He said: Cramming for tests transcends all disciplines
While I toured the architecture school during freshman orientation, the professor/guide stressed that we weren’t expected to arrive with all the skills of a designer.
“We will teach you how to draw,” he assured us.
That never happened. Trial and error, along with older student mentors, informed us how to make a building look decent on paper.
What my professors did actively shape, however, was my approach to exams. And by “approach,” I mean the complete neglect of them until the last possible thread of time. (The exam-deprived architecture curriculum doesn’t quite endorse the value of an exam either.)
It reminds me of my apartment sink, which is in a constant state of overflow. I would take the daily material from my non-design courses and pile it like dirty dishes. I’ll handle that situation, uh, sometime. Say, when no more clean spoons exist or flies abound — it’s happened.
It wasn’t a lack of interest but biased priorities.
Architecture students learn to chain themselves to their desks in “studio,” the mysterious subculture where sleep is mocked. And considering a portion of studio is literally underground, you’d think it would be primed for slumber.
Rather, the glowing environment hosts the heavy-eyed strides of designers convinced their drawings and tiny cardboard building models supply their very heartbeats. (It also showcases caffeine addiction at its best. Or worst.)
Sometimes the professors made it feel that way. The anxiety of a biology exam, for example, was laughable in comparison to a “pin up,” the peer-and-professor review of design projects. After countless nocturnal sessions, a pin up could result in praise or the advice to consider any career besides architecture. Forget cellular tissue; get the Kleenex.
With that weight crushing my spine and pride, the urgency to study for other classes only registered when a professor wrapped up a lecture with, “I’ll see you next time for the exam.”
My eyes filled like helium balloons.
“What? They’re kidding, right?”