My professor told me I'm not good enough. Should I quit?


I'm currectly in college studying architecture, I'm in my first year and a couple months ago my professor said to me that he doesn't think architecture is my right path.

Last semester I got really bad grades, a D in a drawing class and a C in design fundamentals

And now this semester i've gotten two c's in design fundamentals. One was analysis drawings and the other one we had to create a tiny house.

The thing is, I feel like I'm not really learning anything. Like, they don't really teach us it's just critic after critic. Of course I do learn from this, but I wish we got thought more about spaces so i knew what i was doing. 

I feel like they're only honest with me during the last presentation. Like, during the process they seem to actually like it, and don't seem to mind the drawings. But it's not until the last minute they use different words to say it sucks and my drawings are terrible.

My school also sucks, it's all handrawing and we don't use computers until second year. So I've been kinda wanting that. Cause apparently I'm not very good at drawing and I've been kinda hoping once we get to be more technological, it'll be better for me. If I decide to stick with it.

Jun 10, 17 12:46 am

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It could be the wrong thing for you or the wrong school or maybe you're not doing enough work, or have some other thing in your life holding you back.

Jun 10, 17 3:57 am

Methinks you're having the wrong expectations of architecture school atm. You went in with the expectation that you'll learn how to craft spaces to dimensions, this you will...just not in the early stages of education.

Focus on your fundamentals, like what your professor has criticised on. Get familiar with various representation techniques, in particular drawing, which you'll need to jot down ideas in future (it'll be a lost art form sooner or later). It's also perfectly fine a pedagogy to pick up CAD tools from 2nd year onwards. You must be studying in Asia I reckon?

Your professors were probably trying to be kind to you throughout the semester. How about you ask them not to care about your feelings and give a brutally honest opinion on a weekly basis?

Hang in there till year 2 and see how it goes.

Jun 10, 17 4:55 am

I would maybe ask myself and him the following questions:

- What is it that interests me in architecture? It is such a broad field. Are you more interested in designing, as in drawing, or maybe your can express yourself better with the help of physical models and digital models? Are you mostly interested in cities and its ecosystem and how it influences and how it is being influenced by society? You mentioned that you want to learn more about spaces and how they work. Go to the library and find the right books. Teachers are not going to teach you everything you need to know and definitely the stuff that interests you the most. 

- Ask the professor what he exactly means with "you are not good enough". Being not good enough at drawing, doesn't mean you can't be a good architect. 

- Ask your other teachers what they think of you and if they have any advise

I was bad at drawing at the beginning and I'm not even close to a good drawer, but learning to draw is about communicating your ideas, not about making pretty sketches. Maybe you will learn to communicate via fast perspective models and collages in photoshop.. 

Jun 10, 17 5:22 am

which country are you in?  I had one professor tell me 'You're a 4th year student.  You shouldn't be wasting time on where to put the toilet' xD

I also had an employer tell me.. I expect more from a 3rd year student.  That doesn't mean my work is crap.  Its just I put emphasis and prioritize other things. :)

Anyways.. From all my reviews and crits, I realize I learn the most from harsh crits.  It makes me reflect and really look at areas I need to work on and I've always come out better from it, picked up new skills, more knowledge from those.

Jun 10, 17 5:25 am

There's nothing wrong with harsh crits in your later years in school, but profs that rip apart a kid who's just out of high school is uncalled for. It's architecture school, not the Marines. I sometimes wonder if the cynicism in the profession starts with this hazing nonsense in freshman year.


Yes.. the prof was harsh and probably a douche bag. I don't know how I'd have handled it if a prof told me straight up I'm not good enough and should quit.


Whatever you do, don't make a crucial life decision based on one professor's comment in your first year of anything.  Those who can, do.  Those who can't, teach.  Those who can't teach, consult.  The A student usually ends up working for a C student.

Jun 10, 17 6:36 am

Exactly, a lot of academics are just architects who didn't make it in practice. In my first year I was taught by 2 members of staff who had just graduated from the MArch, couldn't find work and went into academia. On the other hand, I also had tutors who were practicing architects, whose work I admired and they were able to motivate me to put together very exciting projects. Don't quit now it's too early. You are only in 1st year, so there is plenty of time to identify your interest within the field. However, do engage yourself in some critical self-reflection to identify your what your weakness is and work on that.


