AIAS: A Life Outside of Studio

Life as an architecture student can be stressful to say the least. Our design studios can feel like a 60+ hour jobs that never seem to end.  Yet out of this pressure comes relationships that can last a lifetime. For my brother and I, it is important to branch out beyond the UNLV’s School of Architecture and connect with our fellow students from across the world.

Over the past year we, alongside classmates from UNLV, have been able to attend three conferences held by the American Institute of Architecture Students. We, proudly showed off our own city this past March for the 2016 West Quad Conference, before traveling to the nation’s capital over the summer for the Grassroots leadership conference and then most recently to Forum 2016 in Boston for the New Year. I have both witnessed student’s stare in wonder as they see the “Fabulous Las Vegas” for the first time and then had the roles reversed as we became the spectators to the historic sites and spectacles D.C. and Boston have to offer. The unique opportunity to experience both perspectives has given me a greater appreciation for the different cultures in these cities, including my own.

The memoires I have of leading students through the Strip, visiting the Lincoln Memorial, or walking up Bunker Hill will never leave me. However, possibly even more important than the memoires are the connections I made. I have befriended other aspiring architects from New York to the Philippines, and with each trip I grow even closer to my own classmates. Sharing these experiences with them has led to bonds that could last lifetime.

The road to becoming an architect is a long one, why do it alone if you don’t have to.

Rafael Armendariz

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