Tips for being an architecture student at university

Architecture is an innovative blend of creative artistry and exquisite engineering. As a student of the craft, you’ll likely be in need of some tips.
James Davis
James Davis
Team PostgradAustralia
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The competitive, romanticised world of architecture is one fraught with fascinating trials and triumphs. As a student, you’ve likely encountered the sorts of competitive people who dwell in your university’s department. They’re driven to succeed just like you. However, there are some things you ought to know in order to get the most out of your time as a student. Here are some tips that may help you along the way.

Start all assignments as quickly as possible

Architecture is known for being a discipline full of overworked students, with assignment after assignment being hurled your way. Although theoretically possible to survive using more standard study habits, like procrastinating and putting things off, your life will be significantly more enjoyable if you start your assignments sooner rather than later. Like, the day you get them. If you’re handed an assignment in a workshop, when you leave that workshop you begin the assignment. Granted, this sort of discipline can be hard to achieve, particularly if you’ve ever fallen into the former bad patterns. However, this good habit is certainly one worth adopting that’ll put you in good stead for the rest of your academic, and even professional, career.

Humble yourself before criticism

You’ll no doubt be attached to your designs. You should by no means let this stop you from accepting or at the very least listening to criticism, no matter how scathing it may sound. You’re currently in a place where your best interests are at heart. You’re surrounded by students in similar positions with professors paid to assist when you ask questions, or offer feedback where necessary. If you can’t listen to feedback in such a supportive environment, how can you expect to hear a client’s feedback in the professional world? The best thing you can do is accept that everything you make while you’re learning is going to be riddled with imperfections. Defer to the wisdom of your more experienced peers and you’ll find yourself happier overall.

Of course, don’t forget to thoroughly ensure you understand the reasoning behind all criticism. If you don’t understand why something is wrong, you risk making the same mistake twice. Thoroughly question the decisions of your more experienced peers so you can fully appreciate how and why you ought to design your structures in the way of their preference.

Go to your lectures

With the aforementioned sea of assignments, it can be tempting to simply skip lectures or tell yourself you’ll watch them online later. Be honest with yourself. You won’t! Lectures are where you can get useful information about the exact projects you’re working on. If you’ve resigned yourself to simply not going by virtue of thinking they won’t help, understand the flaw in your reasoning. How can you know the lectures won’t help if you never attended or asked about their content to begin with? At the very least, poke your head in. If you aren’t convinced, sure, go work on your other projects. You’re doing yourself a disservice though if you don’t at least check. What if one of your courses has a master orator lecturing, or one week there’s a professional coming in handing out business cards and talking about the industry. You can miss out on all kinds of cool things by missing lectures.

Use your highly limited free time to build your resume

Entering competitions and challenges with your peers can serve to show future employers you’ve got what it takes to juggle all manner of activities at once. Moreover, relevant activities! Competitions are a particularly good way to show you have ambition. Even if you lose, the mere act of competing and being able to talk about your experiences in a future job interview is valuable. Failure is, after all, one of many ways to success. It also shows humility to an interview if you can demonstrate learning from your mistakes. It’s a vital quality in any part of business with architecture being no exception.

On this topic, you’re not exempt from all the standard processes students from other disciplines must wade through. Ensure you network effectively by attending events, joining clubs and making yourself known. Send out your resume for the sake of internships, no matter how sparse you think it is. You have to start somewhere after all. If you haven’t got any relevant work experience, show off your portfolio you’ve been building via university projects.

Hopefully these tips have given you some limited insights into things you can do to improve your life as an architecture student. If you employ even one of these, your time will be made slightly easier during your degree. Wherever you wish to take that qualification though, we wish you the best.