The old saying is actually "A students become professors, and B students graduate and go to work for C students." In any case if I were you I would look at whether your professor meant that you're fundamentally not good enough (in which case I'd ignore that as it's not useful, and try not to get that person as a professor in the future, if you have any choice in that), or whether he means your work is not good enough. If the latter then take that more to heart, because if you're consistently not doing enough in first year it's only going to get harder going forward, and this might not be the best course of study for you. If you're getting multiple Cs and Ds in your first two semesters, and not all from the same faculty member, then there's probably a big mismatch between the expectations of this program and your ability to produce.

Non Sequitur
Knowing how to draw is fundamental. You don't have to be an artist, just find a way to communicate your designs via sketch.
Jun 10, 17 9:17 am

grades in an architecture studio are pretty subjective.  if you're in an environment where the professors are failing you, you will likely continue to fail.  if you want to continue pursing an education in architecture school, i think you need to switch schools, which will be hard because of the low grades.

Jun 10, 17 10:43 am

Take a few aptitude tests and see what they say. It's early you may just be off to a slow start.

Jun 10, 17 10:51 am

Everyone who is incapable of learning has taken to teaching

Jun 10, 17 11:28 am

how can one teach others if they can't learn first? o_O lol


Are you struggling in design classes and doing fine in the others? There is far more to architecture then rendering

Jun 10, 17 12:31 pm

If your professor was "good enough",(s)he wouldn't be teaching.

That said, most of my peers who sucked at school are doing much better than people who were constant a-graders at school (like me). Architecture in real life is diametrically opposed to what they teach in school.

Jun 10, 17 10:31 pm

You guys are harsher with the academics than I am!  I don't think they are necessarily incapable of practice.  I just think many of them have never tasted real life in the profession, and so they believe that the skills that get you good grades in school are the skills that get you success in "the real world".  And so, their opinion of your aptitude must be taken with a giant grain of salt.  And first year is waaaaaay too soon to be weeding out students for supposed lack of talent, whatever that is.

Many good reasons to leave architecture, but a professor's opinion is not one of them.

Jun 10, 17 10:41 pm

Well said!


I always thought many academics are full time practicing architects.



Jun 11, 17 1:34 am

wait until they let you present ideas via the computer.  my undergrad limited us until 3rd year to hand drawings, but I went ahead and used software like Pov-Ray and the very first version of Rhino to present stuff (circa 1998). If you provided the minimum hand stuff, no one complained if you had extra computer generated images...

also - first semester was a C (I deserved it) and a  C in English 101....then I took philosophy courses and found out my writing that earned me C's in English class earned me A's in philosophy.  I also earned D's in structural as I just plane disagreed with the professor and was always the first one done with the exam - I work closely with structural engineers now (do many calcs myself) last semester in Grad School was a "C" (I just thoroughly disagreed with the professors).   There were A's sprinkled in here and there with the right professors and courses.  Just wanted to give you a practicing architects record that included C's and D's for reference.

so if you want to be an architect, become an architect. it's just school.

Jun 11, 17 8:02 am

I used a C project for my main portfolio piece that got me a lot of positive attention from employers and a job out of school. Two of my 'A' projects never made it into my portfolio, they were too abstract. I got an F in studio at mid-semester my final year and ended up with an A becuase one of the final jurors said I was brilliant and my professor who gave me a bad time couldn't see it. My best friend got C's and a few D's then transferred schools and started getting A's and became a top student in her class. I got a C in English 101 too, then during the recession I taught English at a private school in the most educated city in the US. Does any of it make sense? Nah. Just laugh.

Jun 11, 17 11:45 am

Does any of it make sense? Nah. Just laugh

It will be that way for the rest of life.


i like the C project as portfolio project bit. to young students reading this - if you like your work that is what you put in your portfolio.....lets here it for the C students in English 101!


i spelled "here" incorrectly here, no English teacher would understand that ontological problem.


I wasn't that kind of teacher. I would point it out, but no big deal. I didn't really teach "English" as much as I taught the building blocks of language and English was the language we worked in.


