September 11, 2012

Traits Architecture Students must have

I remember hanging out with a friend in studio on Saturday, eating lunch, and our professor came in. (By the way, yes, architecture school does not consider the weekends as sacred just like a good night’s sleep) We began to talk about what are the traits you need as a student of architecture to survive school.

Actually, the conversation sort of began like this:
“Hey Professor X, so I’m mentoring A and B first year students”
*!?*“Uhh...(a minute later) Umm…What’s so wrong about mentoring students?”

He then told us the implications of being a mentor and that a mentor should hone some important traits and skills than just giving away the answers. He asked both me and my buddy on what are the traits a student of architecture should have and what would you teach. By the end of the conversation and a little more thinking about it as of this writing, it came to these traits:

  • Discipline
    • To be professional is to have self-discipline. It means taking responsibility. You have a deadline; you need to bank that extra time to meet it on time. It means being a team player in a group project and realizes that your effort is affecting the grade of your other peers. It means learning how to be able to manage your time and your resources. Discipline means learning how to stay focus on the task at hand.

  • Resourcefulness
    • Being in university puts you in a level of higher thinking and with it comes teaching yourself the ability to self-learn. It means figuring out how to learn the software yourself and looking for the websites/books/friends/peers that are knowledgeable. It means independently finding the answers to your questions than heavily relying on a professor or colleague.  It means willing to go above and beyond by reading and research with the stuff you learn in class. It means asking questions and probing the issue at hand. It also means asking for help when you need it.
  • Persistence 
    • This is a personal one, and I remember that Professor X told me how my blog gave hope to students, and how my persistence is a great story of my blog. I believe to. It means being able to move beyond your mistakes and improve. It means learning how to fail and climb back up and stick to it.
  • Hardworking 
    • On Facebook, I’ve been posting an online meme of a quote “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” I remember talking to my second year studio professor at graduation and I did mention how I fell behind, but still made it through.  He told me these things, like architecture, take time to learn. The only way to hone your craft and gain proficiency is to bank in that time. I remember that my counselor was talking to me about the 10 000 hour rule. It was based on Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers that to become an expert or proficient in one’s discipline, you need to gain that experience and bank in that time.
  • Strategic
    • I’m going to go the opposite route from hardworking. Because after failing, I was telling one of the Department Heads that I was working my butt off this year after failing and I was doing all these things. He then told me that It’s not about working hard, it’s about working smarter. I completely agree, and I was quite anxious, and was wondering in my head “great, now how?” From going through it, I believe that working smarter comes with experiences and figuring things out at first before learning how to become strategic.

This is not an exhaustive list, but some of the things that you need to succeed in architecture school. What do you think architecture students need to learn to succeed? What helped you succeed in architecture school? Please feel free to comment below to comment on this!



  1. Great Blog. I've learned a lot by the reading this and my favorite quotation from yours "It's not about working hard, it’s about working smarter."

    1. Thanks Archyjademichelle!

      Actually, I must say when I got that feedback in my dark times as a student, It would make me worry more about how to work smarter. I personally would re-frame it as continue to banking experience to eventually become proficient.

    2. i agree sir :))
      explore and explore