December 31, 2017

12 Truths About Being a Landscape Architecture Student

If you've been following my blog for a while or read my about me page, then you more than likely know I'm studying landscape architecture at the greatest university known to man, otherwise known as Texas A&M for all y'all none cult members (hate to admit it, but us Aggies are a cult).  I adore my major.  I transferred into it my sophomore year (as well as transferring schools in general), and I still believe that was one of the best decisions I've made. 

Landscape architecture isn't an incredibly popular major, with graduating class sizes averaging 30 people, so undoubtedly its a misunderstood major. I thought it would be fun to share some little truths that all landscape architect students know about all too well. 

  1. Projects will never be done// Oh you will spend hours, days, weeks, months on a project, but truth is, it'll never truly be finished. Sure, you'll get it to a point where you can present it and turn it in, but after having it chewed over by the critics you'll come to discover that there is SO much more that you could have done.  That's the thing with designs, there is always more than one solution and elements you can change and alter.  When the time comes for you to include the project into your portfolio, you'll probably still hop into Photoshop and tweak a few things before putting it in there.  Heck, even semesters down the line when you're looking at work from previous design studios you'll think to yourself "Man, I really should have done this or added that to this project". The work is never done. 
  2. People will mistake your major for a landscaper or lawn service// "Wait, so you're going to college to mow lawns"?! Yes, this is actually something I've been asked. Some people get a little closer and mistake the major for landscaping, although they still question the need for a 4-year university with that too. I've started to get into the habit of telling people that landscape architecture is like civil engineering, but we make stuff pretty. 
  3. Friends & family will want you to design their yard// People you know will volunteer their yard as "free practice" and want you to have a look it, and come up with a cool design for them. I mean I can't blame them for asking, they are just using their resources.
  4. You'll start analyzing every outdoor space you're in// The more you learn about landscape architecture theory and urban design, the more you'll analyze every space you're in and try to figure out why certain elements were used, what makes the space work, and what detracts from the space. All the while, explaining everything to your non-architect student friends. 
  5. You'll call plants by their scientific name// "Oh, look at that beautiful Quercus virginiana." After spending a couple semesters learning the scientific names to over 300 plants, you're gonna wanna show off your mad skills to people. 
  6. You forget the last time you slept// Oh all-nighters... you can't truly call yourself a landscape architecture student if you haven't experienced the derangement that ensues after seeing the sunrise at the studio.  When you see the clock tick along and the only thing you want to do is have a sweet date with your bed, all you can do is cry a little and wait for the sun to come up. Well, I take that back, your eyes will be too tired to cry!  While sleepless nights are inevitable, almost all the best studio stories occur in the wee hours of the morning. Those are the memories you'll bring up at every class reunion. 
  7. Coffee Addiction// I promise, I can stop at any time... You see coffee will trick your adenosine receptors so you won't be sleepy. The perfect liquidy goodness for those long nights in the studio. Even if you don't like the taste of coffee, chances are if you're a landscape architecture student you still drink it. 
  8. Health & hygiene get pushed to the back burner// Long nights at the studio means your food options are limited (i.e. vending machines), exercise doesn't happen (unless you count T-square baseball), and showering is a luxury for the lucky few who get to go home before sunrise.
  9. Other majors pity you// All you have to do is tell someone you're an architecture major and they'll automatically go "Oh you poor thing".  Its widely accepted fact that architect students put in the most hours a week studying (22 hours on average according to this study). Our work is often subjective too, which makes grading slightly harder because there isn't always a right or wrong answer like with other majors. 
  10. You start using buzzwords// Juxtaposition. Conceptual. Biophilic. Innovative. Texturize. Place Making. These will be just a handful of your go-to words you use when giving critiques or talking about your own work. 
  11. You have a love/hate relationship with AutoCAD// Oh AutoCAD, its an amazing tool, but also can be downright stubborn and infuriating.  Don't even get me started on trying to correct the scales on prints... oh the horror.
  12. Your studio mates will become your best friends// At the end of the day, the only other people who truly understand the pain and suffering you're experiencing are your classmates. Y'all spend years together, go on trips together, stay up together, and share a common goal.  These people will become some of your best support system throughout your time at college. I'm not sure what I would do without my amazing Land ShARCH friends.

So, to all you high schoolers out there, wanna be a landscape architect student?