Hey guys, its Robert Underwood. Brooke Grayson and I thought it would be an excellent idea to talk about what we wish we would have known last year. (Or the year before, in my case)
Fasten your seat belt, here are 14 of the things we wish we had known:
- Always have your scale.
It’s never too early to start forming good habits. I need to have a way to measure what I’m sketching when trying to communicate a design or building system, and when your professors see that you are always prepared, they remember that.
- Sketch for fun.
If you only ever sketch when you are being graded on it, you don’t get enough practice. A drawing doesn’t have to be good, if you don’t like it, do it again until you love it. It’s kind of like conditioning in sports… Running up and down the field might seem like you aren’t getting skills for the big game, but when it comes to game time, you run faster and don’t get tired so fast.
- Get to Bed on Time.
This tip is standard for anything you plan to do. Although our faculty may seem somewhat lenient on being on time to class, it is still bad practice to show up late. This tells all the professors you may not be ready for a job because if you cannot come on time to a class, how could you do it for a job?
- Try to be an Active Member.
One of the big things I wish I had done was being more active in our club. I missed out on a lot of fun opportunities to learn about architecture. I understand it may not be enjoyable to constantly have architecture related things shoved in your face after a busy day of school, but forcing that passion for architecture will lead to you knowing much more about it and thus will have a better chance of getting you a job.
- Don’t be Afraid to Study
I know how it was in high school, where I never studied at all really. But this was because the information was not captivating. You chose this profession so get into it! Try “Googling” information all the time. Try reading ahead a chapter in your textbook. This will all help tremendously because you learned it on your own time and that will reinforce what you are learning in a classroom.
- Stay off the Phone.
One of the things I still need to work on is focusing on the class. Cell phones are just distraction for when you’re bored. I would recommend turning it off for class but if you really don’t want to do that try to keep the phone out of your hands. It is not only rude to the professor but it’s lowering your grade due to the information you are ignoring. I know you have all heard all this before, but this is college and you are not far off from having a real job; step it up! Those who are coming back to school after having a real job have usually already learned this.
- Make Friends
We all have heard this plenty of times, but in order to take your education seriously sometimes you need some support. That can come from seeing your friend working hard or even from them reminding you to pay attention. Motivation is the key to success and we can all use more reasons to stay on track!
- Research Job Opportunities
Since your goal at the end of this degree is ultimately to get a good job, you should learn what skills firms are looking for. Learn about the correct way to make a resume and the correct composure you must maintain when applying for the job.
- Open your Field Options
We love having you in our program, but it is important to know what you will enjoy doing the most. You may find something similar to the field you are currently in. Sometimes even classes you are taking now will apply to your other choice. The goal is finding enjoyment in your work. Make sure you try to find what suits you the best!
Textbooks can be a real pain, especially when you learn it is not necessary to have or that you even got the wrong book. I recommend waiting till the first day to find out what book you really need. I personally still have a book I haven’t even opened yet. LOL
*Brooke here – ask your teachers if you should buy or rent the textbooks. Some are very useful resources, others are used in future semesters. The giant book for Materials and Methods, buy it. It is invaluable! Plus you use it for two classes as the assigned text and every time you have a question, you can probably find the answer in there.
Conversations with your teachers are essential to success. You can learn a lot about content you may not understand, when tests are, or even when the next club activity is. This also opens the way to potential job opportunities. If they see you are actively striding towards getting a job, the potential for a recommendation is high.
- Be Prepared
This goes hand-in-hand with #10, but in terms of class material. By now we should all know to bring pencil and paper. Stop by your favorite store and pick up some blank notebooks. Also, high quality pencils and pens are great, if you want a recommendation, see #11. Be sure to get some trace paper too, that stuff is always great.
- Don’t ever start with “You never told us how to…”
Be an advocate for your learning! The strongest skill an employer looks for (in any field) is being able to think critically and solve problems by figuring things out on your own. Our teachers often treat their classrooms like an office, and a boss that is always stopping his or her work to answer your questions will wonder why they hired you. Try to figure it out before you ask.
- Go a little over the top!
You can always dial things back when finals are due, but in lab time, dream big. Plan on going above and beyond the project requirements to learn new things. One of the best things I did in my first year was spend time with upperclassmen to figure out what I could learn before I needed it.