Today (a day in the life of a newly minted architecture student)

I just handed in my first studio project today and I feel like taking a break from work, so here’s a pictorial ‘day in the life’ as an architecture student.


Window view


This is my view when I wake up in the morning. Usually I have the blinds drawn to prevent people outside from being able to see into my room. I woke up at 7:30 for the frosh week, but now I usually wake up at 8:15 and get up at 8:30.

IMG_9199 (1024x683)My room! This picture was taken right after moving in so there are random plastic bags and stuff. Right now, my room is a veritable mess LOL there are bags all over the floor, my duvet is tangled up, and there are papers everywhere. I severely overestimated the amount of pillows I would need for a twin sized bed. I have a full bed at home, so I brought like 3 pillows and the bolster (sausage pillow hehe). I usually end up throwing them off the bed in the middle of the night because I want space to roll over.

IMG_9196 (1024x683)IMG_9197 (1024x683)Messy desk from the start…

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Upstairs hallway, there’s a rocking chair no one uses. After waking up I blearily go down the stairs to wash up and stuff. I live with another girl and 2 guys and the designated girls washroom is downstairs, so I have to mission down every time I need to use the washroom.

IMG_9205 (1024x683) IMG_9207 (1024x683)Kitchen and dining room. There’s my sad cup noodles on the table haha. I’m actually pretty adept at cooking for myself, I just was craving them so I gave in. For breakfast I either fry an egg, eat a sandwich, or make a yogurt parfait (greek yogurt, berries, and granola).

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Doorway! My classes start at 9:30am, so me and my housemates leave at 9:15. I discovered that there’s a trail leading to the school that’s a lot more picturesque than just walking along the main road a couple of days ago, so I’ve been going this way.IMG_9210 (1024x683)IMG_9211 (1024x683) IMG_9213 (1024x683)


My uni is situated right beside a river, which is nice. The river looks gross and muddy most of the time though, the exception being at night when there are reflections of light on the water.IMG_9214 (1024x683)IMG_9215 (1024x683)You can see the school peeking behind the trees!

Mondays and thursdays are studio days, so we basically work on our main studio projects from 9:30am-5:30pm. Of course in practice, the time is more like 9:30am-11pm haha.

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The studio looks like a tornado went through it right now, which I’m guessing will be the most typical state of the space anyways LOL. Even if we clean up, more projects (and therefore more mess) will just roll on in.

The deadline for our first project was today, and we had a group critique session. I’m not going to get too into what the project was because I’ve already spent enough time thinking about it in the past 2 weeks haha. We basically had to reinterpret an abstract 2D painting as a 3D sculpture, staying true to the original painting. There were 10+ paintings, and we each got one according to our studio groups (so each painting had like 7 people, spread out through the studio.) We brought all of our finished works into the loft and placed them on tables according to the project groupings.

IMG_9235 (1024x683) IMG_9219 (1024x683) IMG_9216 (1024x683)It was really cool seeing how differently people interpreted the same painting!

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After the crits, I went for a club meeting. I was thoroughly exhausted afterwards on the walk home.IMG_9253 (1024x683) IMG_9256 (1024x683)

After I got home, I made dinner and chatted with my housemates. I am now super super tired, and am going to bed. This is like the lowest quality post ever LOOL I’m just really tired. Maybe I’ll fix it later.


-fin- (architecture students don’t get much sleep)

How do you get into Waterloo Architecture?!

waterloo architecture


A few things:

1. I am relatively accessible on the internet

2. Waterloo Architecture is a very competitive program to gain entry into

3. Most people seek to be as prepared as possible when facing high hurdles

4. The fact that I’m in the program is publicly accessible (this is entirely my own fault)

and therefore:

5. Lots of people have been messaging, emailing, and asking me about tips on how to get into the program.


I just finished my first week of actual university (not counting orientation/frosh week) and I have a boatload of work to be doing but these messages remind me of how worked up I was last year. 17 year old Jenny would have appreciated another resource to comb through while applying for uni, so… here.

I don’t think I’m particularly qualified to be giving advice on how to get into the school — yeah, I got in, but only the admissions people know what exactly they’re looking for. There are some things I’ve noticed about the type of people that have been accepted, and there are things I’ve heard upper years etc speculate about, so I guess I’ll share those too? Also I started off this post with list format but I’m still feeling very listy, so listlistlistlist


1. You don’t need to know much about architecture

The profs/dean literally said “we don’t expect you guys to know anything about architecture before coming here” during a lecture or something this week. I still think it would be beneficial to be looking at, reading about, and thinking about architecture beforehand though because they do ask about things like ‘what’s your favourite building?’ etc during the interview. It also makes sense to research a bit because why on earth would you be pursuing architecture if the thought of learning about it turns you off before you even get to university?

Some questions they asked me that weren’t about specific portfolio pieces (not everyone got asked the same questions though):

Why do you want to go to Waterloo?

What’s your favourite building?

What did you think of the precis?

Don’t be afraid of saying “I don’t know”, the panel will know right away if you start bullshitting. Just try your best, and think things through (or as well as you can in such a stressful situation haha) As much as they’ll appreciate an honest “I don’t know”, don’t use it as an excuse. Ignorance isn’t a sin, but you definitely want to avoid apathy.

2. Show them your talent

My classmates are all really talented, and in many different ways! A lot of us play musical instruments (like the piano and erhu in my case) or sing, some people dance, some are athletes.. Most people have experience with visual arts, but there are also people that don’t draw/paint/sketch at all that got in. The people I’ve met here so far are all phenomenal, talented, young people. Bring your instrument to your interview if you play! There’s a piano at the school already as well. I know someone that brought a video of himself dancing, and I also saw someone dance live before my interview. I personally brought my erhu because the likelihood of someone else bringing one as well would be really low LOL

3. It’s not the technique 

Some people get really stressed about if their artwork is good enough technique-wise, and I really don’t think that’s the point at all. It might make you stand out a bit more if you have phenomenal paintings or something, but I don’t think technical ability is what the admissions people are looking for. It’s more about cognitive ability, and the depth of thought you can convey. A shitty artist with a brilliant mind could still come up with great designs, and in this ~technological age~ you can make do with having the computer do some work for you. Artwork with meaning is probably much more interesting than just a pretty picture, and you’d have more to talk about during the interview too.

4. Be passionate

I think it’d be good if you could show them you have real interest in the things you do and like. They probably don’t want to have a class full of dead fish, lolling about to get a degree that’ll hopefully get them jobs. The profs told us that they accepted people through such a rigorous process because they really want to keep the people that they pick. They want students that will stay until the masters program, students that will succeed and be engaged. They want to impart their ‘addiction to architecture’ among us, and so I imagine they pick students that they think will be able to wholeheartedly embrace it.

[Side note: the world is filled with so many different, dazzling, beautiful, despairing things. It'd be such a waste if people didn't go out and experience, love, obsess, enjoy them]


I have to go make dinner, so this will be it for now! Comment if there’s anything else I should add (like the actual interview day process…?)


I hope this helps!


+ Addition (09/17/14)

Q: Also did you post any of the artworks you presented at the interview on your website?

A:Yes, most of the artworks I brought are on my website. Another thing — I didn’t make any pieces to add to my portfolio. I had an abundance of artwork that I knew I could have a conversation about, and I wanted to avoid making tacky drawings of random houses that would obviously look like they’re specifically for the interview. I know people that brought actual architectural drafts as well as other people with random art that got it, so I guess what you bring will depend on your own comfort level.