Why You Shouldn’t Go to Architecture School (The Cons)
If you haven’t seen my post about 13 Reasons Why Choose Architecture, then I suggest you check that out first before reading this post. In this blog, I will be telling you different possible reasons on why maybe, you need to think twice first before getting into this course for uni.
Architecture is no joke. I don’t think it’s a course you can check into just to see if it works out. There are people in our college who have chosen to leave the course but ended up coming back to it because just like any awfully hard course, I think it’s a calling. The course takes a sacrifice on a lot of things, and you will know about them below.
A disclaimer though, don’t base your decision on this post alone. Check out the pros of the field, as mentioned, and take into consideration what you really want and your capacity for it.
#1 It gets tiring. For the mind, and the body.
I know Architecture isn’t the only course that’s tiring for both your mind and body, but this is mostly the subtle question I find myself asking. “Why am I here again? Why did I choose this path again?” But of course, I have my answers to that. You have to have answers to that when the time comes.
A lot of people I know get massively tired, you would even say depressed. You study in class by day, and work on your plates by night. At the same time, you don’t only try to analyze everything you can analyze about a project, you also end up working on the plates and models – which are mostly the reasons for late nights and all-nighters.
It is a tiring course. No exaggeration and no joke. But I think that the reason why I still manage to get by is that aside from prayers and faith, I have my answers to why I’m doing things. In all honesty, sometimes I don’t know if they’re enough but I am holding on to them.
You’d think, all the hardwork pays off eventually, right? Well, in this field, not really. It’s during college I realized that that is not really true. That is one of my maxims ever since grade school and high school – as I was aiming to be a constant achiever. But a huge slap on me, it was, when real life happened. They have always told us that real life starts in college.
Why doesn’t it pay off, you ask? It’s cliche but I think it’s cliche for a reason. We have to work smart – not just hard. Some people, you’d wonder why they excell and they work a lot less than you. Maybe it’s not ’cause they’re massively talented (maybe they are) or massively quick (maybe they are), but maybe it’s ’cause they’re efficient. You have to find what works for you. You have to be efficient.
Not gonna lie, sometimes one week feels like one day to me either because my sleeping schedule is messed up or because the work never stops. I’m grateful to say that that’s been changing now, however, I think that there’s a huge impact now that we’re in our thesis year, meaning we have most of our time on our hands.
#2 It is costly.
And I’m not just talking about the tuition fee. I’m talking about the lifestyle. The tools you use, the papers, the printing, the models, the laptop with the required specs, okay you get the point.
The buying of tools may be a one time thing (unless you lose them), but the rest is not. You would spend for every plate you have not unless you have a stock of materials (which also means you spent a lot on them) or you have your own printer.
I’ve had people tell me that they wanted to pursue Architecture but didn’t because of the costs. I think that the costs of tuition can be helped with different scholarships but I’m not sure about the other things. It also helps greatly if your scholarship comes with an allowance.
If you’re a student in the Philippines wanting to pursue the course, I found a website that shows you how much the tuition is per university or college although I’m not sure how accurate they are. If you want to check them out either way, visit this page. I highly encourage you to consult the college/university directly for assurance/questions. Plus, my university is not found in there.
#3 It is challenging and tends to get subjective.
I said hardwork doesn’t always pay off, right? That’s not the only hard part. If you’re someone who has a growth mindset then you’re one who loves a challenge. But the challenge is different here. It tends to get subjective. One can try to deny that but you’ll know when you’re here.
Although the professors try to make it objective as much as possible by providing criterias and relying on standards, etc., there are still others (who you can’t really blame) who end up being subjective.
It’s not a bad thing. At least, I don’t think it’s not. In the real world, you’ll have to give what your client wants (subject to requirements and agreements), and that alone is subjective. One design might look good to someone but it might be the opposite of what the other wants. This world is subjective. The only way to criticize objectively is if you base your judgements on standards or laws.
#4 You lose a lot of time. For family, friends, and yourself.
Now, I’m all about priorities. But still, there are times when you can’t blame someone for not making the time for you. It’s not always easy especially if you know you’re turning your back on “responsibilities.” Architecture demands time. I hate it – absolutely hate it – when I’m reminded in school about it, but it’s true.
Since I’m a believer of prioritizing and self-management, I still would like to say that this should be to a certain extent only. We should make time for Architecture – only to a certain extent. But the demand that it asks of us to produce great quality work WILL take a toll on how much we spend time with other people and ourselves.
Platemaking isn’t done in four hours. Four hours per day in 3 days to one week seems more realistic to me. Conceptualizing isn’t done in a day, not unless you have that Eureka moment. Planning and analyzing problems on the site isn’t done in a day, so is modelling and post processing and others. Imagine how many plates you have in the field, and imagine how many plates per subject. Yeah, that’s how much time you need.
Another disclaimer though, I’ve heard there are Architecture colleges out there who’s got a lot less number of plates on their hands (how??) so I’m guessing it also depends on what university you go to.
#5 It pays well, but it also doesn’t.
Okay, maybe some of you wants to enter Architecture thinking that it pays a lot of money. That’s okay, no judgement in that, however I have also been told by architects that that is not always the case. I, myself, thought that it pays a lot and thus it is one of the reasons why I took it up (for more reasons, check out 13 Reasons Why Choose Architecture.) However, just like in any other field, it pays average when you’re an employee but pays a lot when you’re the boss.
I’m not going to mention any bracket amount because I don’t know (maybe I know a little), but also because it will most likely depend on what firm and position you are in. If you’re your own boss or is the principal architect, then yeah, most likely, you’ll get a high pay (depending on the project and agreement.)
#6 It takes 5 years to finish. In total, 7-8 years.
Your days at uni will amount to 5 years but if you’re living in the Philippines like me, then it doesn’t end there. You’ll be needing 2 more years for apprenticeship in a firm and then you take the board. If you take 1 year off for a break or studying for the boards then it could take you 8 years before you become an architect.
This is a con if you want to be able to work early and if you’re thinking 7-8 years? That’s almost twice the amount of studying compared to the other courses/fields.
If you’re thinkling of pursuing Architecture, here are some of the things which could give you a reason to think twice about it:
1) It gets tiring for both your mind and body.
2) It’s costly.
3) It’s challenging and tends to get subjective.
4) You’ll lose a lot of time for family, friends, and yourself.
5) It pays well, but it also doesn’t.
6) It takes 5 years to finish, but really 7-8 years.
Since these are mostly the negatives, I highly suggest you read 13 Reasons Why Choose Architecture to get a more accurate or realistic perspective. Architecture is not an easy course but with the right mindset and reasons, all of it could be worth it.
I love the field, but I also know it’s not for everyone. Never did I think of talent as a hindrance. I’ve heard people say that they’re not great at drawing but that is not an enough reason to not pursue! (For me, anyway.) Drawing is a skill as well and is therefore learnable. The more agreeable reason for me not to pursue would be my capacity for it mentally and physically.
I hope this helps and gives you a clearer perspective about the field! For more posts about Architecture, check this page out.
Like What You Read? Subscribe to Our Newsletter for More!
Sign up to get the latest updates about blog posts, exclusives, and more!
- How to Do Your Architecture Portfolio
- How to Network as an Architecture Student
- How to Have a Mindful Morning