1st year BLA student second guessing choice in Landscape Arch

Landscape Architecture for Landscape Architects Forums GENERAL DISCUSSION 1st year BLA student second guessing choice in Landscape Arch

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    No offense to anyone here, but it has occurred to me lately that probably about 15% of the average graduating class in Landscape Architecture should and will go on to practice professionally. In other words, I think a lot of academic programs out there tend to sell the profession to prospective students as something it’s not, hence some of the discussions that tend to come up here. My reasoning is that, without even looking at a portfolio, if you are a student in Landscape Architecture and you are even considering a career in civil engineering, planning, environmental engineering, accounting, geology, etc, etc…this profession is more than likely not going to be a great fit for you, solely based on the fact that youre heart is not into every aspect of it 110%. To your point, I think its safe to say that if someone is not passionate about their craft, theyre not going to be very good at it either. I dont defend the profession anymore and I dont defend myself. I let my skill, be it good or bad, speak for itself. The way I look at it, if an architect or engineer doesnt want to hire me for whatever reason, it’s their loss. Thats quiet confidence I’m learning to build in myself through proven experience and outcomes, not something someone told me in school or a t-shirt I bought online. My experiences over the last 6-12 months in the profession have been extremely positive because I stuck with the profession out of passion through the Great Recession and learned a few things, including how to live lean, and the fact that no one worth their salt cares about your title, but what you can do for them today. A lot of the projects I have been working on are not glamorous, but I dont need to work on those projects to feel good about myself and the world. Perhaps one day I will. What has made me most happy has been rediscovering the reasons I went back to school to pursue a degree in LA in the first place–the fact that I absolutely love design, the craft of design, and business.

    Andrew Garulay, RLA

    That is a great post Nick. …. and exactly the root of me not understanding how the motivation of working for a state transportation department is enough passion to get through it all.


    Passion, Patience, and Persistance is the only way to get to Perseverance in the Profession.  I think I just spit all over my monitors sounding like Sylvester the cat.


    I like this reply.

    Kevin Reff


    I guess it depends on your goals in life. If you want to make more money and have potentially more job options, I’d say go with engineering (assuming you can handle the math). If crunching numbers isn’t your thing and creativity is, then studying to be an LA could be a potential option.

    You can succeed at both, however engineering generally pays better. At this time, most of the country is recovering from the recession and like all design professionals, civil engineers and landscape architects are having problems finding work. On a side note, there are many branches of engineering and once you are registered, it is possible to switch to other types of engineering, which open up other avenues for employment.

    I have a very smart son, who definitely has an engineer type personality. I would not encourage him to choose a profession in design, whether it be engineer, architect or landscape architect. I am encouraging him to find a profession that is recession proof and potentially a career that cannot be outsourced. Some possible careers that meet these criteria would be veterinarians, doctors, optometrists, dentists, physical therapists, CPAs, attorneys, etc. These are jobs that pay well and cannot be outsourced.

    In the end, you will succeed in whatever field you choose as long as you work hard at it and strive for perfection. 🙂


    George McNair


    Where is Dan Johnson, who posed the question?


    Unfortunately for me, I didn’t have the same resources (internet) for help to these kind of questions 13 years ago as you do now. Yahoo was still an infant and Google was slowly being conceived in a Stanford University computer science lab. If you have ANY second guessing of this profession, get out while you can! Getting a 4 year degree in Engineering with leaving a door open for possibility of obtaining a MLA in future is the best move. Good luck. Aloha.



    Xpat Larki

    He decided to shift to Culinary Arts and Sciences instead.

    Stephen Lovering

    Yeah two very different professions, i see LA as being a design job where you can really use your imagination, your art skills and your passion for the outdoors. Engineering is not a creative job in the same way as LA is and is about as far from LA as you can get in my opinion. If i were you i would look for a course in LA that is 4 yrs, 5 yrs is too long and if you were in any other country (England/Australia/Canada) you could get a batchelors and masters in that time. I have never regretted my decision to do my degree and love the profession, its a hard one but i would go with your heart, not where the money is!!!


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