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I Blew Through Architecture School and Never Pulled an All Nighter

I Blew Through Architecture School and Never Pulled an All Nighter

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This blog title probably outrages some people.

Well then you obviously didn’t do design school correctly.

You must not have had very good work.

Try me

. When I say I “blew” through design school, I mean it. I was top dog. Queen Bee. I ran the show in the Architecture Department. You’re in the blogging presence of the President of the Architecture Club, Honor Society Member, Student Advocate and Tour Guide, Presidential Award Recipient, Commencement Speaker, Marketing Assistant, and  - go figure - Kickboxing Instructor. Plus I finished grad school with a 3.8. Yea, you could call me an overachiever; I always have been. Lest we forget I was Valedictorian of a high school class of a mind-boggling thirty-five kids! Impressive, I know. I work my ass off, but NEVER pulled an all nighter. People always ask How but they should ask, Why. I have two very good reasons:

  1. I worked my ass off (please see above).

  2. I didn’t want to.

These two points kind of tie together.

Well no one really Wants to pull an all nighter.

If they didn’t want to, then they wouldn’t do it. I really didn’t want to. Like reeaallllyyy didn’t want to. I like to sleep, which makes it ironic when people accuse me of never sleeping and being a workaholic. I absolutely, tirelessly, almost sickeningly worked my ass of for 18 hours a day when I was in college. My boyfriend and colleagues would “take breaks” to go get a burrito, a coffee, go smoke, look at other classes’ projects, what have you. I didn’t, not nearly as much as them anyways. I was one of the first people in studio and one of the last out. And I stayed there.. All day.. Doing work... All day. Granted, during business hours I had a class or two, one of my side jobs (yes there were more than one), was tutoring another student, meeting with the dean, or setting up art installations, but the other hours of the day were me glued to my desk because I knew that I wanted needed to sleep.

It’s nearly common knowledge now that people who do more are better at time-management simply because they are forced to be good at it. It’s a sink or swim scenario. If you have two classes, three meetings, one deadline, and promised yourself to go to the gym for 30 minutes in a day, then you absolutely have to figure out how to juggle all that. For some it’s a more natural skill than others. Some (myself included) have been strengthening this skill since we were youngins. Maybe this isn’t really a skill you care about, it doesn’t have to be.

The great takeaway from this article is this - you get to choose if you want to pull an all nighter, not your professor!

*Disclaimer - I may or may not have gotten up in professors’ faces about their demands. Not in a complaining way, more in a I’m going to repeat what you just said to me and you tell me if it sounds ridiculous or not kind of way.

Every class has that handful of students who pull an all nighter before every deadline, even the small ones. Those students have literally made a habit out of staying up the night before. They did it once and figured they can just do it again, so they make time to go get that burrito and get post-class beers. I made a habit of getting my work done far in advance. If the deadline was 8am on Wednesday in my head that translated to 10pm on Tuesday. It’s just how I’ve wired myself not even for sleep but more for proofreading and checking and practicing and perfecting everything I created. What’s worse than making beautiful work to hang up and presenting it like dog shit with your mascara smudged, words slurred, and boards unlevel?

I got excited about architecture school when I was 16 because I visited the school and saw how passionate students were about their work. I love to be obsessed about my work; to be so enthralled in my research and production that I lose track of time and sacrifice my physical well-being for a week to make this one drawing look absolutely perfect! I’m all for that! Which is why I do the work in a timely manner..because I actually want to do the work. Surprising? A student who actually is interested in the work he/she is doing. If you’re paying as much as I did for college, you damn-well better be interested in what you’re doing.

I’m not saying that the only people who pull all-nighters are those who are uninterested or unmotivated, not at all. Some of my best friends and my boyfriend had several all-nighters and produced amazing work and absolutely killed it in their presentations the next day.And I’m still impressed by people who do that because it looks like torture to me.

The point I’m making here is that you (the current or soon to be or maybe alum design student) shouldn’t assume that design school = all nighters or that all nighter = success in design school. If you don’t want to, then don’t. And if you tell yourself that you don’t want to but then your conscious mind is all like “Yea but I have three models to make, the store is out of super glue, I don’t know what my facade looks like, and can’t find my olfa knife!”, then you seriously need to take a step back, look at the big picture, re-prioritize, and get it together man. And this advice could lead us down a rabbit hole of controlling your subconscious decisions and habits called “Mindfullness”, but that’s for another time

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