5 Tips for Freshmen in Architecture School

5 Tips for Freshmen in Architecture School

It was pretty nerve-wracking, starting my first year in architecture school. As a freshman architecture student, it was exciting for me but it was an uncharted territory altogether. I’m hugely grateful for a lot of people who helped me get through it. In this blog post, I’ll be sharing with you the things I learned such as the different materials to use, how to approach professors, and when to join different organizations.

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Know Your Architecture Materials

Starting new things, and buying new things, are all exciting to me. However, I made the mistake of overbuying a lot of them out of excitement. I didn’t need a bunch of the architecture materials I thought I needed.

What medium are you good at? What are the required materials? What are those that could be used in the long run? These are the questions you might want to ask yourself before buying anything. Some professors give you the freedom to choose what medium to use at a plate whilst other courses have their requirements.

The most used architecture materials for me are the scale, t-square, pencils, and markers. This would depend on what skill you are best at but the first three are true for most architecture subjects.

What Medium Are You Good At?

From charcoal pencils to pens to markers, papers, boards, and paints, there’s a lot of materials you could use as a freshman architecture student. Did you know that pencil grades run from 6H, 5H, 4H, 3H, 2H, H, F, HB, B, 2B, 3B, 4B, 5B, 6B, 7B, to 8B? I didn’t.

Brands would matter too, I think. For watercolor, different brands and brushes could make a huge difference. I personally recommend Sakura and Berkely brushes. For colored pencils, I recommend Prisma colors.

Architect with architecture plans or drawings and materials

Going Digital

In our university, the first years in architecture school require us to do manual drafting and drawing. In the latter years, we were taught to go digital with our plates. AutoCAD and Sketch Up are the most used software, however, there are a lot of others to choose from and incorporate such as ArchiCAD, Lumion, and Vray, among others.

What Medium Do the Courses or Subjects Require?

The architecture materials to bring would depend on your subject for that day. As a freshman architecture student, it is important to note what activities or plates you would do at a specific course or subject to be prepared always (and to avoid bringing too much stuff you don’t need).

For example, Building Technology classes will most probably focus on drafting and specifications and so you would bring architecture materials you could use for such. For Visual Technique, you would most probably need all or a specific rendering material for your plates. Sometimes, Design class would mean bringing in modeling materials for your scale models.

There will be a lot on your plate as an architecture student and it would help to know what lifestyle you could expect.

Gray colored pencils with one yellow color pencil

As a Freshman Architecture Student, You Need to Master Your Schedule

Every responsible person would need to master his or her schedule. Although if you’re a freshman architecture student, I think it would be extra challenging. 

Check your given schedule or check the schedule you applied for. I would recommend putting them on a digital calendar where you can check them on any device as this is what I had done. You can then list all your other activities aside from your classes. This may include university celebrations, holidays, special occasions, etc. You can color-code them to visualize how your day or week would look like. Don’t forget to schedule-in rests.

Scheduling your leisure and other activities could be your drive in finishing your tasks knowing that there are other things (or better and more fun things) in your calendar coming up.

Scheduling is a personal thing so make sure to only do what works for you. The most efficient method is dependent on your personality so experiment and find out how you work best.

Calendar planning with pink highlighter

As a Freshman Architecture Student, You’ll Want to Know Your Professors

Your professors are your clients. To know their preferences would be the same as knowing your clients’. We were always taught that we’re not really designing for ourselves and so it matters to know what your client (the user) would want in the design — all this without sacrificing standards.

Getting close with your professors also have its benefits. They could share with you some tips or advice on how you could better your work as a student and as a future architect. 

You’ll Want to Know Your Upperclassmen

I thank God for my upperclassmen. They have helped me big time throughout my first year. I have achieved a lot with their help. Being a freshman architecture student, you could end up naive but it helps to be open to learning from others as much as you can. Don’t be afraid to ask, ask, ask! Learning about the mistakes and lessons they learned could help you avoid making the same and could even help you do better.

My upperclassmen also helped me get to know my professors. They taught me the do’s and don’ts, and they criticized my work so I could know where or how I could improve.

You can get to know your upperclassmen by joining different organizations.

College students walking on the hallway

You’ll Want to Join Organizations

There’s a lot to experience if you join an organization and get active with it. It helped me grow in a lot of ways. It helped me learn how to work with and handle people, it helped me in developing my resilience with handling stress, and it helped me with my connections or network.

There are local, national, and international organizations you could choose from inside the university as a freshman architecture student. By joining an organization that belongs in all three types, I have learned a lot more about my field, I’ve gotten to know a lot of people and have expanded my connections, and I was immersed in different helpful experiences.

In joining organizations, you could choose to be an active member or a student leader. As a member, you’d get to attend different events set up by the organization while as a student leader, you can help make them happen. It’s extra challenging to be the latter but it could be fulfilling and enjoyable.

Joining organizations as a freshman architecture student could help open opportunities you wouldn’t normally get otherwise.

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