Friday, March 21, 2014


By Ryan Kinports

           One factor in a professional program such as Architecture is the hidden cost of learning. I remember when I came to visit there was a joke about how much money models take but there was not a clear remark about the reality of that statement. When we factor that in to the expected costs of learning (tuition, fees, textbooks) and then add the frequent field trips our major becomes unusually expensive. I suppose another expense could be the need to order food because we tend to spend such long stretches in studio. We could buy groceries and pack food but who has time for that. I am always looking for sources to supplement my income:
The American Institute of Architecture Students has frequent competitions that have cash prizes ranging into the thousands of dollars, and sometimes offer paid internships at renowned firms. Perhaps the most beneficial aspect to these competitions is that you may use a project you’re already working on, and if you don’t have time to do it on your own you may work in teams. There are three currently running with a total prize pools over $10,000. These are your best bet as even if you don’t place you still earn IDP hours.
Another great way to augment costs is to join the various regulatory organizations as a student. Often membership is free or greatly reduced and we gain access to discounted textbooks, webinars, lunch and learns, opportunities for internships, and even travel vouchers for industry conventions. One such opportunity is the National Steel Conference in Toronto Canada in March. Joining the American Institute of Steel Construction is free for students, and they are offering a $175 travel voucher for members who attend the conference.
                Look for an externship or internship in Carbondale. There are six AIA registered firms in the area and it can’t hurt to ask. You could get 10-20 hours a week and since IDP changes went into effect you may count them as hours.

                I’ve mentioned before but it’s also important to recognize how fortunate you are to have this time to devote to something you care about. Far too many people end up working at something they dislike in order to pay bills. It is rough being a student sometimes but we are allowed to pursue our passion for a time in return for the steep upfront costs. Do what you can to lessen your financial burden but I wouldn’t allow your efforts to distract you from what we are supposed to be doing here. The few thousand dollars you save may not be worth the time cost. 

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