Architecture · College · Flashback Friday

Flashback Friday 4: Break Before College

Hello, everybody! Welcome back to Broken Bricks.

This Friday I’ll be talking about break year after school, or before starting college. There are some people, regardless their field, prefer to take a semester’s or a year’s break on finishing school. Some do it to have a little fun before climbing back on the educational bandwagon, some do it to find more about themselves or gain some experience.

The first question is, if pulling this stunt is wise? 
YES. Undoubtedly, and absolutely. What many people fail to gather about a break year is that it can be very informative, and a great learning experience for you, should you choose to utilise it properly. And learning through books or theoretically involving yourself isn’t the only way to go. There a lot of things that you can do without a degree. If architecture is what you strongly wish to pursue, there a lot of firm all across India and the rest of the world that will have no qualms in letting you only watch and learn, or even let you do odd jobs for no or minimal income where you can learn something.

In the case where you’re unsure about architecture, but are completely certain that you’d prefer to work in a design field, then you can break your year up working at different places like an architecture firm, or interior designers, graphic designers, painters, fashion designers, furniture designers, so on and forth.
And as essential it is to get a hands on experience, it’s also essential to read books, or at the very least articles regarding the field you’re interning or aiming for.

The second question, what if architecture, or design field isn’t what interests you?
No problem. At least, there are a bunch of things you have can strike out of your job option list. But, keep an open eye! There must have been something in those odd jobs that might have caught your notice, like construction rather than designing, furniture or textile, or maybe the financial or legal part of things. And like I said, be in touch with what’s going on in the world. There’s always a calling for everyone.

The third question, now what that you’ve taken a break and figured what you’ve wanted to do?
Go ahead with colleges, make approaches, and keep close contacts to concerned people in the field. I don’t mean that in a condescending use-them type of way, but there’s always something new you can learn from everyone. Bear that in mind.

The fourth question, is taking a break year a problem while seeking admission in colleges?
No. Colleges don’t care about that and neither do entrance examinations. In the rare case, where an interview is required to clear admission process, you’ll have the least to worry. You have a résumé at your hand that explains what you’ve been up to for a year, that gives you an edge over other candidates. Believe me, no college does not ever prefer a student who has had some hands-on experience.

The fifth question, do many people do it?
Unfortunately, that’s not a statistics that has been paid much attention. In architecture, I have happened to come across just one person who took a break year, working at various places before applying for college.

Some people solely can’t do the same due to parental pressure. Trust me, no one in their right mind is going to think any less of you or think you’d failed a year in school or didn’t pass your entrances for taking a break year. It’s your work and will be your career. Do what feels right for you to be able to learn more and progress.
Almost every architect attains a few years of work experience between their bachelors and masters, it’s a good option to do the same between your school degree and undergraduate.

As for books that can help you give a better idea about architecture, and something you can very easily comprehend even if you’re not an architect are the following:

  • 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School, by Matthew Fredrick
  • An Imperial Vision, by Thomas R. Metcalf
  • Towards a New Architecture, by Le Corbusier
  • The World’s Greatest Buildings, by Ruth Greenstein
  • Architectural Digest Magazines
  • A Visual Dictionary of Architecture, by Francis D.K. Ching
  • Architecture-Form, Space & Order, by Francis D.K. Ching

This is all for this week. In case, you need a soft copy of any of the above mentioned books, leave me a comment with your email address, or mail me at

a copy


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