The life of an Architecture student is not at all easy. You have to sacrifice a great deal of time that should've been spent for sleeping and eating. You have to exert effort more than just mentally. You have to use both your hands and eyes and you have to be so sure of what you are doing. Aside from that, you have to have a constant source of money enough for you to buy tracing papers, tech pens, drafting table, rendering materials, etc.
Personally, there are a few things that I would like to share to whoever gets to read this. These were the realizations I've drawn out based on those experiences I've had as an architecture student. Here they go:
First is that you have to love architecture right from the moment you enter its world. Without passion, you might just fall down somewhere along the way just when you find out that it's too late to go back. College is the most crucial stage of learning because this is when you get to choose your own profession that you would live by for the rest of your life. So when you choose, make sure you love it or that you'll learn to love it because time is short for re-picking another one. By the way, the only motivation I had to pursue the course was to make my parents prouder because I had been living my life with their expectations. So far, I haven't failed them and I was determined enough to make them prouder. I also wanted to graduate on time so I ignored any thoughts of shifting to another course because it would cost me another semester or even a whole year. So there, I really really tried to love my course. I eventually learned to.
Second is that in architecture, you don't have to acquire the best drawing and rendering skills though getting hold of one would be a plus. I started the course with a noob drawing skill. And of course, there will always be some people among your batch that are way better than anybody else but don't let that fact intimidate nor discourage you. At first you might feel like you aren't good enough for Architecture like what I felt, but I found something to fight it. It's actually very easy to fight when you're determined enough. Just make them your models, or your reference points. Maybe you could set a personal goal such as to be as good as them. I had always lived on that. I had always believed, too, that every college student has a skill on everything. So if you think you aren't good in architecture, think again. Even writing is a skill, and drawing a line, too. These can be your starting points. That is why learning architecture is programmed to last five years-because it is a constant honing of skills until you become a pro.
Third, you don't have to be good at everything. OK, you will be required to study almost every field including mathematics, physics, speech, writing, research and a lot more but that's just actually to make you a well-rounded individual. In architecture, you have to know a bit of everything because you will touch every aspect there is in life along with your planning and conceptualizing. Just a bit will do. And then, you'll just have to specialize. I had been exposed to a lot of group work before and based on experience, specialization yields the best result. Usually my task was to plan the entire structure or complex. And my groupmate would draft the necessary drawings. Another would put the labels, and another would render. Aside from the better output, you'll also save time and effort.
Fourth, experimenting in architecture provided that you still follow the set rules (i.e. building code, fire code, etc.) is always a friend. Be it in your design or the way you render, experimenting usually yields newer and better ideas and techniques. What pulled me up maybe was my tendency to experiment on things. Honestly, I am a very lazy and impatient person; I usually try to figure things first before reading the instructions/manuals. So, what I always do is try. If the outcome looks good, then I did it correctly, or at least appropriately. If it's not, then I go look for the manual. Same goes with how I draft and render. Sure we were told how to draft or render the right way but I had always been so forgetful. So I do things by my own. Every time I do that, I would always hope that I was doing the right thing because as soon as I find out that I messed it up and that I could never fix it back no matter what I'd do, I would usually pull off another piece of paper and start doing it all over again (I forgot to tell you that I have a bit of OCD). Sometimes though, I tend to stick on my experiments that I find helpful and safe such as certain strokes or techniques in rendering to make my work neat. Mind you, my professors never said a thing against my works (generally); in fact I had always received nice grades.
Fifth, you have to learn to socialize. OK, this one might just be applicable to people like me. I had always been the reserved one. I might even be the last person in a boarding house who could make friends. Not that I'm not friendly, it's just that it's too hard for me to socialize because I am afraid of rejection because I am not a good talker. And honestly, I'd be contented with a life where I will just be sitting around a corner, doing something by my own, probably reading, while all else are busily chatting and laughing. That was me before high school ended because I promised myself to try to befriend my classmates in college before the first month ends. And yes, I managed to keep that promise. I first made friends with a few classmates, and soon my whole architecture batch became one whole group where we treat everyone like brothers and sisters. Having friends, believe me, will help you more than you know.
Lastly, do not overstress yourself with too much work. Architecture is a course where you have to invest every sense you have from seeing to running (this applies when you're late because you'd slept too late the other night), but you have to balance it off with fun. If you can't find one when you're doing your plates, then it's time to make it such as planning a weekend-ly unwinding moments with your friends (see, it's good to have friends!). Just make sure you do not overdo it.
There are actually still a lot more things in my mind right now. There are a lot of things you have to know about architecture life. But the things I mentioned above probably are the most basic among them. Every architecture student had probably undergone those things, too.