Returning to school starts optimistic, but shortly you find yourself wondering if you actually learned anything…

The same cycle of thoughts will occur during the first few weeks of architecture school. Here are 10 things you will hear students say at the start of just about every semester…


1. “It feels so good to be back. I have been craving studio all summer!”

Ahh! Walking into the architecture building on campus is the first step to fulfilling the strange urge to work on a studio project yet again. Yes, it is a strange phenomenon… architecture students, myself included, are the only subset of college students I have ever heard say that they miss school between semesters. Maybe we just enjoy the rush/ stress/ pain/ hopelessness working on a studio project brings.


2. “I understand so much more about architecture from traveling to _______ this past summer.”

You will hear this one from the study abroad crowd… acting like a summer semester overseas changed their entire archi-world (and from what I hear this may even be true). Regardless, do not fret if you didn’t go and don’t be ashamed you missed out. You have your whole career if you want to experience architecture around the globe.


3. *Going to a non-studio class* “I don’t see why I have to take any classes besides studio, they are a waste of time.”

Studio has that special something your other architecture classes often lack… I haven’t been able to define this as of yet (refer to the last sentence of numero uno). Whatever it may be, your non-studio classes actually compliment your studio quite well. Do yourself a favor and actually go to these classes this semester. It isn’t worth working on studio just to fail everything else…


4. *Talking to a underclassman* The studio you are taking this semester is going to be so hard. Get ready..*

Shame shame. Are you trying to instill fear? I am guilty as well, making it out to be more than it is. But it is kinda fun seeing the look on their face. Besides, who is ever going to say that studio is EASY!


5. *Talking to a classmate* “I heard this is going to be the hardest studio so far!”

Looks like someone pulled a #5 on you. You asked, and you received the go-to answer you know all so well… it is a never ending cycle.’


6. “Last year’s studio class had professor_______. We are going to have ______. I hear their studio is tough.”

Ohhh. You didn’t get the professor you heard was easy? We have all been there. Hearing stories from the upperclassmen about the hard times under the most intimidating professor in the school.

7. “Things will be different this year, I am so much more ___Enter Positive Adjective here___”

Who cares if you have the so called hardest studio and most intimidating professor, you are different now… More experienced, a better architect-in-the-making. I mean, you survived your classes last semester right?


8. *Gets first studio assignment* “What the hell are we supposed to do for this?”

And yet it happens again! You were fooled into thinking you actually knew something; clueless on where to start your studio project. You are not the only one in this boat.


9. “I feel like I still don’t know what I am doing…”

In case you have not figured it out yet, no one is supposed to know exactly what they are doing…


10. So then you ask yourself, “Why did I want to come back to this?”

When will you learn? I thought a moment ago you said it felt good to be back? You returned because you enjoy it! No matter how stressful it may be, the final project is worth the blood, sweat, and tears. So much so, that you simply can’t wait to do it all over again!


If you made it this far…

I wrote this post with a heavy heart, as sadly, not every architecture student is returning to school. Due to the Louisiana flooding last month, which left thousands of families left to rebuild everything from the ground up, many students now have familial obligations. One of these students, a good friend of mine and a source of moral inspiration (who was also going to be NOMAS president of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Chapter this year) will be one of many having to delay their education to help their family and community.

Let’s help out a fellow aspiring architect! I am asking you to share this Gofundme account on social media, and if you could spare a donation it would be greatly appreciated. Let’s get this man back into architecture school to finish his degree!

This post is part of the ArchiTalks series in which Bob Borson of Life of an Architect selects a theme and a group of us (architects who also blog) all post on the same day and promote each other’s blogs. This month’s theme is “Back to School”  To read how others interpreted the theme please click the links below this post…


Enoch Sears – Business of Architecture (@businessofarch)
Back to School!

Bob Borson – Life of An Architect (@bobborson)

Matthew Stanfield – FiELD9: architecture (@FiELD9arch)
Designing Back to School

Marica McKeel – Studio MM (@ArchitectMM)
ArchiTalks: “Back To School”

Jeff Echols – Architect Of The Internet (@Jeff_Echols)
What Have We Learned? It’s Back To School For #ArchiTalks 21

Lee Calisti, AIA – Think Architect (@LeeCalisti)
good to go back to school

Mark R. LePage – EntreArchitect (@EntreArchitect)
Back to School: Marketing for Architects

Lora Teagarden – L² Design, LLC (@L2DesignLLC)
4 Tips As You Go Back To School

Cormac Phalen – Cormac Phalen (@archy_type)
Back to School Again

Michele Grace Hottel – Michele Grace Hottel, Architect (@mghottel)
#architalks 21 “back to school”

Michael Riscica – Young Architect (@YoungArchitxPDX)
Let’s Get Back To (Architect) School …or Work.

brady ernst – Soapbox Architect (@bradyernstAIA)
Back to the Cartography Board

Brian Paletz – The Emerging Architect (@bpaletz)
Back to School

Michael LaValley – Evolving Architect (@archivalley)
#ArchiTalks / 15 Ways to Make the Most of Your Architectural Education

Eric Wittman – intern[life] (@rico_w)
getting [schooled] again

Sharon George – Architecture By George (@sharonraigeorge)
What’s better than architecture after school?

Jarod Hall – di’velept (@divelept)
Back to {Architecture} School

Drew Paul Bell – Drew Paul Bell (@DrewPaulBell)
Back to School…Suckasssssss

Kyu Young Kim – Palo Alto Design Studio (@sokokyu)
Back to School: Seoul Studio

Jared W. Smith – Architect OWL (@ArchitectOWL)
Back to School…

Adam Denais – Defragging Architecture (@DefragArch)
[ArchiTalks #21] 10 Things Architecture Students Say Going Back to School

Jim Mehaffey – Yeoman Architect (@jamesmehaffey)
Back to School? It Doesn’t Stop there for Architects.

Tim Ung – Journey of an Architect (@timothy_ung)
10 Things I wish I knew about Architecture School