It is that time of the year..time for a new batch of future architects. They are currently bringing their 4+ years of academia to a close, and they will soon shift focus to the search for a job and all of the things that are involved with the start of adult (?) life. In honor of this confusing time, here are some tidbits of advice from us to you, dear fledgling architect. Actually this could still apply to some non-fledglings as well, but that is another letter for another time.
1 - Don't Stop Studying
Seriously. It is actually about to ramp up. Your coursework means more than grades now. There is an entire set of knowledge that isn't taught at school (if it was, it would take 10 years to earn a M.Arch.) that you are going to have to learn in one way or another. Wouldn't it make you valuable as an employee if you were actively seeking out ways to learn about the field? But that is just the first part. The ARE's are just around the corner for all of you new architects, and frankly, the faster you get the jump on them, the better. Start studying the material now. It will help you in your day to day knowledge of the field, and you can be well prepared when it is test time. It is better to study when your mind is used to doing it..say fresh out of school..vs 5 or more years later. Just trust us on that one.
2 - Balance is Key
Architecture school and the studio culture that pervades it can set up some pretty unhealthy lifestyle habits. All nighters, massive amounts of bad nutrition, lack of exposure to the sun or fresh air, and complete obliteration of a social life save for your sleep deprived compatriots. This is not something that should be a long term lifestyle. It is neither proved to be productive or healthy over time, plus it can make you a really dull person. Learn efficient work practices that can help you balance your work time and your life outside the office. Make sure you spend time with your family and friends, take time to be involved in your community. In short, enjoy your career and all that it entails, but don't allow it to monopolize your life. "Architect" isn't all you are. The upside is a happier more complete you....and this reflects in the work that you do.
3 - Trade in Your Ego for Enthusiasm
In school we rely on our own ideas and work this to get us through. When the dreaded "real world" strikes this changes. Suddenly your ideas aren't of chief importance, things are done in ways that make no sense to your usual procedure, and you feel that the skills that made you unique in school are somehow under utilized. Here is what you need to remember: Trade your ego for enthusiasm. Remember it isn't about JUST you. You work for someone else and with a team. This realization is vital as it de-emphasizes the singular and reinforces the fact that one person does not create alone. We all work with and for people in differing capacities our entire architectural career. Instead, create an environment of excitement and enthusiasm about working towards something. True, you may be drawing stair details and creating tile patterns, but enthusiasm for learning how a stair is actually constructed or why tile layout can change the way we see a room makes it more interesting. What's more, the enthusiastic team player attitude gets you a good bit further in life than the "lone-wolf" architect attitude that may have been prevalent in your studio.
So there you have it future architects..a couple "jewels of wisdom" for you to mull over. Best of luck to you all!
A Little Postscript:
This is our first blog post as part of the ArchiTalks series. The series sends topics out for architectural blogs to interpolate and post. The other entrants for this topic are below. Make sure to visit them as well to see their take on the current topic - "Dear Future Architects..."
Business of Architecture
Dear Future Architects: A Confession
Life of An Architect
Dear Future Architects: You Need to Hear This
Dear Future Architects: 4 Perspectives
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Archispeak Podcast / TRXL
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LÂ² Design, LLC
Dear Future Architects: 3 letters
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Dear Future Architect, Listen Here
Michele Grace Hottel, Architect
"Dear Future Architects,"
IRA Consultants, LLC
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Dear Future Young Architects... Please Quit Screwing Around!?!!
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Dear Boy in the Plastic Bubble,
Dear Future Architects, Be Authentic
Sage Leaf Group
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Dear Future Architects...
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Dear Future Architects...