Dealing with Rejection as Architecture Students
Rejection is not uncommon in all stages of life. But as an architecture student, it can be quite difficult to deal with at times. If you’re putting in a lot of effort, long hours, and hard work only to get rejected it can feel really frustrating and upsetting. Sometimes your drawings and designs could get rejected at a crucial stage or perhaps you might face rejection when applying for jobs. But there is a way to acknowledge and understand where the rejection is coming from and turn that into a positive action.
It’s no news that we are constantly working through iterations of our designs throughout the year. This is so that we can keep building and developing the projects until they reach an acceptable stage. Now, you need to understand that your tutors may have a different idea of acceptable than yourself. After all, it is your own work and you will have been working on it for months whereas your tutors will be seeing how the project evolves each week.
You could face some kind of rejection at any stage although the worst times by no doubt are closer to the deadline. This could take the form of your tutors not liking an aspect of the design rather than the entire thing. But remember when dealing with tutors that you need to take everything they say with a pinch of salt. They are there to help you via their own experience and advice, but it doesn’t mean they’re always right. Take other opinions, review the project yourself and come to a conclusion that can also act as a compromise between yourself and your tutors.
Doing repetitive revision is just a part of studying architecture, no matter which year you’re in. Think of it this way, by completing these iterations, you’re figuring out what worked or didn’t work in the first place as well as storing it in the back of your mind for next time so that you can design better in the future. When you have crits and presentations, it can be daunting and difficult to present your design to someone who’s never seen it before. If you don’t do this well, they might point out flaws that you’ve already solved.
However, if you do this correctly, their insight could come shaped as rejection, but after a while you might even understand why they picked up on something. Give things time and don’t face rejection with a negative reaction. Remember that there is a difference between criticism and rejection and unless there is an extremely good reason for something rejecting your work, you should definitely question it to understand better. There can also be different kinds of criticisms, harsh or constructive. If you get faced with a tutor who may not like your work out of personal preferences, try not to pay them any attention. But do write everything down so that you can go back to it at a later time and possibly try and understand or identify with the things they said.
Cooling off after being rejected is important. It can sometimes make us angry and annoyed causing us to do things in retaliation which isn’t great for the long run. If you write down your tutor’s comments then come back to it the next day, you could begin to understand why they said what they did. Don’t stop there either, take the time out to talk to them about it and ask what you can do to better. If the notes still don’t agree with you, perhaps they can spark off something new that you can work on instead.
Channelling something negative into a positive action is one of the best things you can do if faced with rejection. Try a new approach, an alternative method or even a different means of presenting your design. But this doesn’t always work in every case, especially if you don’t get an adequate reason for being rejected. For example, some firms may be too busy to reply back to you on why your application is unsuccessful. Don’t take this to heart, it happens to everyone. If you were really determined to work at this specific firm, try emailing them again asking politely if they could provide some feedback. Do the same if you gave an interview or got through to a second round of sorts but were still unsuccessful.
Have a look at this article by Gary Vee, who says rejection is the best thing that happened to him. If you treat it as a momentum force that will just drive you to grow and do better, you can achieve anything.
Rejection is unavoidable and inevitable, in architecture and in life. But it helps us grow and be tougher for the future. If you’re struggling with anything, be sure to know that :scale is here to help you out. We’ve given our Discord server a major update, introducing new channels catered for you. From advice about employment to virtual crits, there’s everything you might need. And be sure to look out for new resources in the coming weeks. Good luck!