It's a fact that Architecture is the hardest major out there. Architecture students are the most sleep-deprived, hardworking, and innovative problem solvers who refuse to give up. When a student is studying architecture, their main priorities are their designs, their grades, and... well... anything consisting of architecture.

Compared to some other majors where students can cut the cord at 11pm and click "save" on an essay they've been working on, architecture students have to consistently keep designing in and out of class, in and out of their studio, and (whether they like it or not), in and out of consciousness.

Most college students live by essays, ramen, late-night study sessions with their besties, and color-coordinating their notes. Architecture students live by all-nighters, their models, perfect line weight, midnight market, and 4-hour long critiques where they can finally get some shut-eye. 

I can say with full content that architecture life is a period that has ended in my college education. However, it was the most fulfilling learning experience I've had. I'm very fortunate I got to live the architecture life at the third best architecture school in the country.

However, architecture life killed me when I cared. Before I realized that architecture wasn't what I wanted to be doing in my life, architecture got to me physically and mentally. I grew as a student, a designer, and as an individual. Architecture found the ultimate highs and lows of my personality (my colleagues got to witness it too) and my willingness to never give up.

Bottom line? Architecture wasn't for me, but I tried for two semesters.

To those who are suckers for design and are in love of the absolute best and worsts of architecture life, I have the pleasure of giving you some tips that I've learned in my first year.

I learned the hard way and the sickly way (3 weeks practically on my death bed). Save yourselves, and your models, and read these health tips. You'll thank me once you're actually enjoying your education, and not praying for it to end so you can just go to sleep. 

1. Procrastination Is Your Enemy

In high school, I won at procrastination. Essay due in an hour? Yup. 30 minutes of studying before a midterm? Enough for me. However, procrastination kills in college. If you're stressed under pressure, destress by planning ahead. Yes, I know, architecture is unpredictable. You could certainly be asked to make 5 study models by the beginning of studio the following day (they love doing that during "dead" week). So maybe if you have a harsh requirement, don't go on a 3 hour long "dinner" break...? Maybe don't talk to your studio neighbor for 2 hours straight about how sleep-deprived you are?

2. Take a Break Every Couple of Hours 

If your shoulders are growing sore from how you've been hunched over a model for 3 hours straight, it's time to step back. There were endless amounts of times where taking a lap saved my design. Thinking outside of the box, checking your model out at a different angle, getting a different opinion, and clearing your head for a few minutes could potentially save more time than if you were to take no break at all.

3. Stay Organized

Obviously if you're on a time crunch, don't waste 30 minutes sweeping wood chips under your desk. But, it wouldn't hurt making some folders on your computer's hard drive to save yourself from losing a 3D model you worked all week on. Make folders, put away your hella expensive materials when you can (especially hide it from those studio stealers), and don't just throw a study model you worked all night on somewhere underneath your desk (I literally lost 10 study models from doing just that).

4. Don't Compare 

Your designs are beautiful (in my case: "mediocre") and unique. Don't waste your time realizing how someone next to you approached a design in a much more creative way that you never even thought of. Chances are they're looking at your design thinking the same thing. A design will always look better on someone else's desk. Keep your head down and focus on your one-of-a-kind approach. 

5. Clear Your Head

When you can, go for a walk with your colleague who probably needs it just as much as you do. If you want to be alone after being consistently surrounded by students in studio, go by yourself. Tune out, go for a run, work a sweat, it'll help to clear your head of the cobwebs when you most need it. 

6. Hang Out With Optimism

The worst thing you can do is experience your education pessimistically. If your colleagues are keeping you down and making you hate your learning experience, it's time to find better company. This is the time to be inspired, inspire others, encourage and be encouraged, and work together. Architecture is certainly a competitive career, but you're not there yet. Architecture school is your one shot at experiencing, connecting and learning, so hang out with people who are making the most out of it (especially considering you practically see them 24/7). 

7. Take Notes...Non-Stop 

Whether you're being critiqued, in a lecture, or just in an interesting conversation with your professor, take notes. This is the most innovative major out there, if you want to remember advice from 3 designs ago, you'll need good notes to check back on. 

8. Sketch... Everything 

In a lecture and are inspired by a design your professor presents? Sketch it. Love your colleague's approach to their design? Sketch. In your dorm eating chips about to head to bed and think of a good idea? Sketch TF out. Architects practically communicate through their sketches, so fall in love with sketching. 

9. Plan Your Basic Survival Needs 

If you're realizing that if you don't get sleep tonight, your brain might shut off on you, plan when a good point to pause is in your design process. If you need sleep, sleep. Professors aren't there to kill you (most of the time). It's best to come up with a decent schedule that includes when you'll be working, eating and sleeping. Although it's very unpredictable, estimate a goal time that you will aim to turn off the lights for the night. Because, let's face it, you need sleep in order to be the best you can be. 

10. Reiterate, Design, Work, and Learn Through Your Passion

Don't think of this just as school. Think of this as an experience to learn through something you love doing. This shouldn't be a hassle, a burden, or an annoyance. You're starting a new chapter in your life, so fall in love with making mistakes, reiterating your design, and meeting the most intellectual designers out there.