How to make the most of your time in architecture

My time at RGU has taught me that university is what you make of it, so give it your best.

I wanted to provide you with a few words of advice that I wished someone had told me at the beginning of my architectural studies which will hopefully enable you to make the most of your time at RGU.

Ask Questions: You will (most likely) never be in this type of learning environment and be surrounded by this many intellectuals again, so make the most of it.

Teach yourself: Even though you’ll be learning from your teachers and fellow students, it’s important to teach yourself the things that aren’t always included in the curriculum. The internet is home to a beautiful, magnificent, constantly-updated treasure trove of tutorials.

Organize & catalogue your research: I think in the digital age, information can be excessive and overwhelming. Taking the time to organize your research not only refines your results, but helps develop your taste and can serve as a tool in the future.

Travel: Nothing can compare to experiencing a city or building in person – and it will look good on your resume. With this course, you get the opportunity to travel to a new location for 1 week every year. The architecturally rich cities that I visited with my course were: London, Paris, Barcelona, Oslo, Bergen, and Copenhagen.

Read all that you can: Use your RGU library to comb through journals and books; this will be your greatest tool for your dissertation and various essays throughout your academic studies at RGU.

Don’t be afraid to question your teachers: It can be tempting to gain favour with your tutors by doing everything they say, but there are many ways to approach architecture and becoming a clone of someone else isn’t always the best way. You’ll produce more interesting and individual architecture by learning from your teachers, but also questioning them occasionally.

Persevere: Frustration will be part of your everyday life when studying architecture. Each year will test your resolve to continue in the profession, but if you love the work, keep mind of the big picture.

Create freely: Schools are there to open our minds. Don’t let others close it. Often you will not find reasons for some architectural decisions you make. Just believe in your will. You have just five years of total experimental freedom.

Don’t be competitive: School is about learning, not about “one-upping” your classmates. The mind-set of comparing your work to others in a creative field is not only nonsensical, but dangerous in my opinion.

And probably the most important piece of information I can offer you is to:

Stay humble: Recognize that you will always be a student, constantly learning. You are here to provide a service for others – not greedily guard your ideas and look down your nose at those who don’t understand “good design.”

Grant

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