7 Things You Must Know to Succeed as a Student That Your Lecturer Can’t Teach You!

Andrew F. Kazmierski /

You go to university to learn. Everybody knows that. As a student, increasing your level of intellect week after week is a rewarding feeling. This due to the aptitude of your lecturers and the knowledge they impart to you. Be that as it may, there are numerous bits of invaluable know-how that aren’t in your curriculum. Here are 7 things you must know to succeed as a student. 7. Keep up to date with the industry

LAN don't miss it! Image credit: lenetstanb / shutterstock, modification by Scott Renwick

LAN don’t miss it! Image credit: lenetstanb /, modification by Scott Renwick

Be aware of what’s going on in the world of landscape architecture. Things like projects, news, trends, research, opinions, or topics of concern – the list goes on. Landscape architecture is an industry that’s continually evolving and growing, with so many exciting facets to explore and be well informed about. Keep browsing websites like this! 6. Start networking Be it fellow students, industry professionals, friends of friends, or even the guys in charge of the workshops, you should be making as many social acquaintances in the industry as humanly possible. You never know when you may need a helping hand at university, and getting to know people in the industry may just come in handy when you go searching for work experience. Universities often have organised meet and greets with local professionals, go to them! Learn all about networking with the pros in our feature article 10 Easy Ways for Landscape Architecture Students to Network with Professionals 5. Real world office experience
Real life experience makes all the difference; image credit: Andy Dean Photography /

Real life experience makes all the difference; image credit: Andy Dean Photography /

Your lecturers obviously possess an abundance of knowledge. Regardless, it’s important that at some stage throughout your studies you actually go and see how things are done in the real world. Firms are often happy to take you on; after all, it (usually) isn’t paid. You’ll get a feel for what it’s like to work in a professional environment, start the next semester with a supeme level of knowledge, and put yourself in a great position to be employed as a graduate. 4. AutoCAD and Photoshop won’t make you great designer
Do you agree? - Image credit: jovan vitanovski /, midification by SDR

Do you agree? – Image credit: jovan vitanovski /, midification by SDR

A level of proficiency at AutoCAD and Photoshop is a great resource to have at your disposal, and something you should be aiming for as you progress through your studies. However, upon unearthing the power of these programs, students often implement them too early in the design process, quashing any creative sparks that may have been close to flying. This consociates directing with number 2 below. Keep drawing! 3. Ask stupid questions Asking stupid questions may seem like stupid advice, but it’s not! Forget about how dumb you might feel – if you don’t understand something, stick your hand up. 99% of the time the rest of your classmates will let out a subliminal sigh of relief as they are all wondering the same thing, but too embarrassed to ask. Chances are you’re spending a great deal of money to be at university, so make sure you leave class each day with a new level of intelligence, not confusion. 2. If you can think it, you can draw it It may take some time to succumb to this notion, but it’s true. As designers, putting pen to paper and visualising ideas quickly and effectively is essential. If you weren’t adept at hand drawing when you started university, chances are that unless you keep practicing, nothing much will change. Just sketch stuff, it doesn’t have to be pretty! Make the skill of representing ideas on paper second nature.
Image credit:  Nick Tuttle / Sketchy Saturday entry

Image credit: Nick Tuttle / Sketchy Saturday entry

See more excellent examples of free-hand drawing in our Sketchy Saturday Top 10 1. Discover your own study/social life balance All student landscape architects know how time consuming and intensive university can be. Despite the high workload, it’s important to maintain some form of social life while studying! I know, sometimes ditching all that drawing to go out with friends on a Saturday night simply isn’t an option. But more often than not, the time you spend procrastinating in front of your desk is better spent just enjoying yourself. Just don’t overdo it. You’ll come back to your work feeling less stressed and with improved cognizance. Being a student can be great fun, but at times it can seem arduous. The aforementioned tips are designed to make your life just that bit easier throughout the semester. Admittedly, I’m sure there are many more, these being the ones I’ve found resonate strongly. I hope they help! Article written by Paul McAtomney. Featured image:  Tyler Olson /

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