Should I continue with Architecture?


Should I really continue with Architecture at University? I’m a first year and I’ve always enjoyed architecture; looking at it, exploring it and designing my own stuff. I’ve even done some work experience at a practice, I found that extremely fun and that set my heart on Architecture, and even better been nominated to sit on the board for an Architectural related organisation.

Skip forward to university, I felt a real interest in the degree and its contents. Lectures were really interesting and I was finding the whole experience quite rewarding. I felt at home. However, as the semesters drowned on, the workload pretty much spiked, and tutors were expecting us to complete stuff that I’d never known how to do before. They just expected us to somehow know it. I’ve talked to university staff and they just tell me “to get on with it” to paraphrase. And I’ve read that it’s not an uncommon thing in architecture school. No one warned me. I just do the bare minimum now, barely keeping up whilst others around me create magnificent models and drawings I would dream of doing. Not to mention the extreme stress levels that have come out! I feel like I’ve been subjected to a truck load of it! In fact it’s gotten so bad that it’s deteriorated my health; I’ve started to loose hair, and I feel a depressed feeling and loneliness nearly single day. 

I really do want to continue with it because I do genuinely love Architecture. I do want to finish the degree, because I feel like it’s better to finish what I started, but in the other more important hand, I’ve already spent nearly 9k on tuition fees, and I don’t want to waste anymore of my money or time, like I’ve done in the past. 

Please advise. 

Mar 27, 23 10:17 am
Non Sequitur

Architecture school is an arbitrary design marathon and there are not many obvious "correct" answers when working out design "solutions".  While you're not expected to know everything at first, you are expected to run through dozens and dozens of variations of designs and ideas to flush out something interesting.  If you're just taking the studio brief and presenting a half-ass project without much much, then yes, you will rightfully feel behind your peers.

Now, with that said, it is still your studio prof's job to guide you and give you direction and you need to be open to criticism.  Arch school is easily a 40 to 80hr per week slugfest.  You need to love creative problem solving and churning out quick solutions to complicated problems.  You need to love merging design concepts with the reality of construction. You need to love jumping into situations without knowing anything and rising up the challenge.  That's why you're in arch school.     

Mar 27, 23 10:49 am  · 
2  · 

Thanks, this did give me a good motivational boost. Hopefully it lasts

Mar 27, 23 4:13 pm  · 
1  · 

The problem though is mainly the time frame which you’re given to do the projects within. I always start a brief and project with enthusiasm, but by the middle or end of it I’m absolutely shattered by the amount I’m required to do. Maybe I’m procrastinating but it’s not good either way

Mar 27, 23 4:16 pm  · 

It's very unfortunate that architectural school is taking a toll on your health, but it's unlikely that the workload is going to slow down anytime soon or in the years to follow.   It's simply the nature of the beast that is architecture school.  There are other career paths that can complement your love for architecture without the stress of the design studio, such as construction science and management, real estate development, architectural history (for historic preservation) or even interior design. They all are important for great architecture to happen.

 Still, it may be just as worthwhile to stick it out, deliver the minimum required in your studios, get passing grades and still become a successful licensed architect.  They take on roles in project management or become technical experts, which require very little design talent but favor social skills and an attention to detail that are highly valued in the industry.    Don't get too preocuppied with what your classmates are doing. Just do your own thing, take pride in it, and know that there is plenty of opportunity for people in architecture regardless of design skills. 

Mar 27, 23 3:03 pm  · 
1  · 

Thanks for that. Yes I agree, I do want to stick it in and scrape a degree. It’s difficult though not to compare when tutors organise students into crit sessions. I don’t mind criticism and I’ve learned to welcome it, but as mentioned above the problem is time. There is too much workload and it’s almost like going without sleep for a few days a week is normalised and spending time away from Architecture is not acceptable.

Mar 27, 23 4:20 pm  · 

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