They say the lights never go off in the architecture building, with floors lit up at all hours of the night. Students joke it is easier to count how many hours they spend outside of the building rather than in it.
Taylor Hanttula, a junior architecture major, said she spends only about 10 hours away from the building a day, on average, and not all of that is sleeping. More often than not she is simply grabbing a bite to eat or meeting with friends, trying to get a change of scenery.
The architecture program has so many projects and assignments that Hanttula said she has to plan out when she needs to stop working so she can get a certain amount of sleep. Then, the next day she wakes up and does it again.
“There would be days where I would stay up pretty late, about 2 a.m., and then maybe go take a nap for an hour or 20 minutes, and then come back and work till 6 in the morning,” Hanttula said.
Lawson Spencer, an architecture major, said he spends between 15 and 18 hours a day in the architecture building.
“You always have projects,” he said. “You’re always trying to meet the next deadline.”
Clifton Ellis, the associate dean of academics at the College of Architecture, said the Texas Tech University architecture program does have a heavy course load, but is a professional program, with many graduates continuing their education at Ivy League universities because of their training at Tech.
Each semester architecture students take a five-credit studio class, which meets three times a week for three hours. Hanttula said the class is a time for students to ask the professor questions, look over details and fine-tune their projects.
Almost every project students complete has to be professionally printed. Fortunately, the college has all of the printing equipment the students need. Unfortunately, students have to pay to print each project themselves.
“There was one semester where we had to print out multiple six-feet-long drawings,” Hanttula said. “I’m pretty sure I paid almost $1,000 just in printing that semester.”
Even though their major is stressful, they still love it, said both Hanttula and Spencer. For Spencer, it is hard to find a day he does not enjoy.
For his last final review, when students present their big projects for grading at the end of the semester, Spencer said his model broke three hours before it was due.
As stressful as this was, he said he still got a good grade and his professors were impressed.
“Even though it’s a lot of pressure, a lot of work, it’s also very rewarding,” Spencer said.
Having friends in the same building, even the same floor, alleviates stress during busy times of the semester.
Before going out to dinner or something else to get them out of the building for a few hours, Hanttula said they just walk around their floor asking all the studios if they want to join.
“We truly are a huge family,” Hanttula said.
Even though they are “family,” they still try to compete against one another and push each other to do better, Hanttula said.
The two students agreed the amount of time put into the major is worth the good grades and success.
Spencer said he thinks the students who do not put in as many hours as he does do not enjoy it as much.
“I love it,” he said. “I think that’s why I put in the hours I put in.”
This story is the third in a series of articles about what it is like to be a student in certain majors. Look for more “Welcome to My Life” stories soon.