Quitting my architecture degree


Hi, I am an architecture engineering student from Belgium. I just finished my second year. But I really am considering to switch...

I began with so much energy and motivation, I was so excited. I really love art and culture and I admire buildings. I like the subjects very much but I since a while I started not to like the designing part itself. I just feel stressed all the time and I hate to fail. So I push myself to continue, but I still feel stressed.

It's like a love-hate relationship. I love the things you can accomplish with architecture, I really find it amazing. But I hate the energy it's demanding from me. I feel lost, most of the times I don't feel like I am myself anymore. It's so hard because I don't like failures and I always had the dream to become an architect.

My friends and family thinks it's just a phase. That I should continue. But they really don't understand what it is doing to me or how much effort it's demanding. 

I really don't know what to do. I don't look up to drawing and designing,    I just feel stressed by the idea of it? Is this a normal phase? Does a lot of architecture students have been through this?

Because nowadays I think its better to change career paths. I think if it makes me feel this way while I am studying it, it will not become better while I am actually practicing as an architect or in the architecture field.

I just really lost my energy and I am so done with it. I am just so afraid because I love the idea of creating and I am afraid I let a part of myself down. I just don't think that this study is healthy for me? I'd rather be happy and don't feel stressed/depressed. So I really think changing careers would be better for me...

Do you guys have any experience with that? What did you do? 

Jul 28, 18 11:57 am

What would you do instead? Are you sure those feelings of stress and fear of failure are related to the subject of architecture, or are a reflection of your personality and would pop up with any other direction you take?Also not everyone that graduates architecture school designs or makes drawings for a living.

Jul 29, 18 1:25 am  · 
The education fir an architect is great, however, the the practice of architecture is truly miserable. The profession organization do not support young professionals, wages are low, large firms treat you as a disposable work force as you get older, and the public thinks not that much of you.
I would investigate other professions such as medical, marketing or business.
At least you can one day, build a custom residence for yourself or family - you can be your own architect !!!!
Best !!!!
Jul 29, 18 9:13 am  · 

I think a lot of students hit this wall when they realize they aren't able to glide through the material they're studying the way they did in high school.  Lots of professions require huge effort, and whatever you switch to will likely be just as demanding if not more.  The question is what outcome (product of the effort + money) are you getting, and is it worth the effort to you?

I switched majors early in college, from physics to architectural engineering.  I loved learning about physics and mathematics, but quickly realized that the career path for most physicists in America was not something I would enjoy doing, and the outcome of the work wasn't satisfying to me because it wasn't tangible. Architectural engineering suited me much better, and I never looked back. 

I also think the more you practice the less stressful the work will become.  In my case, I usually didn't like doing something because I wasn't good at it or was unfamiliar with the process, and I think that stems from a fear of failure.  But I found that it's hard to hate doing things that you're good at.  Also, you don't have to enjoy or feel happy during every part of the design process!  Trying to eliminate stress from your life is an impossible task, but you can always control how you deal with stress, and how seriously you take things.  Good luck!

Jul 29, 18 11:51 am  · 

If your heart isn’t on the path by all means change direction. 

Don’t confuse architecture with art. 

Jul 29, 18 12:39 pm  · 
Michelle Chen

Hey! Can you elaborate on that last statement? Sorry for this sudden intrusion as I have received that exact same comment from my archi prof for 3 consecutive desk crit of my project and I'm getting so confused as to which direction is my idea heading to. Care to explain more on that statement? Would love to have some opinion from you to get out of that artsy fartsy world and show my prof that I am doing architecture and not art...

Nov 6, 18 10:03 am  · 
Architecture is only for the passionate hearts , but that doesn’t pay bills.
It takes more time and mental energy to be an architect than a doctor or lawyer or ceo.
The rewards are only returned to your heart not through clients, salary or status.
I recently had a child and our doctor charged $30,000 (US dollars)for the delivery and pre-care . Our doctor performed about 2 -4 deliveries per week , so not bad.
I believe our doctor made $3-5 million per year most architects in US will reach 120,000 per year after 20 years of experience - starting salary is $39,000 which has been the and for the past 20 years so you decide - passion or career that pays for your services.
Jul 29, 18 1:01 pm  · 
1  · 

I'm from horn of Africa, for me I had a lot of passion in my undergraduate studies, at that years in my undergraduate I was awake for a weeks sometimes with passion, I remember even I wasn't feeling sleepy for being awake full week just sitting on desk and lamp on, that was a lot of passion absolutely. apparently now I lost all my energy in architecture my masters of architecture, though I selected non thesis, the reason behind this is that, in Africa specially in my country

May 26, 21 6:05 pm  · 

Thank you so much! I just feel so lost... The longer I study this profession the longer I realise I can't cope with the pressure... And I feel this wouldn't change if i would graduate...

