Graduation also creates a hole in the existence of a young architect. It’s only normal that the change from academic to professional life is followed by a sense of longing for long conversations in college halls, late nights designing together, parties, and, most importantly, a student routine after five years or so (let’s face it, normally more).
One of the most important things I learnt when doing my Architecture Master in Europe was to remember to have fun while studying, because I can only have fun working if my job is focused around my personal interests. This isn’t to say that the job is straightforward, that the only thing that counts in a master’s degree is having fun, or that your advisor’s (or any other teacher’s or colleague’s) opinion can’t be contradicted. In the opposite, academia is a place of disagreement, and science will emerge from the conflict of ideas, as it did for me.
Following graduation, the most popular path is to enter the (savage) work sector. Finding an internship and becoming an architect, finding a career in a new office, and spending time learning about the insides of studios, workplaces, and architecture companies seems to be one of the options that new architects are most interested in. The prospect of launching your own company in the long run seems to be sufficient reward for years of commitment to ventures that are not always tasteful or consistent with the values of many that have recently graduated from college.
There are, however, other options for a recent applicant, and a Architecture Master in Europe may be an attractive choice for those still in college and interested in academic ventures and experimental inquiry. Young architects have several choices for lines of research that are beyond the scope of architecture since it is such a large and multi-dimensional area. Technology, housing, architecture, landscaping, community design, urban politics, and environmental comfort are only a few of the well-established study fields within the discipline. Other domains, such as stage building, theatre, photography, and filmmaking, are accessible to architecture if the aim is to separate oneself from the most consecrated paths.
I’d like to share some of the things I’ve gained along the way that could be helpful to others who choose to return to school.
1. You can’t do research about anything you don’t care for
It can seem self-evident, but it isn’t. To begin any kind of study (whether central to or on the outskirts of the field of architecture), the topic in question must pique your interest. This is true for all, from students who are currently interested in science fields to others who have never done scholarly research before: if there is no participation, the analysis would not be completed.
Thinking about something necessitates being open to it, responsive to it, in other words, receptive to it. And then is it possible to focus on the topic and, as a result, conduct analysis. With that in mind, the next move is to determine if the motivation is purely intrinsic or whether there are other factors at play, such as if the study effort is merely a continuation of a tedious experimental investigation. Believe me when I say that if your curiosity stems from inside, your study would be even more productive.
2. No one is going to tell you what to do
A popular misconception is that a master’s student’s sole responsibility is to conduct studies. However, there are a variety of topics to choose from, much as there are when you are an undergraduate. It varies by college, although there are normally no set qualifications, and you are free to select the classes you want to take. No one will advise a graduate student which disciplines to pursue; a tutor can provide advice, but the decision is ultimately yours.
This is a crucial aspect that I had to adjust to over time. This time around, I had a lot more freedom than I did as a student, and this extends to both study and thesis. The therapist is involved in the project from start to finish, debating and recommending readings, so no one else can if you can not do what needs to be accomplished. Which takes us to a different subject: proactivity.
3. You Must Take Initiative
• Characteristic of someone who tries to anticipate and fix challenges in advance; promptness and tenacity;
• The act of anticipating difficulties and moving quickly to prevent or alleviate them;
• Make a current scenario better when considering potential circumstances.
In a nutshell, proactivity is a trait that can greatly benefit you by preventing, among other aspects, the accumulation of activities at the end of the semester. (By the way, this is a valuable attribute to have as a student and in every job.)
4. There’s Still Room for Improvement
Take this advice for a grain of salt. Shift does not often have enough time. It does, though, act as a summary of the tale I was told. When I realised that my mentor’s proposals were incompatible with mine, my first instinct was to express my dissatisfaction and attempt to persuade him that continuing original research—albeit with more specificity—was the most productive way to finish my master’s degree.
This plan failed, but instead of continuing my study with my advisor, I submitted my suggestions to another instructor, who became involved in the project and eventually took over as my advisor. If you will see, just as the student’s interest in the topic is important, so is the professor’s interest in the subject.
5. It’s a Long Road Ahead. Try to relax and enjoy the ride
Since two years isn’t enough time to immerse yourself in one topic while still completing the other courses (which normally entails planning essays and presentations), a useful tip is to abandon the concept of writing the strongest paper or master’s thesis of the year. It may seem to be stressful to read this, but it is the very opposite. Avoiding the goal of achieving the maximum academic degree of your dissertation relieves a massive burden off your shoulders, allowing you to perform without strain (or at least without this specific pressure) and thereby reduce your dissatisfaction.
These suggestions are based on my own professional knowledge, and I may state that I am already working on my master’s degree. I am certain that my previous insights would be beneficial to those considering architecture post-graduate studies (or even in other fields). However, everybody is different, and my insights may or may not extend to everyone—despite the fact that they have proven to be very useful to me in this diverse world known as academia.