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architecture career - advice/opinions

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I've been utterly confused as of late. I am 19, currently attending Drexel University in Philadelphia; I'm a business major, and right now I'm interning at Merck. I don't really know if I'm choosing the right career path, and I've been seriously considering Architecture lately. Business can just be so damn uncreative...it's hard to really throw myself into it.

I'm great at math, I like engineering, and I love design, so I think architecture makes sense. I've always had a fascination with it...I just can't tell for sure if it's a passion. It's always been on my top-3 list of things i want to do. Unfortunately, I won't be able to complete the degree until I'm 26! :blink:

As you guys are the brightest, most logical thinkers I know, I'd like to get your opinion/advice on architecture, as a career. Yes, I do indeed know that it's really not like The Fountainhead. But seriously here, what's the scene like out there? Any architects/designers/contractors/engineers on here to comment? I mean, if i stick w/ a business degree and really work at it, by the time I'm thirty I'll be making twice an architect's salary...but maybe, having only half the fun.

i'd really appreciate some input. thanks! B)

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I would find a local architect or three to talk to, and I would put forth the very same questions. I'm sure you can find one who might be overjoyed by the idea of trading lunch for a sit down to chat. You might even find another who was inspired by The Fountainhead.

People like to brag about successes or vent about their profession, and so much the more if they think they're doing you a favor or earning a lunch on the value of their opinions alone. This could also put you in a very good position if you do pursue architecture; there's little doubt as to where you could first ask about interning or working once you get your degree.

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McGroarty has a great idea. No one but an architect will be able to tell you about being an architect.

Additionally, were I you, I would try to think about what made me go for the business degree in the first place. What was it about business that appealed to you orginally? If you can mentally lay out the positives in both professions, that should help you decide.

d_s

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The ultimate purpose in one's life is happiness. A central purpose in life is the main way to get there. It is basically a career, for most people. It is what productive thing you do throughout your life that gives your life meaning, in a great measure.

(The two other main purposes in life that contribute to happiness are friendships and leisure activities that allow us to "recreate." That is, recreation is what we do easily with fairly quick satisfaction as refueling rather than consuming fuel, and therefore prepares us for returning to our central purpose refreshed.)

What are the criteria for objectively choosing a central purpose in life? (To be objective means to have ideas drawn logically from the facts of reality.) The following are the ones I learned -- finally.

1. A CPL should be ambitious but achievable. That is, it would be masochism to choose a career in which one did not have the probability of success. Note: probability, not either mere possibility or guaranteed success. It would be madness for a person like me, of average intelligence, to go into nuclear physics. Likewise a genius who settled for a routine job would be throwing away his life.

2. A CPL should be something you love, not merely like, if you have the choice. (In some societies people must survive by doing anything.) Proof of love is willingness to put up with the crud -- the boring moments, the frustration, the agonizing -- that comes at one point or another (sometimes frequently) in every career, especially careers tied closely to other people. Keep in mind too that most careers pay off the longer you stay in them. The first years are usually the worst.

3. It should either pay your way through life, even if at a low level of income, or it should be something you would love enough to do even if you had to work a "day job" to support yourself while you do your beloved work on the side. The best choice is to select the work you love, first, and then once you are in that field figure out how to make the most money doing what you love to do. Don't reverse the priorities.

How do you know what you love? The heart beat test works for all but the most repressed people. Does the idea of doing X for 40 years make your heart beat fastest? If so, then you know that your current values point in that direction. Whether those values are objective (logically based on facts) is another issue.

That's enough general principles for now.

You said you are considering architecture. Why? Is it the art side of architecture or the utilitarian side that attracts you? Or both? Answering might lead you in the right direction: fine art or civil engineering -- or architecture, which combines the two.

Here is another viewpoint to think about: Is it the field that you love or a particular job in the field? For example, some people who love railroading are quite pleased working in an office in a railway company, as long as they get to see and hear the trains roll by -- because they know they can't be a locomotive engineer for a lifetime.

