There are a lot of myths about studio and architecture students’ long hours, poor hygiene and the energy drink and coffee diet. There is a group on Facebook, that enumerates the many one-liners about all nighters and caffeine addictions called “You know you’re an architecture student when….”
There is a faulty notion about studio because of these myths–some of which might not exist if it weren’t for the reputation. There is this question about students and whether they can be divided into two groups: students who love architecture and students who love studio. I say this, because those who love studio more than design, are those that tend to stress the mythical part of studio. I am between my first and second year, and as the workload picks up, perhaps more of these habits fall into necessity.
I’ve picked out my personal favorites from the You Know You’re an Architecture Student When…:
…you carry a toothbrush in your backpack. This one is true for me, but only because I have an hour commute home and if we go out for Taco Bell, I want to be able to wash that greasy processed taste out of my mouth before settling back into studio. There are several people in studio who probably should keep a toothbrush with them…
…all of the Christmas gifts you give are wrapped in trace. Instead of trace, I reused scrap newsprint that I had sketched on. A free alternative to pricey paper that’s just thrown away anyhow. When money is tight, you learn to live by waste-not want-not. Besides, those who got gifts from me actually thought it was kinda neat to see my random sketches and the little touches I added to make each gift special to the recipient. Plus, they get to throw my trash away for me.
…you spend more time in studio than in your own bed Isn’t this a given? I really hope everyone spends more time doing what they love than they do in their own beds. Sleep isn’t a waste of time, but in excess it really is unproductive (even just a little). There a lot of iterations about lack of sleep on this list, and yes, sleep is rare and special–but we do sleep. As students, we have to sleep. This is where burn-out happened among some of the first year students. Those that didn’t sleep were more interested in living up to the fake expectations that they created that are spurred by rumors and the reputation of studio life. Even on the easiest of projects, they find themselves stretching out certain parts of the assignments while not being particularly productive. At a certain point, the time spent on a project starts to negatively affect the design and just as much is true if not enough time is spent on the project. When projects are poorly produced, this can end in a lot of animosity in the studio, which slows down progress considerably.
…your parents are complaining that you’re not having enough fun. Not true. I love studio and I love designing, and I’m pretty sure that most of those in architecture would agree. Besides, we do have fun. We just have to moderate ourselves and learn to enjoy the little trips to Sam Flax or Taco Bell.
…you only leave studio to buy supplies. False. Site visits and food!
…you’ve ever dreamt about your models. Several times. Mostly nightmares about them catching fire, falling apart during review or being run over by a semi.
…you consider using broccoli for your models. Not really. But I do look at the scraps on my plate and start building mash potato forts with broccoli groves and a corn creek near by.
…your friends get more sleep in one night than you do in one week. This is true. But she’s an art major.
…you strangle your roommate because she said she stayed up late studying. Logging onto Facebook at 4am after working very long hours over a model and drawings and about to go back to studio only to see friends’ status updates that consist of “omg i had sooooo much homework! woe is me! only 5 hours of sleep!” and yes…you do want to strangle a few people. Something about the predawn hours incites violent tendencies.
…you tell time by when other people leave studio. Also true. I almost always leave studio before midnight to go home and shower and catch a quick snooze. I learned when some people’s classes were, so I knew whenever such and such left with their backpack on, I knew it was 3 pm. Unless it was a test day for them, when they returned it would be around 4:30 pm. I personally made those my benchmarks for parts of my projects. “Must finish this drawing by the time so and so comes back….”
…you start using words your instructor uses. “This guy.” “…and beyond.”
…X-acto knives can be dangerous… as we all know or will find out. Funny story. Possibly one of the most ridiculous injuries thus far for the entire studio. I broke my tooth on an X-acto blade. I kid you not.
…And if you have been drunk while in the studio working on a project, join the club. This is one I have no intention of following through with. I go to studio to either sleep between classes if my car is too far away, or to work. Not drink. There are those that do, and I suppose what they do with their time is their business…however they create a loud and sometimes hostile environment which really doesn’t help with productivity. I don’t tell them what to do, but I’d rather they didn’t bother me. (Coincidentally, those that drink are often the ones who don’t shower or sleep…just something I’ve noted.)
…when people tell you that they like walking around with you because you see things know one else does. This is my favorite one. My art major friend tells me this regularly, but now even little things that aren’t necessarily shiny distract me–like shadows and creative expansion joints!
Tomorrow is a busy day. Hopefully going to catch a talk by BIG’s (Bjarke Ingels’s Group) Kai-Uwe Bergmann on Yes Is More at The High, followed by the film Visual Acoustics, about Julius Shulman, an architectural photographer.
Other news: cultures and physics are moving along swimmingly. That is all.
Remember to shower,