Student Profiles – Rachael, Architecture

Rachael is a first-year Architecture student from London. At A Level, she studied Maths, Economics, and Graphic Design.

Why did you choose Trinity Hall?
I chose it because it was a smaller, friendly college and I felt like it would be a good place to settle into university life.

How did you prepare for the application process and interviews? Was it what you expected?
For the application, my Graphics teacher helped me with compiling my portfolio and practicing possible interview questions. It was a little bit nerve-wracking, but with most Architecture courses you have to complete an interview with your portfolio, so I was prepared.

Why did you choose your course?
I chose Architecture because I felt like it encompassed all disciplines of design, and so would be a good way into other artistic careers after university. Also, I think it’s a well-rounded course, with emphasis on being creative, thinking environmentally and psychologically while understanding the mechanisms behind everything you design.

How does your course compare to your expectations?
I think it matches pretty well with what I thought it would be like. It is a lot to manage with studio coursework as well as the lecture material, but as time goes on you get better accustomed to the workload. To manage all these tasks, I like to write lists as well as have a physical planner to see an overview of everything I have to do and how to do it without getting stressed. Notion is also a really good app to use!

What is your favourite part of your course?
My favourite part is one of the lectures we have, Fundamental principles of environmental design. It’s particularly interesting as it focuses on how humans are affected by the conditions we create within buildings and how we can make them more sustainable, which is very important today.

How are you taught?
In Architecture, you get two full days of Studio, which is design work on a set project both individually and at times in groups, approx. 12 hours a week with one on one or group tutorials. Then there are 5 lectures per week, spanning approximately 2 hours each. There are normally compulsory supervisions once a week for 1 hour, and some non-compulsory supervisions for extra help in a few of our lectures. For independent study, for lectures it would be around 2 hours, while studio is around 4 or more hours of independent work, depending on the stage of the project you are on.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?
I think a lot of people assume time spent at Cambridge consists of studying and more studying, but there’s a lot to do here. In the first few weeks I tried nearly everything, but mostly I like to go to society events, cook, read and draw, or go to the cinema with friends.

What are you looking forward to for the rest of your time here? Any particular papers/events?
I’m looking forward to second year lectures, because there are some discussing the links between race, gender, and architecture, which isn’t very commonly thought about. I’m also looking forward to meeting new people and experiencing new cultures.