Continuing from the Architecture or Archi-torture series, the next nine parts of the story will look at the different perspectives of the life of architecture students. The story will consist of reflections and thoughts from nine creative, passionate and unique individuals who went through the ups and downs of the so-called archi-torture life. And the person whose stories I would like to share with you is Natasya Jasmin. Natasya was the first person that I befriended at Taylor’s University and also a very close architecture studio mate of mine. Moreover, her story is extraordinary and eye-opening, she describes it as her blindfolded journey through architecture. With passion as her motivation, she set out to the harshness of the real world.
Natasya Jasmin, And Her World Of Passion And Inspirations
When we reach the end of secondary school, we begin a journey of putting one foot out into the real world and pursuing what we want to do in life. But the world is full of eyes that stare and judge, whilst we are blindfolded. We are unaware of what lies beyond. We are enthusiastic but naïve, innocent but ignorant of the real-life challenges ahead. So that is why we experience the good and the bad, and learn from them.
“Passion led us here.”Ian scheneider, Photographer on usplash
From a young age, Natasya was intrigued by the aesthetic and pleasant views that architecture produces. But she didn’t really understand why she loves it until she dived into the world of architecture itself. One of the greatest sparks that pushed her to the world of architecture was computer and video games. She had a fondness for games that have breathtaking and cinematic visuals of architecture. One of the games that she played since young until now is The Sims, where you have the flexibility and freedom to build your own house and have a virtual family live in it. Other than the Sims, she also gets her inspirations from another game, Rise of the Tomb Raider, with breathtaking visuals of architectural ruins.
Reflecting On Her Life As An Architecture Student After Graduating
It wasn’t a smooth sailing journey for Natasya on her architecture pursuit. She doesn’t like the idea of working 24/7 with deadlines. It is a rat race for the truly strong and determined. For Natasya however, no matter how much she dislikes the memories and the harshness of the experiences, she admits that it had taught her a lot about design. She graduated from Taylor’s University in 2020 and had never been more grateful for her lecturers’ cinematical approach, thinking and love for knowledge. Consequently, it spurred her to be where she is now.
“I don’t regret it [architecture]. I like it really because it helps me to see value in every single thing I do in life. Everything must have a reason and purpose.”Natasya jasmin, architectural graduate from taylor’s university
1. The Intensity Of Architecture Vs Natasya Jasmin
Architectural work is intense and keeps you preoccupied. One of the many jokes amongst architects is that they are too busy to date… isn’t that right, Natasya? I mean, this doesn’t apply to all, of course! Being busy 24/7 with work causes pain to one’s body that no one would like to endure. Natasya mentioned that if she was a robot, she would love the drill.
“Everything must have a reason. Even that single line with different thickness must have a solid reason.”natasya jasmin
Architecture relates a lot to justifications and reasonings. Because of that, the architecture course assesses you fully from your attendance, progress and final product. It all depends on how we manage to persuade our clients (lecturers) and audiences to give a nod or thumbs up to our design proposal. That is why architecture is a subjective course where there is no right or wrong answer, but instead, how can you justify your answer to be the right one.
2. Natasya’s Values For Interaction And Creating New Relationships
Natasya was always interested in going out and interact with people, places and things. For me, I had always known her as a social butterfly who always invited me to places. She loves going to the city for talks, art visits, movies or to meet friends. To begin with, she wasn’t socially active from young and had little exposure to the outside world. But as she set out on this architecture journey, she came across many people that inspired her little world. So it became one of her values to always find ways to improve her architecture knowledge and social skills by being out there. And one of the memorable ways for Natasya to achieve this goal was by participating in architectural competitions.
3. Finding A Place To Breathe Outside The Studio
But being stuck inside a freezing and poorly ventilated studio 24/7, Natasya needed to find places where she can escape to and breathe. A place where she can meet and interact with people from different backgrounds to gain different insights. Architecture is always about the people, and when you understand the views from different people with different perspectives, you start to be more sensitive to your surroundings. Hence for architecture students, this allows them to naturally put more care into their design. So Natasya participated in a community group activity called Kuala Lumpur Urban Sketchers, where groups of sketch enthusiasts get together and visit a part of the city and sketch live on the spot. This experience was just one those that had helped boost her self-esteem and improved her social skills.