My C in English wasn't deserved. The department reviewed my work as they do to make sure grades are consistent among all 101 classes and asked my prof to change my grade. He wouldn't. He had a personal problem with me. I was snarky back then too.

In my Junior year I asked a design prof (I won't say who) what he would do if he were sitting in my chair? He said "drop out".

1. He might have been projecting.

2. He might have been joking.

3. He might have been right.

Jun 11, 17 11:46 am

After your degree no one will ask you about your grades in college anyways. There is a saying, what do you call the student with the worst grades in med school? Doctor. 

Another point, some of the advice above suggests to get your strengths (digital representation) working for you. I don't disagree, but the opposite philosophy of working on your weaknesses is also a way to grow. It is much better to be a student who can learn and improve than one who is apparently inately talented. If you can bring your weaknesses up to the level of your strengths you have a much better set of tools than having one really powerful way of doing.

Jun 11, 17 12:00 pm

They are just preparing you for the harshness of real world architecture life style.

Jun 11, 17 1:19 pm

Ok, I am a person who can speak very well about a situation like this. I was skipped during design review a few times by a professor and I know how it feels to have someone wanting you out and I can say without a doubt If you want to stay...stay and if you want to leave...leave. No one can tell you what you can and can not do, in a situation such as this it is up to you to overcome your boundaries. I thought I was down and out, but I manage to pull a job with a nice size firm specializing in healthcare design, I still have a home design business I am trying to figure out what to do with and I am waiting to get into a B.arch  online program with a transfer of at least 55 credits. So you could turn out great it is up to you if you care or not.

Jun 11, 17 4:52 pm

So you dropped out and want to get back into a B.Arch program?


Get out now while you still can. It's one of the worst professions out there, unless you're a pretentious egomaniac

Jun 13, 17 7:10 am

see also: POTUS




I was told same thing by 2 different instructors in school, not something you want to hear but I used as fuel to prove to myself and them why they didn't have the last say so about me and my ability.

although on the flip side, I had about 6 telling how well at the craft I was.

Jun 13, 17 12:42 pm

two things:

  • it's absolutely vital that you understand how architecture education works. it's not going to be a program of training (like what you're used to from high school), where you're taught a concept and then asked to demonstrate mastery of it; architecture students are taught through an iterative process of design and critique. this will likely never change throughout your time in school, so you need to prepare yourself for that reality.
  • don't expect the computer to magically turn you into a good designer. you need to be able to get to a successful design (and learn when to listen to your professors and when to ignore them) without depending on software. you may later find that the computer is where your strongest talents lie, but your digital work will be that much better if you can strengthen your drawing skill and design fundamentals first.
Jun 14, 17 10:35 am

When I graduated, the M.arch chairman told me to do something else

Jun 14, 17 4:45 pm

Was that because he didn't believe you had the ability, or because he wanted to spare you the heartache?


lots of reasons


Basically I was more architech(BIM, programming) than architect - the more progressive professors liked my work, the traditionalists saw me as a failure (you cant hand letter or draw in in autocad? - you're useless"

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Kid, there are assholes in everywhere...if you listen to might as well quit on your dream. 

Jun 14, 17 10:25 pm

Architecture has a particularly high concentration of them though...

everywhere, everything and

Jun 14, 17 10:25 pm

What does he know? hes a professor. learn from the pros and disregard everything else. If professors were good enough at their subject they would be in practice. 

Jun 16, 17 2:43 pm

Wait, I want to quit too. Let me know when you do it and we can synch up our schedules.

Jun 16, 17 4:41 pm

quiting today but back at it monday

I take Mondays off.




My friend was told to quit in their BA and failed but eventually passed with the lowest possible score. 

They've just won a major architectural award.

Jun 16, 17 8:41 pm
I was told - "it's the capacity to simultaneously think of everything involved with the problem" it's a necessary ability to be scull fledged architect - this ability is where the separate the architects from the architechs

- also there is a lot of Marine Corp like hazing in architecture school "What is your major malfunction private Pyle?" Type of stuff - if you believe it,then they are right
Jun 17, 17 12:18 am

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