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surviving as freshmen in university

Friday, August 30, 2013





No kidding, the opening words on my first day of orientation were: you won't sleep, you won't have a social life outside of university, you will fail a few exams and you'll have two new best friends.
Coffee and a sleeping bag.

I instantly knew that I was in for a disappointment because I'm a strange individual who doesn't drink coffee. Even though I'm now convinced that (with all the stress) if I'm not converted to it within the next years before my university time runs out, I will never be a coffee drinker. In my defense, I absolutely love the smell of coffee. I also still don't own a sleeping bag, so you can see why my relationship with my newly found best friends didn't exactly work out. All the other things I heard on that first day were true. Yet, I still survived my first year in architecture.

Maybe it was a good thing that I decided to study architecture over law and over journalism in the last possible minute. Had someone told me what was in store for me, I probably would have screamed and ran in the opposite direction. But I was absolutely clueless (unlike many people in my year who had wanted to become architects since they were 1). I'm really grateful for that now.

In the end, what happened in the time between October and August was: I had no time at all; I cried a lot; I slept very little; I wanted to quit every single week of the first semester and I'm so glad I didn't; I spent every free minute working on something; I cut myself 7 times while building an architectural model, and only one was a bit more serious - no stitches though; I ate at the weirdest hours of the day (actually, the night in most cases); I learned that coming home at 10 pm counts as coming home early; I met amazing people  but that didn't stop me from missing my years at high school like crazy; I had some very good days; I had a lot of very bad days; I learned more in the last month of my second semester than in all the months before altogether; I haven't failed an exam... yet (I still don't have all the results from my finals); I had 4 complete 24-hour work sessions / "sleepovers" in the studio (where we worked on our projects) and a dozen more working from home; I had the privilege to work with incredible professionals who were also incredible people; I fell in love with architecture all over again but in a different way; I experienced depression for the first time in my life but I learned that things pick up eventually; I laughed a lot; I learned that comfort is so much more important than looking presentable or fashionable in most cases and no one fucking cares how you look as long as you get the job done; I didn't die because I wasn't able to be active on the Internet or watch every episode of a TV show a few hours after it aired; 
I learned to prioritize; I learned how to stand by my ideas and pitch them successfully to others; I learned hard work is what gets you places but you can't go anywhere without luck; I learned that it's okay to feel inadequate because you're there to learn and it will get better; it's okay to doubt yourself because you can't always be on top and it happens whether you want it or not; I learned that complaining about the long hours and many assignments is completely normal as long as you can objectively look at what you've done and say: fuck it, I love this shit you're putting me through.

I had fun.

The whole bunch during a stop on our trip to the Netherlands in May

PS.: Nutella really does make life easier. 
In conclusion, a few words to all the future soon-to-be-architect-students: If you don't spend at least one whole night in the university's work room working on a project, your professors are taking it easy on you (or you're not completely dedicated to your project). Basically, you'll be missing out on the real architecture university experience. No sleep, no food and a lot of nervous breakdowns in the middle of the night. If you are however one of the lucky ones who manage to skip the over night extravaganza and the professor still likes your project - congratulations! Either you're really, really lucky or really brilliant. Either way, enjoy it while it lasts.  And be patient, I've been told that it pays off eventually.




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  1. this is all so inspiring and so beautiful. I know you had the hardest time there and I am so proud of you dear, I really am, even though I don't actually know you that well. You should be inspiration to so many people, you should've mentioned how far away from home you actually were. fuck it, you are MY inspiration.

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    1. I don't even know what to say to this amazing comment! I really can't see myself as being an inspiration in any way but I'm just kind proud of myself for sticking to it (as egocentric as it sounds)because a lot of people from my course quit already and for good or for worse... I'm still trying to fight the current...

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