Hard work never fails.

This is a good thing to be reminded of frequently. In hindsight, looking back at recent achievements, hard work is something that you can never regret. Hard work is always appreciated in hindsight, rarely ever in the moment, and in architecture school, this moment may look very, very, very bleak. One can only hope that the hard work that they are struggling through will eventually pay off.

Hard work for what reason?

I was asking myself this question earlier today after reading a Thanksgiving Facebook post from a mutual friend about risking stability and livelihood in a mindless hospitality job, diving into his passion for photography with a year of contacting people asking for work, and reaching the stage where he is now being asked for his photography and travelling to provide his services around the world. Good on him, good on all freelancers, for taking the risk and working hard to make it worth it.

In this case, it seems that the goal of this hard work - to become a viable freelancer - has been driven by the desire for autonomy and to have a genuine love for the work he is doing. I would say that the 'proper' reason as to why one should work hard in school is for personal development, however, students who put in hard work genuinely to improve themselves and their design skills seem to be a rarity.

I feel like the competitive environment in architecture schools leads people to focus on things that in the long run, aren't very important. Working hard to please your tutor, working hard to avoid the shame of presenting unfinished work in studio, working hard to have a solid portfolio when applying for an architecture job. From what I've noticed, the trope of "it's all about connections (and communications)" is all too familiar, and among ambitious students, there is an unspoken competition of who-knows-who, internships, and internships-where?.

Perhaps I am a bit shortsighted. Perhaps it's me who sees a rivalry when I should be focussing on working on myself (again, always something I should remember). When it comes down to it, I'm not sure what makes the exertion and sacrifice associated with architecture schools worth it, or whether there is any 'right' reason for it. I don't know whether the career focus in architecture schools, or at least among students, is healthy (I don't think it is though). The crux of any education should be self-development, but perhaps it's idealistic of me to think that.

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