post-grad architecture path


hello, i'm just seeking some life advice about what to do now that i have my BS arch undergrad degree.

in my undergrad time, i did pretty well in studios and other arch-related courses, but i never really felt the passion behind what i was doing.  architecture was a major that i sort of fell into when applying for college because i didn't know what to choose and my family and friends said that it would be a good fit.  i'm not the type of person to only give half-effort to anything - especially school and work - so i poured countless hours into projects and assignments, all while questioning if it was even something i enjoyed.  to this day, i still wouldn't really say i enjoy architecture, it's moreso just something i do.

now, i am currently enrolled in a master's program at a competitive school in a foreign country, starting classes soon, and i find myself wondering if going straight to grad school was the right decision.  i'm one of a small group of my peers from my alma mater that decided to go straight to grad school.  i wonder if working for a couple years would have really helped me clarify what i wanted from this field and if it was really something i wanted to commit myself to.  i largely decided to go straight into my master's studies because again, many friends, family, and professors said it was good to do since returning to grad school down the road can be difficult.  my parents especially viewed it as the default path coming out of undergrad, and so i never gave working much thought simply because i was "doing what i was supposed to do."

so now i find myself wondering - is it better for my future to reverse my decision and try to gain some actual work experience to base my future career choices off of, or would i be giving up on something to good that i "could potentially regret" in the future?  this master's program is really intense (double studios each semester, strong theoretical and practical approaches, lots of acclaim), and im worried im just going to become bitter and grow to dislike this profession since i don't feel fully passionate about it right now.  i'm grateful to be here, and i know this program could do a lot to hone my skills, but i don't know if i thought this through enough in the long-run.

Sep 13, 23 1:18 pm

I worked for several years before getting my Masters. Some people in my program worked before Masters, and some went straight through. My experience was that those that went straight through were the first to burn out. It's exhausting. Thats a lot of studio/school in a row. I also found that those of us who worked for a few years between were able to manage time a little better when returning to studio. Everyone is different though. The difference is you are also already there. For many people, it's difficult enough to get into the program they want. So changing course now is also a hurdle. 

When I first started reading your post, I was going to suggest working for a large corporate studio and just treating the profession like a job. Plenty of people do that and have a relatively good life. Forget all that "you have to love it" crap you hear in studio. It's mostly propaganda from university professors who themselves can't make it in the real world. You have to find it interesting enough and the pay reasonable for the lifestyle you want. 

What I'm confused about is if you're not one of those mega-passionate people, why are you doing a Masters for more? And WHY in another country making licensure more complicated? To teach something you're not passionate about?

I ask as someone who went from US>UK>US with my education. 

Sep 13, 23 2:36 pm  · 
1  · 

honestly? i just went straight to grad school because it seemed like the default path. most of my professors/friends/family strongly encouraged going straight into masters, and even made it seem bad to go work. so, i thought it was just the right thing to do. didn't give much thought to the alternative.

as for the foreign country part, i had studied here in italy for part of my undergrad and enjoyed it.  i wanted a "fresh start" and got the recommendation of my studio professor in italy for a school here.  it's a great program and everything, and im proud of myself for getting in and everything.  i just think that i didn't think this decision through for the long-term as much as i should've.

Sep 13, 23 4:11 pm  · 

Go work for a couple of years, then decide. We almost always hire students back full-time once they finish school, so don't sweat that too much. It sounds like you could use a break - working may or may not be more stressful or engaging, but you won't know until you try. Don't waste your time on another degree if you don't know what you plan on doing with it - you don't get that time back if you change your mind later.

Sep 13, 23 7:16 pm  · 

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