M.Arch sucks so far...? UVA



I am finishing up my first semester in the M.Arch program at UVA, and it has been all but glamorous. I used to be extremely passionate about the architectural work i've done in the past, especially through the encouragement of my professors in undergrad...but i have not felt the same here. Of course the professors seem nice, but this school has regulations that almost seem debilitating (such as points deducted for absences - which seems silly for any graduate program). Either way, the professors don't seem to capture my attention. I no longer feel inspired to pursue the course work. Of course there is a lot of work, but I had anticipated that. But something about the leadership provided by the faculty sems so off, I just don't care to do it? It's a strange reality, but unfortunately my cohort and I have a couple of anecdotes  that would prove our case if anyone cared to hear...

Does anyone have any insight on this feeling? Is it just the first-semester-learning-everything-making-new-friends-in-new-city that's bringing me down? Or is there something with the pedagogy of UVA that is not as high of quality compared to other schools. 

I am saddened because I chose UVA due to financial reasons, but at this point it feels all worthless for the quality of education i'm receiving and the strict rules we are working under. If I could do it all over again I would have gone to Berkeley or UCLA... Any thoughts of whether these schools would have a significantly better or different quality of faculty? Or even the GSD, how much better can their faculty be when all of my professors came from their program? 

Is any of this normal or should I consider applying and trying elsewhere? Any thoughts would help, thank you all in advance!


Nov 16, 22 12:12 am

Transfer to another school then. Anyway complaining that you HAVE to go to class is a little?? just go...have you got better things to do? Surely you can produce the work you like to do - a little self motivation goes a long way, your professors don't have to be your best friends.

Nov 16, 22 6:39 am  · 
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One of those things I had to do was attend my father's wedding, which I did get attendance points deducted from because it wasn't considered an excusable absence ! There are similar stories shared among my cohort...

Nov 16, 22 4:45 pm  · 
Non Sequitur

imagine how hard the real world will be if you can’t handle school. School is the east part. Enjoy it, you won’t have the same freedoms when you need to actually live off your efforts/motivation. 

Nov 16, 22 7:48 am  · 
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School is not always the easiest part to navigate for some people. I know alot of people that do much better in professional contexts than in academic contexts because of their personality or unique strengths and weaknesses. Being motivated, if nothing else by at least the strong desire to earn your degree, in graduate school is pretty much necessary, though.

Nov 16, 22 2:54 pm  · 
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That may be so l3wis.  However, school is still much easier than professional practice.

Nov 17, 22 12:24 pm  · 
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yes, but this argument is dumb because school is a developmental rung on the ladder towards professional practice; it's baked in that it's easier, and impossible to be more difficult. there isn't anything profound or substantive to saying it.

also, school is very much real while you're in it, and it's a lazy argument to say that thing are only real when you've progressed to some next step. personally i don't see much "real" about a bunch of hunched over zombies staring at a screen all day under florescent lights, but that's just me...

Nov 18, 22 9:35 am  · 

I went straight to grad school after undergrad and I remember starting to feel like I was just going through the motions at a certain point. I based my grad school decision of a combination of finances / where could I finish the program the fastest. Make some friends, enjoy school, get decent grades. Like Non mentioned, the real world is on the horizon. 

Nov 16, 22 1:32 pm  · 
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I'm afraid my question of faculty quality has been overshadowed by my competency as a student. If anyone has any particular comments regarding faculty in academia, that would be greatly appreciated!

Nov 16, 22 4:57 pm  · 
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Not really. I think you just didn't explain your issues with your professors. Would like to share those concerns?  Perhaps we can provide some helpful advice.  

Nov 17, 22 12:26 pm  · 

There's a couple of other recent threads on the first page about this type of situation, with advice that applies to your post as well. Talk to the upper years, they will have perspective on what's going on with the faculty and whether first term is an exception or the rule.

Nov 16, 22 10:03 pm  · 

You typed a lot but didn't actually say much. Besides the attendance thing, what about the faculty do you find lacking? 

Nov 17, 22 7:50 am  · 
1  · 

sort of surprised to be reading this about uva grad…but it’s been a long time since i had contact there

Interested to hear more on your concerns about the current faculty, if you feel you can share…discretion is understood

Nov 17, 22 11:31 am  · 
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Most faculty these days are just pure charlatans. Was just discussing this with my dog - the faculty at my Alma Mater has been completely replaced by young "paper architects" that have never built a thing in their lives, mostly failed in the architecture professional world after a few years of practice, and aren't particularly smart or creative on the paper architecture side of things either. 

The problem seems worse at "better" (read - Ivy league and other highly rated) schools.

If you want to do well in grad school, just as in practice, you need to be self-directed, curious, motivated, and able to identify who can help you then bother them until they do.

Nov 18, 22 6:08 am  · 
3  · 

I don't recall the 1st semester in grad school (at UVa) being glamorous. I also think the 1st semester now as compared to then is more glamorous. 

Pause and consider that the 1st year is skill build, so while you may know it all, not everyone in your cohort knows the same things (or as much). You all need to learn how to be patient with one another, learning to be students and a cohort, versus being consumers of a brand that will get you a job in a desired/field location (not you per se, but trend). Sounds lame, but when people become overwhelmed, it's great how your cohort can help to support them and identify serious concerns when they arise.

This rolls over into attendance- you're assuming it's absurd for any grad program because everyone should know the basics walking in without checking what you assume the basics are (AutoCAD vs. revit, revit vs. grasshopper, grasshopper vs python, plan vs. axon., scale versus the scroll wheel...). 

If you're that bored, take the grade hit until you're at a point where it will result in unsuccessful completion of the course- that's part of learning. If it's really that bad, talk to the program director, and make the case for exceptions.

Nov 19, 22 4:03 pm  · 
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