October 11, 2013

1 year later: Reflecting on Stress & Architecture School

It’s just over a year when I when I published my famous post on Mental Health and Architecture School which begun this blogs climb in page views and readers in the Architecture blogosphere. As Mental Health 
Awareness week ends in America, I wanted to reflect on the topic of stress and architecture school:
At the design studio I work in, the office mates and I talk about our struggles in architecture school, and I must confess I even laugh at it when I look back. I laugh of the ridiculousness of working with a group of 14 students in chaos and under pressure, I laugh at some of the struggles, the late nights, the weekends, and even the craziness that studio brings.

On the other hand, I still feel a bit traumatized at failing and falling behind. I still deal with the emotional trauma and stigma of failing studio and falling behind. I guess on one hand it has brought forth this blog that I share with you, but on the other I feel like I’m still on my mission to making meaning and amends with it – which blogging is my therapy to express myself in a non-visual way. I want to go back to grad school, but there are so many things I want to do before I jump back into the academic womb.  

To those students of architecture currently in school: I know it is not easy, and I can admit, when you are laden with stress and the pressures of deadlines and studio, your life can feel like it is out of control...and much more out of control in group projects. It can be quite difficult to take a pause and even a few steps back to see the big scheme of things and in life. Architecture School is not the be all and end all of what happens – it is only a mere point of departure. I have met so many students and friends that have made great careers inside and outside the Architecture field, and everyone of us can easily recall a vivid snapshot of the stresses in studio. You won’t be able to see a rainbow in the middle of a storm, for these stressful moments are fleeting. Every negative experience can inform and teach you about yourself and how to be better. If there is anything to learn and acquire is figuring out how to deal with your personal stresses and challenges. I am a strong advocate for struggling architecture students to use the student counselling and psychology services their school provides if struggling to cope with the stresses of school. Architecture School never is easy to deal with when dealing with mental health issues – get yourself checked out when you feel like you are not coping as well as the majority of your peers.

To finish this post, I would like to leave a TED Talk that I came across yesterday by Kelly McGonagall. I`ve even taken a psychology elective on stress, but I think her talk is quite applicable to any student. Just realize that the challenges in architecture school are tempering you to be able to rise to the demands of work and real life - mind over matter.

The Underdog Architecture Student

Things I learned from Architecture School
Mental Health Awareness for Architecture Students
The Almighty All-Nighter (Part I)


  1. This is a great information that everyone who suffers with photography needs to know. According to you high levels of Architectural lead to cancer?

  2. I'm a second year student of Architecture and I'm quite glad to have found this blog while searching for some ideas for my next project. I don't think much of my classmate feel the same way I do about this subject, especially the part of failing, I am not sure they really know what it means, seeing they havent exactly experienced it...Anyway, thank you for thie blog, I am glad it exits!
    Cheers from Lebanon!

  3. Thank you so much for posting this! I am a second year student in architecture but have scored C for my first time ever (they don't fail us so C is possibly the worst grade you can get) . Thank you for being so honest, and for sharing that failing is not all, and the video shared was definitely inspiring. To a certain level all these will serve as a good reminder for me, and the radical thinking about stress could possibly help me as radically in archi. Will keep watching this space!