Making the most out of architecture school...


Hey guys,

As some of you know, I am about to embark on my first professional M.arch degree at UIC in the fall. It is very important for me to make the most out of my time in school since A. I am paying a lot for it and B. I'd like to get an awesome job/productive career after graduating. If anyone has any serious advice they'd like to share I would greatly appreciate it. Anything from productive winter breaks to internships, travel, studio advice, extracurriculars, etc. Thanks!

Apr 14, 14 11:52 pm

Study abroad.

Apr 15, 14 9:21 am
C. Watts

UIC has a Berlin summer abroad program.  I did a summer abroad in Berlin in undergrad and it was a great experience.  Berlin specifically is nice because it is not nearly as expensive as other cities (Paris, London, Tokyo, etc.) but still in central Europe, so you can take affordable weekend trips to the more expensive cities.  The atmosphere of Berlin is also very chill and the people are very nice and helpful.  Traveling is important, so definitely do it.

UIC has a student run zine called fresh meat, this could certainly be a good extracurricular to be involved with.  It would help you with architectural writings and discussions being a non-arch bg.  Also, competitions are a fun way to get a little extra experience, if y0u ever have spare time over summer or winter. 

Always try to get a summer internship.  I know Gensler hires student interns every summer at almost if not all of their offices, so even spending the summer in a different city to get a summer internship can be great experience (A friend of mine here in KY will be living in Austin this summer for student internship.)

For studio... time management is very important!  Work hard and keep at it.  Don't get discouraged with critique, it comes with the degree and profession.  And being from non-arch, don't be afraid to ask arch background kids for help in rendering or modeling programs. Best of luck!

Apr 15, 14 10:28 am

-time management is important.  like super important. like, really, really important. you can avoid so many all nighters if

1. you are productive everyday

2. treat it like a job, work from 9-5 and then go back home for dinner, dabble some more after and go to sleep around 12-1 AM. pretty ideal. 

-bad critiques should not deter you from doing architecture. Bad critiques should make your project stronger.

-you dont have to take everything your professor say literally. Remember, it's your project and you are suppose to convince him that it's YOUR project and that it is a good project. Your professor is like a therapist and only there to question you in order to push your project. <---- that's what makes a great professor.

Apr 15, 14 11:59 pm

Thanks everyone for the advice, I really appreciate it!

Apr 16, 14 12:13 pm

Definitely do the studioBerlin, I did that program during my undergrad at UIC back in 2011 and it was an amazing experience. Its run through John Manaves and his wife (two awesome architects) and you get to do some design-build workshops while over there.

Try and get a class or two in with Dan Wheeler, he is my favorite professor at UIC. Also, don't take Bob Somol too seriously, but do get on his good side and try to make friends with him. He is known to write amazing letters for students and got some grad students legit jobs at BIG a few years back.

Apr 16, 14 12:23 pm

i will second batman-- having a consistent schedule that replicates hours in an office job will keep you honest about pending deadlines and will also ensure that you are getting enough sleep.  sleep is key.

mind your own little red wagon.  do not freak out when you've opted not to pull all nighters, even if your peers are doing so.  your physical and mental health are your most important assets.  be sure to eat well and get exercise.  

Apr 16, 14 3:25 pm

I find Architectural Competitions that are open to young professionals to be very interesting:

you can choose the type of project you want to enroll in; the people who you would like to work with; it's a different challenge from daily office life and also if you don't earn any award you can still have a presentable work to enrichen your portfolio, what do you think?

Jul 5, 14 3:03 pm

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