“It’s not a rosy path, instead it’s a journey that pushes me to create.”natasya jasmin
4. Natasya And Her Constant Hunt For Inspirations
Falling into depression is just one of the health impact that architecture students may experience. Natasya admitted that she fell into a rabbit hole filled with darkness and contemplations. One day, on her birthday to be exact, as she sat on the couch doubting herself, her parents gave her a slice of cake and wished her ‘Happy Birthday’ at the stroke of midnight. Feeling grateful for her parents’ continuous care and follow-ups, she realised she needed to be stricter with herself when it comes to her health and wellbeing.
“I’m choosing to focus on things that I can control.”wetheurban, an online community on instagram filled with positive and motivational quotes
She had always sought inspirations from positive people. Motivating herself from her past achievements gave her a boost of self-confidence that she can do it again. Natasya was that one friend who despite any setback would find ways to stay positive. Nevertheless, her sprouting passion enables her optimistic mind to grow as she tackles challenge after challenge. She has a habit of sharing positive quotes or optimistic self-help-quotes during her dark days or even during the dark days of others to avoid the negative cloud hovering over them.
“In this course, you really need to believe in yourself. Despite being young adult, we are all still kids within, not knowing what to do. Remove the weeds, and plant beneficial seeds.natasya jasmin
5. Passion Can Blind You
You would always hear that architecture students have to be passionate. But what does it really mean? As a really close classmate and friend of Natasya, I can vouch that she is one passionate architecture student. You can see it in her work and her determination to get back up whenever she makes a mistake. However, having only passion is not enough in this course. Natasya felt like she was an obedient worker, mining for gold, in all the wrong places, blindfolded. On the other hand, her classmates would have night vision goggles to enable them to see in the dark. She had difficulties finding that light until one of her lecturers in her final semester, Ms Teh, helped loosened her blindfold and handed her the torchlight to see clearly.
“Let it be hard, because it built me.”Natasya jasmin
Her Inspirations And Hope To Inspire Others
I have only known Natasya for five years and I have never been so proud of where she is now. She is curious and adventurous to the point that she will do whatever it takes to seek the answers. Because of her never-ending curiosity, she never stops growing. And I noticed that she had shown much growth by developing beautiful visual art pieces. Original art pieces that tell its own story relating to her inspirations, in hopes to see her own growth as an individual and inspire others.
Natasya wanted to inspire others in a way that they will make a positive impact in their life, no matter what happens. She had a neighbour and friend named, Muhammad Ihsan Shah bin Shaharudin, whom she looked up to, and I remember her telling me stories of him during our university days. In her eyes, I could see the fascination and adoration that she had for him. It saddens me to hear that he had recently passed on, and that Natasya had lost a very dear friend. “May he rest in peace and May Allah (God) grant him a place in Heaven”. He made an impact on her life, and would always be remembered in her life journey, no matter where she goes. And now, she hopes that she can also do the same to others.
Loosening Up The Blindfold
The beautiful thing is to see that blindfold slowly loosening as one grows up. Natasya grew as she starts to see more of the world, and understand the reason why she is on this path. With the different exposures she got from her peers, lecturers, architectural experiences and non-architectural experience, her blindfold eventually slips off and she starts to see beyond just architecture.
So ask yourself, as a lost kid, blindfolded by society of different opinions and views, what is your story? What is the reason you’re walking on this path? Whether it is a rosy path or a path full of challenges, why is it so important for you to fulfil?
“You are not alone, little one. Find your reason. Fight for your story. And adapt to it in any way you can.”Natasya jasmin
Being a student doesn’t mean you have to coop yourself up inside your room or studio 24/7, studying and working. Go out and find a place where you can breathe and escape from the tension. If you are a city lover and a sketch enthusiast, check out Kuala Lumpur Urban Sketchers and KL Sketch Nation. They are a community group of people who travels to various parts of the city in Kuala Lumpur and sketch on the spot, such as from the windows of their homes, on the streets or inside the cafés.
Interested to read more stories about the life of archi-torture from architecture students? Then fret not, because the next part will also keep you on your toes. I will be featuring Salehah Seeni Pakkeer, a girl with a bright smile and contagious laughter that engulfed the freezing studio with warmth.