This semester I’m learning to relax, take breaks, and not feel guilty about it. School is important, but it’s not everything. I used to make it “my life” and not have time to do things that I enjoyed because I thought that architecture school was “supposed” to take up all of my time. And that I was supposed to be suffering and spending all my time thinking about design, working in studio, and setting up lasercut files on Friday nights. I used to wonder why I never had time to do anything fun. But I was the one stopping myself. No one’s forcing me to work all the time, no one is making me feel “guilty” but myself. Why did I let myself believe that was how it should be? It’s not like I didn’t enjoy learning about architecture, but I let myself believe that I needed to be thinking about it constantly. I was in a suffocating relationship with my work. I guess I didn’t know that I could take some time off and still have good work. I was led to believe that there was “good” and “bad” architecture. But really, there is not definitive answer. Who am I to judge? I know just as much as my peers; we are no experts in anything. We are all entitled to our own ideas and designs, and ask different questions for our architecture.
I can go into great depth about the creative process. How we shouldn’t judge solely on aesthetics. There is much more to architecture than how it looks. If anything, it is how the human body/mind react to spaces. Think about your favorite place. Think about your memories in that space. This is the magic of architecture, and how it changes all the time according to the viewer.
Anyway, I digress. The point is, it doesn’t matter how little sleep you get, or how much time you spend thinking about design. Everyone has different ways of working, and over-working may not always be the best. It is true that you must practice your skills over and over again before it becomes natural and effortless. In order to train yourself to become a better designer, you must work at these skills so you will have better control over what you want. However, it is necessary to take breaks. Everything in moderation. And, knowing myself, I just won’t allow for anything less of a high standard. And the work will get done. So why waste half a day in frustration when I can be spending that time doing things I want to do, like running or cooking, or just relaxing and doing nothing?
Finding content in life is all about finding balance in work and leisure. It’s definitely a challenge, but in the end very much worth it. This semester I’ve been cooking a lot more (therefore saving money), exercising at least 3 times a week (trying to train for a half-marathon in may), working more hours at my work-study job, getting enough sleep every night, and paying attention at all my other non-design classes. These are all things that essentially make me happy. I ended last semester with a new hope and outlook on the future, and it’s been pretty great so far. In general I’ve been doing well. And it’s such an amazing feeling after a couple years of sacrifice in architecture school