Alonzo Colon: My experience as an Architecture Student during Covid-19

Today’s Topics

  • Moving out of school
  • Online School
  • Time management and productivity

Everything started the week we left for spring break. We had just reached the halfway point of the semester and I was ready for a break. Towards the end of the break, as I was getting prepared to go back to school I was excited, until I got news that would change the course of my semester!

Moving Out of School

Virginia Tech started off by extending our spring break out another week to generously give students enough time to gather everything our things. When I moved into my dorm at the start of the school year, we had to rent a vehicle for the weekend to transfer all of my stuff to school. With this situation being unplanned I had to find an alternate way to get my things from school. My scheduled time to get to school was on a Saturday at 8 am. So I had to wake up at 4 am that morning to make the long dreadful drive all the way to school.

Oshaugnessy Hall

I arrived at campus and it was like a ghost town. Everyone had moved out and walking in my dorm building there was no one to be found. All of the posters on the walls were taken down, the whiteboards were all erased and my entire floor was vacated. As I was packing and moving my belongings out of my room I remembered all of the fun memories that I have, and all of the amazing people that I had met. My floor was like a family. Everyday we would all hang out in the lounge to help each other with homework, to watch movies, to talk and have fun.

7th Floor Lounge

My Uncle volunteered his car and time to help me with packing and I got the chance to give him a tour and show him around campus. My favorite part was showing him my workspace in studio. Not many people know what an architecture studio is and how it works. This is the space where we learn, work, and achieve.

So the question remains. How do we move something like this where we do all of these projects and models into an online class?

Online School

As many of you know schools are doing online videos to take the place of in class time. One of the first questions in my head was how will my architecture studio move to an online platform?

I signed up for 5 classes in the second semester. English, Geometry for Design, Histories of Architecture, a class for the Futurehaus, and Architecture studio. My transition has gone quiet smoothly.

  • English class I have been writing a research paper on autonomous vehicles, a subject that I am really enjoying, but does require alot of time and effort.
  • I am naturally talented in math and growing up it was my favorite subject but it has been slightly more challenging with communication and getting help.
  • History has had a very smooth transition because it is a lecture class and the assignments we have been doing are already online.
  • The futurehaus class has been the most inspiring because we are on the research and integration portion of the class and I have been researching integrating technology and design.

Lastly, architecture studio. Being outside of the physical classroom building does not mean that you cannot learn and complete classwork. There are many other aspects to explore than to just create models and we do not have time or money to waste doing nothing. Although we were not able to continue what we were working on, we made a pivot to introduce something new. We have gotten to do a project where we record change over time through sketching.

Sketch of a candle

We also transitioned to learn about our process in which we design most effectively through our research and design. I conducted research about modular construction along with stadium district master planning.

My favorite assignment during this online semester was designing a desk. It allowed me to use all aspects of what I have learned this semester and tie it back into one project. I am a futuristic thinker so I decided to design my dream desk incorporating different technologies into one desk system.

Smart desk poster

Overall in spite of the circumstances surrounding this controversy, I have still been able to succeed and learn with my classes being online.

Time Management and Productivity

I find myself to be very good at time management and I always put full effort into the work that I do. Switching to online classes did not make my classes harder, it just changed the format in which it is presented.

Being in school I would have a weekly system that I followed to make sure that I get all of my work done. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I would spend almost all day working in Studio. Tuesday and Thursday I would work on History and English. Sunday I would work on Math and the Futurehaus. Then everything else I did fell in between and it all worked smoothly.

At home I have tried to replicate this system but my schedule now has many more parts to it. Currently I wake up at 8 am to start my work, and I do not finish until 10 pm at night. I manage my time very well considering that we do online classes, I still follow the schedule of classes when they were supposed to be and I still complete and turn in all of my assignments on time. I always like to keep myself busy so since there is no activity within my clubs I have made time to work on my own projects, work on scholarships, and making this website.

Personal project. I took one of the floor plans that I completed in middle school then redesigned and rendered it.

When I complete my work, I make sure that anything that I put my name on has my full effort and nothing less. I dedicate so much time to perfecting my craft that time becomes less of a factor and my passion for pursuing excellence takes over.

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Thank you for reading this week’s blog. Stay tuned for next weeks post, and as always, Dream Big!

Published by Alonzo Colon

Architecture Student at Virginia Tech

2 thoughts on “Alonzo Colon: My experience as an Architecture Student during Covid-19

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