Sunday, June 22, 2014

#TipsForUSTArkiFreshies Part 3: Life As An Architecture Student

Hey guys! So the last leg of my Arki Freshmen Tips is here! Since I'm done talking about the stuff you'll be encountering on your first year, I'm wrapping up my guide with these tips to eliminate any misunderstood notions about your first year as an architecture student. A myth-busting of sorts. Haha!

Anyways, if anything, I think this is the most important part of the series because these are the things you really need to know and so that you know the reality of what you're getting into. For UST students, if you've had your orientation already, then a lot of you must scared out of your minds right now. Haha! That's definitely how it was for me. The orientation felt more like a session full of plain old threats discouraging you from this course.

With that being said, they're doing to this so you can be absolutely sure that you can handle the very different curriculum they have in architecture. It's better to make your mind up now rather than later because shifting nowadays in UST is almost impossible. Rest assured, I'm here to tell you that it isn't as scary as you may think. If this is where you feel you belong, then no matter how hard things are going to get, and trust me, it will be INSANE at times, you will learn to love it!

First of all, I want to talk about handling your studies. Now that you're in college, you have your major classes, which I've talked about in the previous tutorials, and your minor classes. Your minor classes are going to feel like such a needless burden what with all your plates and projects, BUT you absolutely have to remember that these minor classes are actually your grade's saviors. All minor classes are relatively simple on your first year. A lot of them are just about the stuff you've learned in high school. Filipino will be a particularly annoying thorn at your side as it's a basic subject that demands way too much attention. When tests come, you'll be forced to memorize the lessons on the book because it is waaaay to definition-based rather than being practical which is just bizarre. I don't know if the bill about taking Filipino out of the college curriculum is going to happen, but you should know this anyway.

English is something you can almost disregard. At least, that's how it was with our prof because believe me when I say that she was so lazy that I don't even know how I got through her class. She came to class INCREDIBLY late every meeting and didn't want us to leave the class regardless of the free cut rule, and in the end, she would only guess our grades, but thankfully she didn't give anything lower than a 2.0.

Math is a recurring subject in architecture because it has a lot to do with your major, which is why you have to take it seriously. With this subject, it's super relative to every student. Some find first year math to be really easy like me, but a lot of people I know have a hard time with it. If you're from a Chinese school, chances are that Math will be your saving grace because you'll find it super easy. Haha!

Coming from a non-sectarian school, I had absolutely ZERO idea about Theology because despite me being Catholic, I didn't grow up to be religious at all which made me clueless about salvation history. For me, Theology was the most difficult, but it isn't really hard if you pay attention and just do your best to understand the lesson. That's just how it is.

You will also have Theory of Architecture (TOA) which is not really boring but not all that exciting. It has fun little plates that you can do within 10 minutes usually in class or sometimes as homework. This isn't as "big time" as your real architectural subjects but the stuff you learn here is all about how you develop your personal aesthetic when it comes to designing. This is a subject people almost never fail and all you have to do is take notes. The book is actually pretty useless and you don't have to use it. Like. Ever. With that being said, I bought it anyways because it isn't super expensive like other architecture books and I might need when it comes to board exams and all other big exams that'll need it.

Of course, now that you're an architecture student, you have plates! *Tan tan taaaaaan*

Kidding aside, of course on your first few weeks, there won't be much to do since you're just learning the ropes. In your Graphics class, some profs will just give plates to you as homework while some want you to do it in class under their supervision. For me, it was the latter. And I have to say that this is definitely the better way to go. Since you're on a time limit, you are practiced in speed and accuracy. You have to do your work quick but it also has to be nice and that's the real challenge. For the other classes, since it's given as homework, the urgency is gone and it just leads to a lot of them procrastinating at home and doing their plates at the very last minute. That's where the incredibly infamous sleepless nights come in.

Guys, you HAVE to remember this. You don't have to give up sleep on your first year.

On the first few weeks of class, I got to talk to this cool upperclassman (He was on his third year at the time) and he explained to me how it really isn't true that you have to sacrifice sleep for good grades, and I couldn't agree more.

You really just have to manage your time. And it isn't hard at all.

Sleepless nights are for the upperclassmen because they're workload blows yours out of the water. They have a LOT of stuff to do which is why sleep is a luxury. But with freshmen, this just isn't true! Believe me when I say that in my ENTIRE freshman year, I have never had to sleep later than midnight, and that was just because I was going through Facebook! Haha! There was this one time that I had to sleep at 2:30 in the morning because of my finals plate in Graphics but that was pretty much it. I've never had to go on for days without sleeping, unlike a LOT of people I know, and it's not because I had no social life or I went straight home after class. On the contrary, I hung out with friends after school almost every single day, and I had a lot of fun! :)

The tip is to do your plates as soon as you get them. As simple as that. You DO NOT have to finish it immediately. Just get started and finish something substantial every night. You have to manage your time really well. It's okay to check your social networks from time to time and it's okay to listen to music, just GET. STUFF. DONE. Especially on your first semester when all you do in Design is make models, I find myself starting on Monday after our design class and usually finishing by Wednesday, which gives me four days to chill since the plate is due the next Monday.

