By Alan Kirkwood
It is often said that Architecture school and maintaining a dating relationship can not coexist with each other… If you are in one, it will be hard and eventually it will be ruined by the Arch monster!!! From my observations, I have seen many architects and former architects who have had failed dating relationships, marriages as well as even friendships due to the demands of the major. Personally, I have lost a few friendships as well as a relationship because of my workload and at the time, it really bothered me, but I was in school and had to do what I had to do in order to be successful.
Well, as I have been in the program for a while now and would consider myself a pretty decent student, I have grown to realize that it is possible to not only maintain friendships but also dating relationship at the same time. YOU CAN ALSO HAVE A PERSONAL LIFE!!!!! WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT?!?!?! I have learned to manage my time better, which mentioned in an earlier blog of mine, is the key to much happiness in architecture. Balancing your priorities is another. There are times where you have to separate yourself from your peers in order to get work done, but there should also be "You" time. This time is what helps you maintain your sanity. I guess it's an all around responsibility thing, responsibility to your work in making sure you allot the proper time needed to accomplish tasks and stick to that schedule, responsibility to yourself by taking out time to do the little things: exercise, read, write, go out to eat, shop, watch some television, and a thing we neglect often, just sit back quietly and think... Another responsibility is that to others. This includes friends, families, significant others. While in school, your number one priority is your studies; I mean, you're paying for it which is reason enough to put effort into it. But your relationships are important and those people can be the ones that help you get through many trying times, so don't blow them off. Just regulate the time you give to them and find that balance with your work.
I spoke with a couple of my fellow classmates, some in close proximity relationships as well as some with very long distance relationships like myself. I have also observed other students in their relationships, whether married or not, and see that it is very possible to not only sustain those relationships, but also grow in them. My relationship has been very blissful even at 4,000 miles between us partially because she is in medical school so she understands heavy workloads, but also just a general understanding of what the two of us have to do and how my success or failure in school will impact our future life together. One of the people I spoke too mentioned that they have had their struggles in their relationship, but they made up their mind that they wanted to be together and they worked through their issues. They are actually engaged now. Once again, I think it's a balance and an understanding of your priorities in life. If you understand that school is important but also understand the importance of the people in your life as well as yourself, you can find that many things in your life can be blissful.