wednesday in class. I may or may not have my Themes readings done for Monday... Sigh.
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