The Mentorship Spot
Inside the World of Architecture: From an Architecture Student
By Lubaba Mir
Hey everyone! My name is Lubaba and I transferred to OCAD this year from Humber College! I’m starting my third year in Environmental Design and I wish you all good luck on your road to University!
What makes architecture exciting for you? And why do you enjoy it?
Just the freedom of it. Thinking of something, and watching it come to life is great - it’s a great experience. Of course, trial and error can get frustrating at times, but that’s the beauty of it, because at the end of the day you're trying to make it better. So coming up with a design and then going back and forth with your peers, and specially mentors, and the whole process behind designing. You can learn about your style of work as well from that. I also really like the collaboration aspect of it, and the growth that comes with all the work.
What did you find enjoyable? What did you find difficult about the program?
I really enjoyed getting to work with new people! Working with new people, and also meeting profs and getting the chance to talk with them was a great experience, and something that I really enjoyed. In terms of difficulties, working with people was a great experience, however, you don’t always know what you’re getting yourself into. It’s hard to tell what the group is like, and how your group will work together, which can be daunting. But at the same time, it was nice to see how others work and I thought it was beneficial to get some fresh perspectives and learn how to work as a team.
What are some tools and experiences you need to be successful in an architecture program?
In terms of tools, you obviously need a laptop. I also found it particularly useful to have a touchscreen laptop, so I could really get that experience of sketching, which is useful for careers in architecture. Some people say they prefer gaming laptops because of the fact that they usually have more storage. For me personally, portability was a bigger factor, so I opted for something that was more easy to travel with.
Moving onto experiences, working with and thinking of space in an architectural way is usually something new for most people. So I think it’s important to think about how the client, or others would utilize the space. It’s good to start thinking in those kinds of mindsets and visualize that. It may also be useful to take advantage of the architecture around you. For example, if you have a project centered around designing a community center, it may be beneficial to your learning to actually take the time to go see one and allow that to help your thought process. And these kinds of experiences, or actually going to places, taking them in, and seeing what they’re like are all important experiences that help to shape your way of thinking and how you go about projects. And in that same vein, travelling is great to see how people in different countries make use of their space and how things are built.
How did you balance your academic work and life?
Most of the time, I found that my work life was my social life, you know, but having a balance is definitely healthy. Of course, I took advantage of the reading weeks, and at times, being ahead of my work was also a great thing. And going back to managing time, learning how to avoid procrastination in university is very important. At times, I would leave off smaller parts of assignments to the night before, because I didn’t expect them to take up that much time. However, when actually getting started on the work the night before, I would realize how much work there actually was to do! So that’s one thing that I tried not to do, because it’s better to have more time to work on projects than to leave things to the last minute, even if it’s something small.
For others, I saw that many people would do work for, let’s say, 5 days, and then really take the weekend off to relax and unwind just to ensure they had time for themselves. I think that’s a really great way to ensure that you’re actually taking time for yourself, and could be a beneficial time management method you may want to adopt.
Do you have any tips for those who are interested in going into architecture?
It’s really something that you need to think about before you get into it. So it's not something where you're like “Oh, architecture sounds fun. Like let’s try it out”; it's more something that you need to do research on and figure out. To truly question if this is what you want to do with your life, because it requires a large time commitment and financial burden. You have to make sacrifices, such as staying home while your friends are gathering so you can work on something that night, because in the end it pays off. And also, knowing people and networking is a great asset and something that helps, like getting Linkedin, getting connected with people helps a lot in the long run.
A great way to prepare to go into this field is to look at some Adobe softwares and teach yourself how to use them. During the semester, you may find yourself wasting a lot of time trying to figure out how these programs and apps work, rather than actually being able to work on and improve your ideas, so it’s a great thing to already have a basic or good understanding of these types of applications. Also, take a look at laptops and what you think would work for you best.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I would say I'd want to start working alongside others and truly working in the field to see what architecture is really like in practice. School can only teach me so much, but to get that real experience I need to go out there and get into the workplace. So for sure I see myself working and working on savings.
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Interviewed by Maisha Alam