Friday, December 20, 2013

Keys To Surviving Architecture Finals Week

By Alan Kirkwood

Final presentations, final presentations, final presentations……. Oh the stress it brings. They say, “Tis the season to be jolly…”, well, that is not the case when it comes to architecture school. This week prior to our final presentation for the semester, we are all frantic and running around crazed because of the things we have yet to accomplish and/or the overachieving that some students do has set them behind. One of my group members has really been stressing with this project particularly because of his responsibilities to his graduate assistantship position along with the dependencies we have on our wonderful technology. All in all, there are many contributors as to why our “jolly season” doesn’t start off so holly jolly.
1.       Prioritize! This is key to keeping your stress level down in an indirect way. When you sit down at the start of the project and ask yourself, what is important at this time? Is this project the main thing you plan to give your attention to, is it hanging out, friends, family time, sleep? All of these things are very important to keeping your sanity, but there is an order of importance that you must see and then you can move into scheduling and time management. Managing your time can also help you deal with setbacks due to technology, which we all know can and will happen.
2.       This leads us into our second key, time management. Sit down and come up with a schedule for how you are going to spend time during your days individually as well as just what you plan to accomplish each day. This will give you a sense of accomplishment daily which will make you feel better about yourself and what you’re doing. Make time to exercise, eat regularly, spend time with friends, go out and enjoy the world beyond your computer….  This gives you constructive outlets to relieve your stress.
3.       Mentioned in the previous category was social time. Being social is very important because it’s how we express our ideas to be able to bring them from our brain to paper, hear new ideas from fellow students, as well as to just calm the brain by talking about completely other unrelated ideas. I went to my professor’s office the other day and talked about relationships which actually gave me more perspective on my project indirectly. I often walk around my studio as well to see what other students are doing, joke a bit, find out what’s going on in the world and go out to eat as a group sometimes just as a social break from studio.
4.       The forth topic I’m going to end with is personal life. The idea of having a personal life means having a life outside of school, outside of architecture. This piggy backs on topic 3 but expands upon it. Don’t neglect family, friends from outside of school, your relationships. Spend time with the people who love and support you, who have been a part of your life for years and care about you, wanting to see you succeed. Positive reinforcement that you receive from a girl/boyfriend, mom and dad, your best buddy growing up or maybe even an old teacher or religious figure you know. Just a “you can do it”, a “that looks really good and is interesting”, and especially a “we’re proud of you” can go so far in making you feel good and confident. They may not understand what you’re doing or whether or not your design is ‘architecturally’ correct, but it still just makes you feel empowered to work harder, to do more when you may feel like you want to give up. I look forward to bringing my work home and showing my family and friends… it’s fun!

Well, I hope that you can use at least some of these tips to help relieve some of your stress next time you are facing the dreaded final presentation week monster!!! Have a happy holiday season and a happy new year!

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