I am Hunter Wilson, a student currently studying in the Southern Illinois University Masters of Architecture program. I began my education at Vincennes University located in my hometown of Vincennes, Indiana. After receiving an Associate’s Degree in Architectural Studies, I transferred to SIU where I earned a Bachelor’s Degree and still study today.
I spent the first two years of my college experience at Vincennes University. I am from Vincennes and lived just down the road from the campus. It made sense in terms of distance and money to attend VU and look to transfer from there. Knowing that VU’s architecture program and SIU’s architecture had a partnership for a seamless transfer, I decided early on to take the transfer route.
Coming from a class of 10 at VU to a class of around 60 was a large difference in the school environment. At VU, we had become accustomed to the small group and having every class together. We even had the same math and science courses at the same times. At SIU, the difference was that I was not going to know everyone and I would be stuck in math and science lectures of 150 plus students. This lecture size was also a large change. The largest class I ever attending at VU may have been comprised of 30 students or less. The general classroom atmosphere was different.
Another difference was the area of focus between VU’s program and SIU’s program. The focus at VU was largely construction methods and drafting. The focus shifted to largely design based when entering SIU. With SIU focusing on design from the start, it seemed evident that the students were a little ahead of the game in terms of efficient design. Since VU’s program was CAD based, it made sense that we began using AutoCAD from the very first day of class. Along with that, we were taught hand drafting techniques and had to produce construction document sheets by hand. Finding out that SIU students didn’t even touch a computer until their second year was quite a shock. It may have been a shock to me because being on a computer everyday in class was all that I knew. Furthermore, transferring in junior year, we students from VU had completed two straight years learning to produce full construction documents and general construction methods. Meanwhile, the juniors at SIU were just beginning to start concrete and steel, construction documents courses. I was a little confused because I had assumed the SIU students had been focusing on CAD much like we had been focusing on it at VU. The VU students, coming in as juniors, were a little more knowledgeable about certain programs than the existing SIU students. This allowed us to assist other students whenever they had certain questions. This interaction also helped us to get to know the students more and find new friends.
All in all, the route that I took to be where I am now was definitely the right choice. VU provided me with great CAD skills as well as skills required to work in a professional office. SIU has provided me with a further understanding of design and new systems. Hopefully I am able to combine all that I have learned and use those skills to produce a top notch thesis.