Jul 29, 18 1:59 pm  · 
The pressure is always with you
However, after 20 years you learn to deal with it .
For me architecture it was always part of my DNA. I could of become a trader for a hedge fund and makes a ton of money, but I chose my creative outlet. If I knew what the profession was truly like before I entered architecture school , I would of changed careers.
The creative field doesn’t pay or give you respect. You get the most restisent from partners of firms and clients that think it is so easy to design.
Just recently, I left my designer position at an international firm ( starts with a g and ends in a r) that I was working fior over 18 years because they treated me with no respect, professionalism or gratitude.
It was the best decision in my life, finally I feel free and in control.
I still am deciding my next chapter , biit I am
In control now!!!!!!
Good luck !!!!
Jul 29, 18 2:52 pm  · 

Hello, i just wanted to ask, have you decided to the next chapter of your life after architecture?

Feb 3, 20 9:50 am  · 
The pressure and stress won’t change, just your ability to manage it.

If you’re not up for that, by all means change course. No shame in trying to find what’s right for you.
Jul 31, 18 12:20 am  · 

School is nothing like professional practice.  Do whatever you need to do to spend some time in some (more than one!!) working architects' offices and see if what the people there are doing all day is something you want to do.

Jul 31, 18 12:57 pm  · 

I was in a similar position in school.  The pressure was so much - I started having panic attacks, gained weight, and slept a lot when I wasn't in studio.  

I agree with thisisnotmyname.  Find some opportunities to work in a real office before you count yourself out.  It's a very different environment than what you face in school.  A lot of students that are excellent at school actually do poorly in an office, and vice versa.  School is not a good predictor of how successful or happy you will be in an office.

Jul 31, 18 2:01 pm  · 

Thankyou for your responses! It is really hard because I always imagined to be an architect and the doubt now is really getting me crazy. Doesn't it say enough that I have doubts?

I would like to see how everything works in an office. The problem is that I don't have enough experience to work in a real office, they look for students who are already in there master. I am also very afraid to spend majority of the time spending in an office and very little communication with other people.

Aug 2, 18 9:42 am  · 

“I love the art and culture.” I’d say art and culture made up maybe 3% of any architecture job I had. Your employers will play it up and use it as an excuse for lack of pay and perks but it’s oretty non-existent. You get one life. Do what makes you happy now. Not what will make you happy later. When I look back, the best decisions I made were rash and focused on being happy now. The ones I regret are where I tried to forecast into the future. I wish I had quit during school. I missed out on SO MUCH by being in studio where you learn nothing. There is a great amazing exploratory world outside of studio. I wasn’t accepted into the school of architecture until my sophomore year and that first year and a half were amazing. I learned so much about different things, met so many people and experienced crazy situations. Then studio started, for example Obama came to speak in the quad before he was elected, I had another studio deadline so I skipped it. There’s more to life than making paper designs of silly building forms.

Aug 3, 18 12:19 am  · 

I agree. There was a world to explore and beautiful people to spend my time with... blew it away for time in studio... what for... I hate architecture and what it has brought to me in life. A life filled with stress and anxiety. I wish I had the actual balls to quit when I was in school. I wish I had the balls to quit today!

Nov 4, 18 9:13 pm  · 

I am a victim of my own self abuse staying in this profession. 

Nov 4, 18 9:14 pm  · 

ask yourself what else you would do, because if you stick with it, you may find yourself so deeply entrenched in the profession that when you finally decide you should have listened to your instincts it may be too late.  Don't spend 20 years in this profession if you truly feel it is not right for you.  Your profs, and family/friends are just being supportive, but they don't have YOUR interests in mind - just their own interests, as it relates to you.

Nov 6, 18 11:11 am  · 
1  · 

hey , it has been a year since you posted this I just wanna know which bath did you pick ? And how did things go with you? I'm in my first year in architecture school and I'm feeling exactly  the same . I'm just too lost and exhausted...

Jan 29, 20 9:40 pm  · 
1  · 

I LOVE arch.  i felt the same way about biology as u about arch.  GREATEST of luck!

Jan 29, 20 10:37 pm  · 

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