Architecture students balance immense workload with social life

Whether it's battling deadlines, fatigue, printers or professors, sophomore architecture majors Alexa Russo and Ashwini Karve find UB's School of Architecture both a challenge and a triumph.

The architecture school promotes diversity, collaboration between disciplines and exploration of the architectural masterpieces in the Queen City, according to its website. The program boasts internationally renowned faculty whose groundbreaking research and guidance has attracted students like Karve.

She originally wanted to study art, but her family told her that she couldn't just major in art alone. Architecture happened to be a great mixture of Karve's interests in art, building and math.

Because it "fit the criteria," Karve decided to apply to UB's program. Now she loves it. For her, the greatest aspect of architecture is the moment of success you feel after finishing a project and having all the criteria in it. Karve thinks UB's School of Architecture is a great program in part because of the city.

"There is a lot of history in the City of Buffalo and I feel like the program simply would not be the same in another college," Karve said.

Russo had always enjoyed designing and thought architecture seemed like a good fit. She was more calculating in her decision to apply to UB's program.

"After all my research on the best accredited schools of architecture, UB was in the top 10 in the country," Russo said.

For Russo, the best part of being in the program is the chance she is given to design whatever she wants. She likes the fact that she can create something for school that is generated from her own ideas.

Both students were accepted to the program last year as freshmen. They admit they do face challenges in the rigorous discipline.

Russo wishes she had more of a background with the computer programs that architecture students are required to use. During her freshmen year, she struggled to use Adobe Suite, AutoCAD and Rhino, programs which are integral to her major.

This is not the only technology-oriented problem Russo has had with her major. The printers can be temperamental, a big annoyance when students are working on large projects.

While Russo struggles with the technology side of architecture, Karve sometimes gets flustered with the crafty aspects of architecture. There have been times when Karve has spent "ages" working on a drawing or a model, only to be told by her professor to re-do everything because it's "all wrong."

Regardless of the machinery mishaps and crafted re-dos, Russo and Karve are thankful for their decision to become a part of the program. Karve explained that it is a lot of work, but she thinks it is feasible if students stay attentive and plan out their work accordingly.

Students over the age of 17 need between seven and nine hours of sleep per night, according to the Sleep Foundation.

"I tend to sleep about 5 to 6 hours a night and I've been fine with that," Russo said.

She said that the occasional eight hours of rest is nice, but it's not a big difference if she doesn't get that many. Russo explained that a lot of students have trouble with their sleep schedules, but it's not because of the amount of work that they have.

A lot of students pull all-nighters because of time-management issues, according to Russo. She said that while she's always busy with work, she thinks that if you are successful at managing your time, then you will be able to get all your work done.

"I have never pulled an all-nighter because I don't believe in them," Russo said.

She believes schoolwork should never be put ahead of one's health.

On the other hand, Karve has pulled all-nighters before and knows many students who do the same. She says that if she were to go to sleep, then she would waste more time getting up and getting ready to work again. She thinks some students have the same reasoning as her, but she also notes that some students stay up because they have too much work they need to finish.

"Personally, [I] don't have as much time as I would like to have," Karve said.

She explained that this is because she sometimes likes to procrastinate and she also loses her "focus" a lot.

After getting into the swing of architecture, both Russo and Karve have found time to participate in extracurricular activities. Russo is involved with a boxing club on campus and, so far, there haven't been any issues with time conflicts. The UB boxing club allows members to go whenever they wish to leave, according to Russo. She explained that the practices are every day, but because of the flexibility of the schedule, she can leave if she has too much architecture work.

Karve has gotten involved with Alpha Rho Chi, a professional fraternity. Though she's very involved with the fraternity, she said she has plenty of time in her schedule to do other activities, too.

Regardless of the stress and amount of work they receive, Russo and Karve have managed to tackle sleep deprivation, loads of work and countless numbers of projects.