Not Sure If Architecture Is For Me Or Not


Hey there. Apologies for how long this is, but I wanted to be thorough. I'm a 19 year old University student in Nova Scotia, Canada. My plan is to pursue architecture. Let me give some background.

Architecture really appealed to me just based on what I look for in a job. I am a naturally creative, community driven person who enjoys working with others and knowing what I'm doing is ethical. I also LOVE problem solving and designing. Buildings have become a recent interest of mine, but honestly I'm totally fine with getting more into it and learning more. Creativity is creativity so I'm down. I was very much not into the idea of travel, but I've been told travel is not necessarily a large part of the job, and not required by any means. (PLEASE, correct me if I am wrong.)

However, I am also a very relaxed, chill person. Don't get me wrong, I've worked hard enough in my first year to get all A's, but I also greatly enjoy my free time. I know EVERYBODY enjoys their free time, but I just mean work isn't ever something I really want to consume me. I value my time off and spending time with my friends and girlfriend very, very much. Because of all this, a big thing I need in a career is one that splits work and life. If I can't have this, I'm not sure if any job would be worth it. I plan to have a kid or two when I'm older, and I want to spend as much time as possible with them. I would really prefer not to be one of those dads that is obsessed with work and has to miss their own kid's sports games or has to sacrifice time with them, etc. Plus, I'd rather my job not stress me too bad. Obviously everybody has stressful days, but I want to leave my work AT work.

I've heard extremely mixed things about this. Some people say architects work LONG, gruelling hours a lot and have to bring their work home, and say there's no avoiding this. The job is stressful and you will NEED to dedicate a LOT of time. Some say its a basic, normal average work week and its not that bad at all.

I've also heard a lot about the schooling process, and that it is absolutely hell in terms of these things. It is unbearably stressful, you have no time for anything but work, and it keeps going until you finally graduate. I'm honestly not sure if this is worth it for me, as that's a LOT of time and energy I'd be sacrificing. Honestly, if the job isn't like this, I'd still strongly consider it, because it'd be worth it. But man, architecture school does not sound fun at all because of this.

I know this is all sort of rambly in nature, but I'm fairly stressed right now at the idea that this job which I thought was perfect might not be for me. I just want to KNOW what I'm getting into. Because if its endless work with little time and constant stress, with the only pros being greatly enjoying your work and learning a lot, then to me, that isn't worth it. This whole thing makes my stomach turn just not knowing, so I figure this is the best place to ask.

If anybody could clarify all of this and give me and objective, realistic, roadmap and prospect as to what this career is, and the most probable outcome, that'd be great. Thanks!

Jun 8, 21 1:25 pm
Non Sequitur

Canadian arch here, perhaps I can a line or two to your comment as I sit here watching a Disney movie with my 5 year old. How am I able to do this clearly during work hours? Well, because I have an office with decent work/life flexibility. Yes, there are slave ships and offices where 60hr weeks are expected, but it’s not the norm.

Besides that, yes, school is difficult and far more time consuming than it needs to be but anyone with moderately good time management can get through it while still holding a social life and part time work. Just don’t think your free every evening... you’ll likely have 20+ hours of school work every week at a minimum after classes. 

Jun 8, 21 1:36 pm  · 
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NS makes a good point in that the profession can be extremely varied depending on where you end up or want to aspire to. I can speak for the grindier and slave-labor practices of the higher end design studios. They almost always give low salaries and are highly demanding of their employees, yet new grads still flock to those offices because of the types of projects they get to contribute to. School is also what you make of it, as long as you’re not riding that line between passing or flunking out, there is no reason to pull the long hours and all-nighters that other competitive students go through.

Jun 8, 21 1:46 pm  · 
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