Hello, my name is Omer and I'm a final year architecture student at the University of Portsmouth. In this blog I will talk about a few of the unexpected skills I gained from my degree. 

Like most courses there's an element of group work involved in the architecture course. To be honest I've always disliked group work especially when my grade depends on it. Fast forward 4 years later and it's the complete opposite. Group work is one of the elements I enjoy the most about my course, shocker I know but hear me out.

Group work is central to understanding other people’s perspectives and finding the best solution to a problem. For a subject like architecture where you have to consider multiple scenarios to fulfil a client brief, having a team with different life experiences allows you to find solutions that work for everyone in society and produce something you may never have got to on your own. 

Group work also helps you develop leadership skills. I would argue one of the most important attributes to have as a leader is being a good listener and being able to get the most out of the quietest individual on the team or the very least have them contribute what they were thinking.

Secondly, I feel that my course has helped me understand the value of feedback and be able to take constructive criticism without taking it personally. I must admit it is something that I struggled with at the very beginning and took me a while to overcome. After all, it is natural to feel as if you're being attacked when a panel or group of people point out problems or areas for improvement in your work, especially after you've put in hours, days, and sometimes weeks into your project. 

What helped me the most was to remind myself that they're doing it for the betterment of my work. At the end of the day, your professors, teachers, and classmates all want you to do well and are rooting for you to succeed. Feedback helps you address areas that you may have missed. You are never going to think of everything and you will always need others' input to take your project to the next level.

Lastly, I would say architecture taught me how to be able to go backward in my design work to move forward. There's always that initial excitement when you get a new project and brief and all the ideas you get and try to conceptualise them into a design that can be built. Most of the time you're able to do this but sometimes you hit a roadblock and have to go back to the drawing board, reshuffle a couple of things to try and make the project feasible. It's that delicate balancing act that truly makes you question if all items included in the project are necessary so you can ultimately bring your vision to life. 

Group working, accepting constructive feedback and ‘going backwards to move forwards’ were not things I expected to get from my degree – but these are some of the additional skills I have picked up along the way that will help me as I graduate and take the next steps into the world of work.