Myths and Memories: My Life as an Architecture Major



Alyana Acacio

University of California, Berkeley graduate class of 2017

Like many of you, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to major in when I was applying to universities. I was barely 18, and it was a lot of pressure to decide what I was going to be studying for the next four years. I grew up with a passion for the arts but I also enjoyed technical subjects such as maths. I knew I wanted to pursue a career that combined art, science, math and business. After researching more about college majors at the start of my senior year (later than my high school peers), I realized that architecture would be a good fit for me. Here are some myths about being an architecture major you’ve probably heard of. Find out if they’re true!

UCB university Myths and Memories

Myth # 1: You Need to Know How to Draw

Thirty years ago, this might have been a reality. However, while drawing is definitely an advantageous skill, technology has opened up new modes to communicate your ideas. Creativity and problem solving skills are more essential than drawing ability so don’t be intimidated if you don’t identify as a master drafter.

Myth # 2: All Your Classes Will Be About Architecture

I had the privilege of choosing between two top tier architectural programs - UC Berkeley and University of Notre Dame. The main difference between the two were, besides being in California and Indiana, UC Berkeley’s program was B.A. while Notre Dame’s was B.S. This meant that the degree would have taken five years in Notre Dame. I chose Berkeley because I wanted a more holistic education. The program allowed me to pursue many electives, such as Hinduism and Global Poverty, which I greatly appreciated.

Myth # 3: You’ll Spend All Your Time In Studio

Yes and No. The beauty about college is you have the freedom to decide how to spend your time. While architecture majors get stereotyped to be studio cavemen, we definitely like to have fun as well. Personally, I enjoyed the studio scene - it was a collaborative environment of curious and creative individuals. Also, the studio set-up prepared me with the real-life dynamics of an office environment.

Myth # 4: There are No Jobs in Architecture

I’ll be honest - after graduating, I was half-frustrated half-jealous that my Computer Science peers were getting offers left and right. I remember thinking that designing apps pays more than designing buildings. However, after applying to a few firms, I also got a few job offers in the Bay Area. As an international student without US work authorization besides the OPT, I had to work extra hard to impress employers into hiring me.

Myth # 5: You Have to Be An Architect After College

Architecture equips you with a lot of valuable skills - problem solving, critical thinking and creativity. These are highly applicable skills that are transferable and employable. After working with a few architectural firms, I found that I enjoy architectural writing and am now pursuing it as a quasi full-time career.

If you’re still struggling choosing a major or are undecided whether architecture is right for you, I suggest talking to a college counselor. Bouncing off ideas can help you find which path is best for you!