How to “get a life” as an architecture student

If you’ve seen the memes out there, or if you’ve been living the architecture student life for a while now, you might think that the studio will always be your place 24/7 if not working inside a coffee shop for a digital plate. It can get really suffocating if that’ll be your lifestyle for a long while which may also lead to burnout. So, can you avoid this as an architecture student? Is it possible to “get a life” outside architecture and have that balance?

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Not everyone strives for that balance and they may work perfectly fine without it, but for those who seek it, here are some of the ways you might want to try to achieve it.

P.S. Some of these tips are assumed in a “back to normal” type of situation. I do understand the current circumstance with the pandemic as of when this blog was published, and so some of these tips may not be applicable at the moment.

If you can’t divide your day, divide your “seasons”

How many times have you thought of dividing your 24 hours in a day to fit in every aspect of your life – trying to schedule time for friends, family, whilst at the same time finishing that plate due on Friday? Well the thing is, you don’t have to fit it in a day, or even in a week.

Think of your time in architecture school as seasons. There’s a season to focus on academics because it’s major plate season or deadline season or exam season, whilst there are those seasons where you have more time on your hands (as much time as you can have as an architecture student, that is).

Maybe it’ll help you to schedule some fun or other wholesome activities with the less busy seasons to still have that balance for your life in general. Don’t skip on it as tempting as it seems to just sleep at home. Scheduling or having some fun activities outside architecture will help you reduce being susceptible to burnout.

To “get a life” as an architecture student, we gotta help ourselves put ourselves out there whenever we can, but it doesn’t mean we have to do it quickly. There’s a season for it.

You can have a social life if you multitask

Multitasking on doing work doesn’t always produce the best output but what I mean by this is to think of your and treat your class hours, or organization meetings, as some form of camaraderie or socialization.

I mean, why not socialize around you whilst waiting for the professor? Or maybe even have study buddies if that does well with you? In that way, you still get to be with and hang around people. This may help you feel less isolated with work and help feel that balance with you.

As an architecture student, you don’t need to sacrifice your social life especially if there are other architecture students who relate with you. There are also other people outside architecture who understand and may even study with you or work with you. The point of having a social life is to be social, it doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be done in parties.

You may want to check out: Best Advice I Received in Architecture School

You can get enough sleep if you don’t rely on caffeine for energy

We’ve heard people say they’ve been dependent on caffeine and if you’re one of those, it’s not too late to withdraw. Drinking caffeinated drinks may help during “emergency cases” when the deadline is tomorrow but I still do believe that the best energy to get is that from sleep.

Take power naps if you can, and if you’re afraid you won’t wake up with the alarm then maybe have a friend work with you if you’re dorming to help wake you up? Or ask a family member if you’re at home? It’s much healthier and you’ll feel more refreshed if you’re awake with energy from a power nap as opposed to being awake from all the coffee but your mind feels drained like a zombie from the lack of sleep.

If you still think it’s impossible to get enough sleep as an architecture student, I’m telling you, it’s not. It’s not easy, but it’s not impossible.

Don’t get sucked into the culture of working 24/7

I was massively burnt out through half of architecture school and it was because I was attending architecture classes in the morning and doing architecture work at night on the weekdays, and still do some architecture work on the weekends. Add to that some organization works through the week, and some meetings on the weekends.

I consider myself a workaholic, but even I don’t want that type of lifestyle. Especially in a creative course like ours, working all the time will most likely lessen your creativity or deplete your inspiration. As an architecture student, you have to remember that you’re not just an architecture student. You’re much more than that.

Related: The Worst Habits of an Architecture Student

Make your weekends distinct from your weekdays

In relation to the previous, you’ll still want to feel you have a weekend even if you still have school work to do on those days. How do you make them distinct? Maybe switch up your environment on the weekends, maybe work with a group of people on the weekends if you’re not doing it on a weekday. Whatever it is, I think it matters to still feel like time is passing instead of feeling like one week is just one long day where you wake up on a Monday and will be sleeping on a Friday or Saturday.

Make sure you’re doing something regularly that’s not architecture-related

Don’t forget your other hobbies. Do you like sketching? Sketch something that’s not a building. Do you like reading? Dancing? Singing? Make time for these hobbies. You wouldn’t want to lose touch of them. 

Also, if you still have time to travel (as some of my friends have), it would most probably help you. Don’t let go of doing exciting things you want to do just because you’re an architecture student. A thing I like doing is imagining my future self and thinking “will I regret this?” You’ll know your answer deep down.

You may want to read: 13 Reasons Why Choose Architecture

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