What It Is Like To Be An Architecture Student At Virginia Tech

Today’s Topics:

  • Cold Mornings In Blacksburg
  • Hardworking Afternoons
  • The Wonderful Evenings

Being in college as an architecture major is very different than a high school schedule, but has been a lifestyle that I learned to enjoy so that I can make the most out of it.

Cold Mornings In Blacksburg

The most dreadful part of my day is always waking up. For a college student, 8 AM classes are the worst. Especially during the winter time. I would normally wake up around 7 AM after snoozing my alarm clock a couple of times. It is almost a ritual that I eat cereal for breakfast. It has been my go-to meal for as long as I can remember and shortly after, I pull out a sticky note to write down everything that I would need to accomplish during the day. Some days were short, and some days seemed like they would never end.

Around 7:40 my roommate would be just waking up as I am walking out the door and I would give him a simple update of when I’d be back for the day if he wanted to do something later then walk out to the elevator. I lived on the top floor of Oshaughnessy Hall and I always hated how long it took for me to catch an elevator, but I was also lucky because very few people actually have 8 AM classes. When I went outside, the first thing I always noticed was the cold wind smacking me in the face. Virginia Tech is in Blacksburg, a small town in the mountains of Virginia, and the wind is no joke. Our campus is separated into the residential and academic sides by the drill field in between, so it would normally take me about 10-15 minutes to get to class which felt like an eternity.

Drillfield at Virginia Tech

The class that we mainly have for architecture is called studio. It is a space dedicated for the school of architecture where every student gets his or her own desk so that they have a space to complete their work. What most people find surprising is that studio class lasts 4 hours. What do you even do for 4 hours? Well most times we are discussing the project that we are working. There is a learning portion where the teacher is lecturing giving us information that leads up to our assignment.

One of my first projects I did was a card project. After about an hour of lecture, we were then given a prompt to make something with a deck of cards, without using any glue or tape, and have a verb that you can use to describe it. Much of that hour was spent with everyone asking questions, but come to find out, every question led us to another question and it sparked our creativity to then start planning out a design. Something that you find out about architecture school is that there is no way that you can get all of your work done in just a 4 hour time slot.

Hardworking Afternoons

After studio, I would have a 30 minute window to get to my next class Earth’s Natural Hazards. This was a general pathways class, which is required in order to graduate. This was my biggest class with about 150 people in it, but also my easiest class. A few architecture students were also in the class so we would always head over there at the same time and then after class have study sessions to prepare for the exams. That class ends at 1:10 although sometimes we would end a bit early, but this was always the time that we would grab some food to eat. At this point, it would be an exhausting 6 hours since I last ate food.

In my opinion, Virginia Tech has the best on campus meal options available in the nation. It would always be so hard to choose what I wanted to get because there are so many great options. Eventually I would settle on something to eat, enjoy my meal, talk to my friends, and then head right back to studio.

I enjoyed doing my work in studio. I knew that everyone was taking similar classes to me, and there would always be someone there to talk to. Of course I could go to the library or a study lounge, but between having a desk in my dorm, and a desk in studio, I could always find a way to get my work done.

One of the more challenging classes that I took was geometry for design. The coursework was not necessarily the hard part, it was the way you had to learn. It was actually a course that was halfway online, meaning that you learn the course material on your own time, then you can go in to the math emporium to ask tutors for help and then take the quizzes and exams. Sometimes lessons took 5 hours to learn, and sometimes they would take 2. On average, I would spend about 15 hours per week working on that class mainly between Sunday and Tuesday. After I’ve finally completed all of my homework for the afternoon, I got to go home and enjoy my evening a little bit.

The Wonderful Evenings

The evenings were always my favorite part of the day. Whenever I went back to my dorm, I knew that my friends would always be out in the lounge just chatting. Most of them were engineering students and we would always share ideas and joke around. After about an hour or two, we would all go out to grab some dinner and walk around campus or play sports.

On some days after we eat, I would head back to studio. It can be a major time commitment to fully excel in architecture, but I was also involved in clubs where my meetings would be in the evenings. I’m part of 4 different organizations/clubs and each of them required me to spend about 2-5 hours per week working with them. These have been providing me great learning experiences as I have been involved with multiple design projects and competitions.

After I have completed all of my meetings, I continue on with the project that we are doing in studio. Working on projects is probably the most time consuming part of being an architecture major. There was not a single day where I did not go back into studio after class for a project. There are even times where I have stayed past midnight as I love working on projects and enhancing my designs to be the best that they can be.

Finally after all my classwork is done, I’ve finished the work for my clubs, and have done my studio work, I get to go back to my dorm and chill for the rest of the night. Even when I get back, there are people in the lounge talking and having fun, so I always had a sense of accomplishment by the end of the day and a reward for when I got home.

Thanks for reading this week’s blog. If you are interested in becoming an architecture student or have more questions about what it is like in my major, feel free to comment below. As always, Dream Big!

Published by Alonzo Colon

Architecture Student at Virginia Tech

2 thoughts on “What It Is Like To Be An Architecture Student At Virginia Tech

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