Specifically is it the general idea of constructing new buildings or is it the idea of designing the structures themselves? In the field of architecture, there are many types of work: accountants, software developers, business managers, insurance specialists, civil engineers, and architects as designers of parts of or whole buildings.

Questions?

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The ultimate purpose in one's life is happiness. A central purpose in life is the main way to get there. It is basically a career, for most people. It is what productive thing you do throughout your life that gives your life meaning, in a great measure.

<snip>

What a great post! Thanks.

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Guest Kien
I've been utterly confused as of late.  I am 19, currently attending Drexel University in Philadelphia; I'm a business major, and right now I'm interning at Merck.  I don't really know if I'm choosing the right career path, and I've been seriously considering Architecture lately.  Business can just be so damn uncreative...it's hard to really throw myself into it.

I'm great at math, I like engineering, and I love design, so I think architecture makes sense.  I've always had a fascination with it...I just can't tell for sure if it's a passion.  It's always been on my top-3 list of things i want to do.  Unfortunately, I won't be able to complete the degree until I'm 26!  :D

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I remember being 19 just like yesterday...second yr in Arch school..eating, breathing, and (what little of it )sleeping Architecture...it was my best year of the 5 year-program...I had great classmates and one influencial teacher. After internship, passing the 5 day license-exam and working for other architects I am now in my 40's with my own office: I have no regrets. Architecture has sustained me in so many ways than I have time to list. But that is because it's a passion borned from my nature and reactions to my childhood experiences.

The passion, while it has sustained me mentally and physically, is still being tested everyday in practice. When I first started out on my own I shared rent space with another architect I had met from a previous office. One day we were talking about the lottery and what each of us would do with the money. While I said I'd take the money and expand my office and move it to NYC to get better work, he argued that I am one of those crazy architects....he would "screw architecture and play golf". Within a month, I asked him to leave.

Architecture as a career? NO!

Architecture as a profession? Better.

Architecture as a passion/a discipline? YES.

You mentioned that you can't be sure if it's a passion...only you can determine that. No chef would be unsure of his passsion for food and no man should be unsure of his passion for the woman he's going to marry.

I highly recommend: " Architect:A candid guide to the Profession" by Roger K. Lewis available from Amazon.

Hopefully the book will answer most of your questions.

Kien

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Architecture as a career? NO!

Architecture as a profession? Better.

Architecture as a passion/a discipline? YES.

You mentioned that you can't be sure if it's a passion...only you can determine that. No chef would be  unsure of his passsion for food and no man should be unsure of his passion for the woman he's going to marry.

Kien

That is a fantastic quote and (obviously) applies to all professions.

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Thanks Burgess for that awesome post. I know most of us in our college years have difficulties finding a career that would fit our passions. Personally, I have two career goals, one for my post-college years to vested retirement and another after (law enforcement/police officer, then teaching at the university level). Both will pay enough to sustain my standard of living and I have a passion for both.

Through my parents' friends I can tell who dislikes their jobs and who enjoys them. Generally, those that enjoy their jobs are more fulfilled, relaxed individuals. Some, like my uncle, only work their jobs (in his case a high-level accountant) to live in what is percieved to be luxury while he's missing out on his children.

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Thanks to all who responded to my questions. Although I haven't made a definite decision on the matter yet (internship has had me busy!), your advice has helped provide me with a better foundation to address the issues.

I'm really racing to actualize myself and my goals as fast as possible, but time just ticks away so fast.. :) i'll figure it out though.

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Thanks to all who responded to my questions.  Although I haven't made a definite decision on the matter yet (internship has had me busy!), your advice has helped provide me with a better foundation to address the issues.

I'm really racing to actualize myself and my goals as fast as possible, but time just ticks away so fast..  :) i'll figure it out though.

Hey Brian, I am in the process of transfering into the Architecture Program at Drexel. I had read this thread of yours a while ago, but completely forgot about it. It would be awsome if you were able to transfer in too.

My decision to transfer is only 2 weeks old!

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