2018 THE VIRGINIA ARCHITECTURE MAGAZINE

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THE LIFE OF A "TAS"

April 13, 2016

 

Being an architecture student means pulling all-nighters, sleeping under (or on) your studio desk, and eating only food that can be delivered at two a.m. directly to Campbell Hall. Or at least that’s what everyone seems to think.

 

There is a stigma that defines the “typical architecture student” (TAS), and it is not healthy or sustainable. To many people, a TAS lives in the architecture school, sleeping small amounts in studio so that they may spend more hours working harder than any other student and getting more work done. The basis of this stigma is that the more time I spend working, the better my work will be, but in reality it is just a vicious cycle of unproductivity. In my own experience, first year students are the most likely to strive toward being the TAS.

 

Between the newfound freedom of being able to stay in studio (and out of their rooms) until the wee hours of the night, the responsibility of managing your own schedule, and the inevitable learning curve of the type of work expected in architecture school, it can be difficult to avoid the stigma. I found myself in Campbell Hall after midnight more times that I’d care to admit my first year, and even into my second year. All-nighters didn’t seem like a big deal my first year – it felt like I was earning my status as an architecture student by spending the whole night working. While it was not a regular occurrence, I was pulling an all-nighter at least twice a semester, even into my second year. It was only after staying awake for 60 straight hours to finish a project that I realized this was not sustainable. And I have not pulled a single all-nighter in the three semesters since.

 

UVA students were hard workers in high school. That’s how you got into this school, and I am sure that many people will admit to getting less than the recommended eight hours of sleep even in high school. This lack of sleep seems to often be exacerbated in college; suddenly people start to consider four hours as an acceptable minimum. The idea that working hard means not sleeping enough is detrimental.

 

Students find that Campbell Hall can be a black hole for working after nine p.m. You go in thinking you just “need to finish this model, it shouldn’t take more than an hour,” and then find yourself still there after midnight. It is easy to get caught up in the cycle of staying up late working, not getting enough sleep, and then doing it all over again, day after day.

 

Try to break the routine.

 

As a student who is very much not a morning person, I can still attest to the value of getting up early to get work done. It’s like magic. Going into studio at eight a.m. seems like a drag, but when you have eight hours of sleep under your belt and no one in studio to distract you, your productivity really will multiply. I promise.

 

Do your work a favor and get more sleep.

 

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