Message - course still being discouraged ?

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Posted by  Floval on July 06, 2003 at 19:21:30:

I have just discovered these forums, and having browsed many posts here and in the archives I'm seeing that there is still a lot of discouragement regarding a career in the Architectural Profession, I would just like to add my own experiences. It may offer another perspective.

I completed 2 years at Architecture School in the UK in the 1980's. Great camaraderie in the class and very enthusiastic teachers, but being a little unsure about my direction I decided to take a year out to work in an Architects office to see what the real job actually entailed. I planned to resume my studies afterwards, but never did.

The year out was interesting, it was a large firm and I was exposed to several large projects, mainly repetitive detail design, but still satisfying overall in retrospect.

"In retrospect"... that is something I noticed, often it is not until later that you look back on work and say, "yes, that was worthwhile". I have done many jobs since which were perhaps more fun (maybe read "easier") but were meaningless in comparison.

I lost count of the number of people who passed comment on the Architectural Profession when I was studying/working in the field. The favourite one was "It doesn't pay well". Many careers don't pay well, as I have found out in the ensuing years! I don't know why Architecture always gets singled out for this criticism, i can think of few other occupations where people are so discouraged from entering for financial reasons. I think it is related to the length of the course, though discounting the years out in an office it can only be a year longer than the average honours degree anyway. You're either worried about the financial aspect or you're not, choose a career accordingly.

Some architects with the firm that I worked for told me I could make a better, easier living doing something else. They told me they would not choose the same career again, wouldn't want their own children entering the profession etc. It was possibly just unfortunate that I did not work in an office with more enthusiastic encouraging people. Then again, maybe they had valid concerns, the industry was certainly in a bad state at the time. It is all too easy though to listen to people when you are a young student with many years of study ahead.

What I am saying is, you will receive discouragement along the way, be it all-nighters as a student, sanity-testing work in your early office years, people questioning your career prospects etc. Do not lose sight of the bigger picture, the goal you want to achieve, i.e. becoming an Architect. Get your degree, you can always move into many other fields afterwards if needs require - design, information technology etc.

Why did I discover these forums ? Because I am thinking about resuming my studies...
Why resume my studies ? Because I miss the personal satisfaction that Architecture gave me.

Now a question of my own:

Age is now unfortunately a factor for me, as I would be pushing 40 by qualification. Any comments regarding problems I would encounter trying to find year-out work / build a business etc at this age? Don't be afraid to be brutally frank :) Thanks in advance.

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