Until a certain point architecture for me was just that – architecture. Working at an office, perhaps starting my own practice at some point. For a long time, I did not really consider doing anything else while a lot of my friends explored different 'satellite' fields alongside their studies, or even taking gap years, hoping to find a niche that they enjoyed the most. However, while talking with them I realised that what architectural education prepares all of us for, is to be "Jacks of all trades, masters of none."
Architects dabble in many different engineering fields, as that insider knowledge allows us to design in a smarter way. We learn about construction, sanitary and electrical installations, different sustainable solutions as well as many different programs, from CAD and BIM software, through different 3D modelling and rendering ones, to Photoshop and InDesign. And those are just the first things that came to my mind.
That broad expertise is part of what makes architecture so interesting but also so easy to branch out at any point. In the end there are many different career paths that a person with an architecture degree can follow, as well as many that architecture school indirectly prepares us for.
We are always told to try to turn our passion into profession. There are many people who are actually extremely passionate about architecture, but there are also many (myself included), who do enjoy it, but cannot see themselves in an office environment.
Luckily, I tested that quite early on; After finishing my bachelor's degree, I decided to take a gap year and work at an architectural office to see if I am even going to enjoy it. Three years and two very different offices later I understood that even though I do enjoy big parts of the profession, there are also many other elements that I would not mind escaping from. The main lesson I got from this experience was realisation what exact elements of our profession I actually enjoyed and this in turn allowed me to create a 'road map' as to what kind of path I want to follow as an architect, or someone who just 'dabbled in architecture' for a 'short' while.
When I started doing my master's degree, I decided that I wanted to try as many other things as possible during those two years:
I have always enjoyed writing, but did not do much of it after highschool – I joined Bnieuws to practice and see if I still enjoy it (I do!)
I dabbled in VR for a bit before coming to Delft and wanted to learn more – I joined Beyond 3D, an elective, in which we did a VR scene completely based on our imagination.
I wanted to become better at presenting and public speaking – I joined TU Delft Debating Club in order to quickly realise that it is not my cup of tea. But I would not have known that if I have not tried in the first place.
I have always wanted to try theatre or something similar – I joined Delft Improv Group (DIG), an improvisational theatre student association, and completely fell in love with it. I even ended up becoming on of the board members.
While a board member of DIG, I realised also that I just enjoy organising things – I have joined Stukafest Delft 2020 as a Secretary and PR Manager.
Those are just some of the things I have tried in the past two years. All of these different things that I have tried and loved, liked, enjoyed, not enjoyed, disliked and hated brought me closer to understanding what kind of person I am and what kind of thing I would like to do in the future.
You do not have to turn any new thing you try out into a profession, but every new skill you acquire can help you in ways you cannot even imagine. Therefore, if there is anything you are passionate about or you do not feel you have a passion – try things out! The possibilities are endless!