Generating income while in grad school


As someone who worked (avg of 32 hours a week) in a less demanding field of study compared to architecture during undergrad, I am concerned about generating enough income to cover monthly expenses while pursuing an M. Arch (UMich). After projecting expenses over the next three and a half years, I have a good understanding of how the expenses come together for multiple scenarios. 

For those of you who worked during grad school to maintain financial obligations: how did you generate income, roughly how many hours per week did you work, and do you think it altered your experience?

Mar 12, 18 7:08 pm

20ish hours GRA at library mostly scanning thing for professors ($10/hr) but if a professor didn't have something to scan, I could work on studio.

10-40 hours pursuing other lucrative GRAs (mostly free work for professors always luring a full-scholarship GRA in front of my nose) you get more portfolio fodder, but at the expense of your studios.  Overall I recommend not to do this.

Whatever I could get in the building industry (mostly roofing, plumbing, electrical, and framing) by the end $25 per hour.  Great experience, but again at the expense of studios.  

Never got an A at studio because I always underperformed and was told I should be spending more time on the projects and "clearly have the potential" from professors.  *shrug* They didn't have my bills to worry about.

Studios were all about the process and multiple iterations.  I put aside side work for the week before any major reviews, but that really isn't enough.

Mar 12, 18 7:23 pm

Taking out a mortgage for education is the greatest trick the devil ever pulled.

Mar 12, 18 9:30 pm
wurdan freo

I used to build models for architects to submit to design review boards.  3-5k a pop and 40-80 hours. easy peasy... or you could just sell your body... I know a tile guy who donates plasma twice a week at $40 a pop...

Mar 12, 18 10:33 pm
I'm not a robot

I worked 35-45 hours a week at an arch office while in grad school.

pros: I learned how to prioritize and get things done fast.  I graduated with very little debt.  I was licensed within 18 months of finishing school.

cons: my health suffered - I gained 20 lbs and can no longer drink coffee. I probably could have produced better work had I not been working (although i generally received high marks).

Mar 13, 18 9:08 am
I'm not a robot

side note: I did have conflicts with a couple profs who didn't understand or care that I had to work to support my family. If you go this route, be prepared for this and be professional and realistic about what you can and cannot accomplish. Do not be afraid to push back on or negotiate some of your workload as this particular skill will serve you well professionally.

Non Sequitur

I second the working in an office.  My grad school was not located in an area with options but I did snag a sweet studio TA gig that covered most of my living expenses.  It's not difficult to balance work and school if you know how to prioritize your time and make decisions.

I worked at least 25+ hours a week during all my undergrad with the last 2 years in a small office.  My grades did not suffer and I remained in the top 5% of my studio class.  Even if they had suffered, who cares, they mean nothing outside of school anyways.  Experience and efficient use of time does, and future employers will recognize this.

Mar 13, 18 9:38 am

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