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We Get Letters....from India
by Katy Purviance on 05/26/11 @ 11:41:26 am
Categories: Grad School | 1224 words | 3754 views

Hi Kathryn,

My name is Sudeep and I am a 19 yr old guy studying architecture in India. After taking admission in architecture school I flunked in my first year itself. And I failed in only one subject i.e. Design. Now after repeating my first year with Design and I am sure that I will pass this time, my college session is over and I am getting summer vacation for around one and a half months.

So this one year is kinda changed my life. The reason for flunking according to me was I think its because of my laziness in doing manual and practical work, but also few others say that i could have been passed by my faculty with whom only I discussed for the whole time in my final design project.

So considering its because of all my fault, I repeated the year again and after the external jury its over now. Waiting for external marks. But I will pass surely now. The thing is that its not like I don’t like architecture. I like it. I like Design a lot. But its just that I hate myself and my life I don’t know how to handle my future and how to study hard and complete remaining four years successfully.

I don’t know if I want to become architect or not but I do want to study architecture. may be I want to go into graphic designing thing but I am all confused because of my life and my failure. It’s very hard to explain.

I am thinking of improving my skills like sketching and observing and also learning softwares like photoshop, revit, sketchup and rhino during these holidays. Can you please recommend me on how to utilize these holidays as I think I couldn’t utilize my this one year of repeating to the fullest. I hope I am not disturbing you or bugging you with this long sad and boring story of mine.

Thanking you.

Hi Sudeep,

Thank you for writing and telling me your story.

Architecture school is very hard. It was my experience that sometimes professors are very unreasonable with what they ask you to do. Some schools force you to take too many classes at once, the result being that you never have enough time (or enough sleep) to do anything well.

I’m glad you are continuing in architecture despite failing your first year. It reminds me of my chemistry professor who failed first year chemistry three times! …but still didn’t give up!

When trying to decide the best way to spend your holiday, it’s a good idea to focus on the main reason why you failed design.

If you think part of the reason why you struggled in design is because you’re software skills were not strong, then yes, spend part of your holiday learning the software.

But you say you failed because you were lazy. What if you picked one of your assignments and spent several hours a day redoing it? If you force yourself to spend a lot of time every day focusing on a particular problem, you will actually change the anatomy of your brain. You will teach your self how to become a harder worker.

I just read this great article about working hard to achieve your goals:

I’ll also tell you about when I had to take calculus in college. I was scared I was going to fail because I had never taken any calculus before and my friends were telling me that I would fail. So I studied calculus for four hours every single day. I ended up getting the highest grade in the class.

I wish you all the best Sudeep!


Hi Katy,

Thanks for writing me back and I am glad you wrote me. I was waiting for your reply. And thanks for the article too.

I am definitely going to improve my software skills. I want to focus on rendering and presentation skills. But in my college we are not allowed to use Softwares. Handwork is more emphasized. Even in second year the professors of one section forced my friends to do Hand-Drafting in Design. And I thought that may be laziness (not actually laziness but not liking drafting and not feeling to do work because of the rotten environment of my hostel) was one of the reasons of my flunking. Also I study in India’s one the best architecture college, but it’s not best now… it used to be and it’s getting degraded.

The main problem is infrastructure along with other things as permanent faculties and other stuff. My hostel is 10km away from my hostel. And in hostel there are not enough rooms for us. Only around 15 guys got room after they passed first year and that to only top 15 scoring guys. And other 30 guys were flunked because they had low attendance. So we 60 guys were left to live in 5 rooms and that to unofficially.

Getting rooms outside is not affordable and plus food problem and during group work you have to come back to hostel. So I have to live with one or two more guys in small room which is meant for single person. Because of these problems many students, almost all by the way, they are just studying architecture for getting higher marks and for attendance which is according to me very wrong.

Anyways I am searching and downloading some videos and tutorials from net to learn softwares. Thanks Once again for writing me back and helping me. And sorry to bore you with my long stories.


Hi Sudeep,

It is interesting how different our schools are. When I was preparing to apply to graduate school, our professors told us that “nobody” teaches hand drawing anymore, and that we had to learn software. I had already taught myself SketchUp, and they were trying to teach us Archicad, which I thought was overly complicated. I had also taken a class in 3D Studio Max.

When I got to Harvard, we did have a hand drawing class in the first semester. It was my favorite class there, taught by my favorite professor there. I felt like I learned a lot. They say 90% of drawing is seeing, and when you draw by hand, you are forced to really see things. You get no such benefit when you use software.

However, while I was there, they fired our drawing professor because they said that knowing how to draw by hand was no longer “useful.” My classmates and I were shocked. We vehemently disagreed; we though hand drawing was very useful. By drawing with your hand, you actually develop your brain more. You get better at seeing your ideas in 3D. I kind of hate using software. I feel like I’m not “seeing” my design as well as I do when I do a lot of drawings by hand. On the screen, everything just seems cold and flat and lifeless.

I am proud of your commitment to architecture to live so far away from school, in crowded conditions, and to still persist. I wish I had good advice for you. I hope you at least derive satisfaction from knowing that you will have hand drawing skills that far exceed any of your American

All the best,

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