Confused if I should continue my degree or not


Hi I was just wondering if anyone had/has  the same dilemma I am having at the moment and can give me some advice.

So I have been thinking about changing my major from architecture to public health. And don’t get me wrong I love architecture, I love how it looks and I love how it impacts our everyday life, but I don’t think I’ll be a good architect. When I think of architecture, I think of it as a bystander looking at a building and thinking how cool it is on the inside, but I don’t think that I will be good at designing the building itself. And to be honest I don’t think I see myself being an architect. I don’t at a space and think about the floor plans. And I’m just all around confused at what I should do. 

I have already been through a year of architecture school, and I can say it’s been a love-hate relationship. I hate the amount of money that I am spending for that materials, and I hate/love how much time I am spending doing projects. And I have been doing research about the pay and it’s not that great to be honest. And in the future I don’t want to work on the weekends and spend the night at the office. I want to be able to design things but I know that, it’s a slim chance I am going to be able to because firms are going to make you just draft for a long amount of time.

To be honest I just want to hear y’alls thoughts about this.

Sep 12, 19 6:34 pm
Wood Guy

You haven't really given any reasons why you would stay in architecture. Public health is a growth industry, unfortunately... What classes do you like and/or do well in?

I have friends and family members in public health and although it looks boring as hell to me--all data, statistics and grant-writing--it's important work. I'd recommend an undergraduate degree in something else, then a master's in public health. 

Sep 12, 19 6:39 pm

The main reason I’m kind of confused is that I still like architecture but I don’t think I’m going to do well as an architect. But if I were to change to public health, I ultimately want to become a healthcare administrator. And I wish there was a career that could combine architecture and healthcare administration m.

atelier nobody

"I wish there was a career that could combine architecture and healthcare administration" - Healthcare space planner.


I know a few architects who specialize in healthcare. It is their sole focus.

I only rarely work weekends or stay past 5:00. When I do I get paid for my time. You don't have to accept being treated like crap, and healthcare is not exactly know for its respect of banker's hours.

Yes, you are going to spend a lot of time drafting after graduation. That is a big part of how you learn. There is a LOT to know about healthcare to be a good healthcare designer and I imagine there is also a lot to know about properly running a hospital. I certainly don't want to be in the care of a hospital run by a fresh graduate.

Sep 12, 19 8:28 pm

You say you "like" architecture, but you don't say you love it.  You say you don't think you'd be very good at it.  You say you don't like the hours or pay prospects of being an architect.  You like looking at buildings but you say you can't see yourself designing them.  BUT, you're wondering if you should change majors.  Based on your post, there is a caution light about to turn red.  You have correctly identified the drawbacks of this profession.  Now the question is what are you going to do with this information.

You certainly need to do some major soul-searching.  Please don't be afraid to make a course correction if it's appropriate.  The biggest mistake you can make is plowing ahead when every bone in your body is telling you it's the wrong thing.  Don't ask me how I know.

BTW, I can't get on board with the idea of health care architecture as some kind of compromise.  Hospital architects are still just architects, and all the drawbacks are still there. 

Sep 13, 19 8:35 am
Wood Guy

"I can't get on board with the idea of health care architecture as some kind of compromise"

I'd agree with that. A friend of mine is COO of a health care provider and I don't see anything in common with architecture, other than having to do the impossible on a daily basis...


I get where you are coming from.  I am a licensed architect now, but I struggled through school.  I love/hated studio.  I hated thinking that my life and career would be filled with all-nighters, no sleep, no proper meals, etc., that was studio.  There is a huge schism between school and the profession.  I actually love my job.  Partially because it allows me to live a lifestyle that is completely opposite of what I experienced in school.

It sounds like you've already made up your mind.  But if you're still on the fence, search out a part-time internship, or even just a local architect to see if you can meet with them periodically.  Ask them to show you around their office and see what they really do.  You say you don't think about floor plans when you enter a space - so what?!  Learning HOW to look at a building and understand what you're seeing takes time.

Sep 13, 19 10:15 am

If you don’t mind, could you describe whats your average day like being an architect. Are you able to design stuff or are you always drafting someone else’s work. Do you like your salary and do you get paid for doing work overtime?


I have a little more than 6 years experience total. I spent the first 2.5 years only drafting, but slowly as I gained more skills and trust, I got more responsibility. The redlines went from being very precisely sketched out to my boss only providing a list of drawings he wanted to see. At about 4 years, I was putting together full sets myself, coordinating the specifications and products, with my boss reviewing them periodically - 1x per month or so depending on deadlines. At this point, at a minimum, I design the detailing, but my boss provides the big idea and guidance for some of the detailing when I need help. He has almost 25 years experience and understands a lot more about the financial picture than I do at this point.


The rest of my response got cut off: 

 If you work at a smaller office - mine is about 20 people - you are more likely to get to design. 

When I started out, I spent all of my time in the office. I think I got to go on site 1x every few months. (I was working on a project out of state at the time.) Now I spent about half of the week on site/at client meetings and half of the week at my desk. If I'm out on site, I am meeting with the client and contractor, making sure the work is satisfactory, and answering any questions. If I'm at my desk, I'm answering emails, reviewing drawings and specifications, picking out products, speaking with consultants, and meeting with my project team to make sure everyone understands expectations and deadlines. I do not get paid for overtime, but I rarely work overtime so it really doesn't bother me. My office covers professional fees and other expenses so in my eyes, that more than makes up for it. I am by no means rich, but I make enough to be more than comfortable. I go on vacation at least 1x per year, visit family across the county, and still have more than enough left over to pay the bills, save for retirement, and buy something nice every now and then.

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