Whenever I look back at my time in Uni, I imagine how easier things would have been if someone had given me a heads-up. I went into architecture school starry-eyed and thinking it would be a ride in the park, cue in four years later and how much things have changed since then.

Whenever I see newbies looking the same way I did in freshman year I smile, it is only a matter of time. Some people say it’s good to make your own mistakes and learn from them. I say making informed decisions and learning from them is better. So here are my tips for budding architects as they begin one of many steps into an interesting career.

Drink Tea Not Coffee

This is always the general debate, and while many people might suggest coffee for obvious reasons, in architecture tea is better. Coffee is fine for that sudden burst of energy to goad you on during late night CAD designs, but watch it!

The caffeine will course through your blood giving you that temporary rush you need, but ends up with you burning out quickly. Tea on the other hand releases its caffeine slowly, keeping you calm and alert for much longer. It is also an antioxidant with the ability to relieve tension– plus it costs you less to make.

Do more Free Hand Sketches

Draw a lot and practise free hand sketching regularly. Drawing isn’t only a means of communication, but a way of thinking. From Le Corbusiers’ cluttered outlines to Zaha Hadid’s numerous paintings, drawing is important to the application, culture and development of architecture.

Use a Sharp Scalpel

When designing a model, use a sharp scalpel. Scalpel blades may cost a bit more in craft shops and blunt faster, but don’t scrimp and buy dull blades instead. If you cut yourself on a blunt blade, the wound will be messy and take longer to heal. However, a cut from a sharp blade causes a finer wound which can be dressed easily and heals faster. Save more money by buying scalpel blades in bulk.

Listen of Your Lecturers

Your lecturers are a vital source of wisdom and ideas- benefit from them. Don’t wait until your weekly lectures or tutorials, seek them actively. Meet them for advice, opinions, critique and so on. Go to their offices, email them and run into the in the corridors. Develop a good rapport.

Nap with Caution

Power naps are great for restocking on your vitality, but do so with caution. By the time you are done from architecture school, you will have tried every sleep style available. Some people will tell you a twenty-minute nap is more effective than forty, you will even see makeshift beds made out of reading desks. Whatever works for you is good, as long as it doesn’t threaten your health. Maintain a steady routine, too.

 Keep a Journal

This is a given. Always have a journal or notepad to scribble your next brainwave. Ideas come when you least expect them, and they can vanish just as quickly. Make sure you put down every thought, inspiration and plan that goes into progressing in your course.

Good luck!