Sometimes, you might want to take a while to think about your designs, and that's totally fine, but you have to remember that you're running on a time limit. If you value sleep, then you have to really focus and think of a design. Do your best to limit your thinking and deciding your design in a DAY, so you can get started as soon as you can, and finish it on time, so you can actually sleep! Think about it like this, when you design for a client in the future, you can't take half a year or a year to think of your design or you would get fired! Bottom line: it's okay to think about your design, just don't take forever!

When you have free day, use it to finish whatever tasks you have at hand. In my case, I had no classes during Wednesday. Early in the morning, I go to the gym and work out, and when I get home, I work and finish all my plates. When Sunday comes, I chill with my family. It was great and it didn't feel hard at all. Think of it like this, get stuff done and you can have a great time MINUS the worries. I remember one time when our finals plate was to design a family home, and as usual, I did mine a little at a time, and it took me about two weeks, I think. And I finished on a Saturday, not losing any sleep over it. On Sunday, I was malling and just plain chilling while most of my friends are literally dying at home because they decided to begin two days before it was due. Time management, guys, time management.

Of course, if you think otherwise, there's definitely nothing wrong with that. Just remember that you can cram ONLY IF you can handle yourself. There are people who like to push their work to the very last minute and they just can't catch up. They can't do it fast enough. When they lose sleep too much, they get sick. When they don't finish, they get angry. You have to deal with the consequences of your actions and you have to adapt to whatever problem that you face. That's what life is all about after all.

On to a lighter note, college will be fun. You don't have to be worried that you won't have any friends, because, trust me, you will! Just keep a positive attitude! If a super awkward introvert like me managed to make friends, anyone can. Haha! You would not believe how introverted I really am in person as I really just keep to myself. That is, until I make friends. Any of my good friends can vouch for how talkative I really am. LOL

You'll make a ton of good memories with your block, and you will meet the most talented and the nicest people you will ever know. The friends you make will definitely make the super difficult times about a million times better. When the time comes, that you will be reshuffled, which I hope in your case that you don't, you will feel massive separation anxiety! Haha! From the people you didn't really like all that much to your best friends, you will definitely miss it, no matter how much you think you won't.

You're a college student now. Make the most of it. :) 


  1. I wanna become architecture student. But my marks were not enough to get admission there. Time management is too important. Lovely post

  2. My daughter dreams to become an Architect. As a mom, I now know how harder it is to be in college, first year at that. I can't really imagine, I do have a freshman daughter who is taking up Fine Arts, and all we can think about is the finances we need to support her in her chosen field. I pray you can handle every challenges along your way and that you become one of our country's greatest Archi...-www.gastronomybyjoy.com

  3. My niece is planning to take up architecture. I'll share her this post.

  4. Nice tips! I say yes to doing assignments immediately. You will realize how much free time your really have. Oh, you make me wanna take up architecture. 20+ years too late for me. Oh how I miss my college friends!

  5. How great that you are providing this tutorial for students! I think it will help people with the decision as to whether this is the study route they want to follow. I have always been fascinated by architecture and this was a great read, thank you!

  6. woooh. gonna share this with my archi friends. :)

  7. Awesome article!!!i like architechture very much ,i think its hard to me :P :P
    good One

  8. your post reminds me of my college and masteral years...

  9. i can feel that you're a good designer! it's a good thing that you're taking a course that you love and is in tuned w/ your talents :)

  10. Good points you have there. Architecture students will find it helpful for them.

  11. I agree with the dude you talked to about not giving up your sleep on your freshie year. I really liked your beato building though (oops, I can hear a jealous educ bldg resident here lol). I heard your 5th year is the most difficult year.

  12. Social life means your social obligation starts, and education really have to put your time into it. Just go on and study with your course.

  13. Your post is full of insightful tips and advises for an architecture student. It could really get overwhelming for an incoming freshman regardless of the course. I like your advise of trying to finish a project by doing it piece meal one day at a time so that it does not get too much if you decide to cram and procrastinate.

  14. This is a great post for ust arki students, it's just, well, too specific. I hope they get to read this though.

  15. My freshman year is an exciting and scary experience at the same time