Feb 6th, 2016

R.J. – Architecture Student

R.J. Harris

The first week of Summer Op is the hardest. 


You’re worried about Summer Op all fall and spring but it seems like it’s so far away. Then you blink… 


Suddenly it’s the end of May and you’re in Dudley at 9 AM waiting to meet your new professors. Everyone circles up and introduces themselves. The professors spend some time talking about the rules and what to expect. Finally, they give you a list of a bunch of stuff to get and send you out on your lunch break.


You get back with all your new pencils, triangles, rulers, and drafting dots, pick your desk, and get your first assignment. We were each given a stack of papers with folding lines on them and told to have them done by morning.


You spend the next 4 days building off of that first assignment sheet. You spend 5 am to midnight folding and cutting and gluing and you might not want to be an architect anymore. It gets better, I promise.


At the end of the week, you get your first big project to do over the weekend. Ours was a wall.


If you can push through the first week, you can handle anything else that comes along.


I’m just going to end here with a few pieces of advice…


  • Understand that you’re not the only person as tired and frustrated as you are. No 18–20-year-old is used to working 18 hours a day. Realize that there will be a (probably miserable) adjustment period. You’ll get used to it more and more every week.
  • Don’t freak out over one bad ranking. My wall fell apart the day it was due and I came in the bottom 10 people.
  • You’re probably going to want to quit at least a few times.  
  • Slow down on the weekends. Sleep until 8 or 9 and get outside. Go swimming or something.
  • Don’t mess with Sketchup. Literally every person who tried to use it got cut because they never finished anything.
  • Buy a real cutting mat as soon as possible. They’re easier to cut on and your blades will last twice as long.
  • 1-ply Museum board is like $10 per sheet. Use as much of each sheet as you can.
  • Make sure there are plenty of Band-Aids in studio. Everybody gets cut eventually.
  • The urgent care across from the hospital in Opelika is open until midnight.
  • Tea has the caffeine content of coffee without the crash.
  • Shot gunning Redbull at 6 in the morning isn’t going get you anywhere you want to be.