Life as a Project-Based Student

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Chloe Campbell
Two pairs of hands working on a set of landscape architecture drawings.

Life as a project-based student has its highs and lows. Typically, college students can be found studying in coffee shops, working in the library with friends, or even curling up on the couch working on homework. But for a project-based student, that might not be an option. As a landscape architecture student, most of my time is spent in the studio working on computer/hand graphic projects. This looks like spending upwards of 20 hours a week in the same classroom, with the same people, with the same professors, working on design projects.

Strong Community

This might sound like a hefty experience, but there are many pros that come along with working mainly on projects: I don't have tests often, I get to know the people in my classes, and I get to delegate my time how I want to. One project could last months, but in that time frame I get to become close with my classmates and professors, and we get to bond over working on the same project for long periods of time. Most other majors don't have the opportunity to fully get to know your classmates, but the community work environment of a design major makes it vital to succeeding in class.

Marathon Studio Time

The average work week for me looks like having studio time on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 1:30 to 5:20. On top of that I might need to be spending some of my time in the studio getting ahead or catching up. Having that amount of class time might seem wild but having that separated class time just to work is vital and has taught me a lot about how to manage my time well. During a busy project, I might be spending 30-plus hours a week in the same room with the same people.

Real-World Career Preparation

There are some downsides to spending so much time in the studio. The timeline of projects can be daunting, spending time with the same people for large amounts of time can be hard, and getting along with professors can become challenging. But all these things allow for benefits in the work environment. Down the line whenever we get a real job, there are going to be tough work relations and tough deadlines. The landscape architecture program truly prepares you for what life could be like outside of school.

Most majors have it differently with their exams, but I enjoy creating these projects. I’ve enjoyed the relationships I’ve been able to build with peers and professors since we have to work on the same projects over a long time. This will transfer over into the real world of architecture, which I will hopefully be in soon enough!

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