Author: Sanchit Soni
So you are about to intern in an architecture office and have no clue what to do once you commence with the internship? Read about the ten most crucial things to remember while pursuing an internship.
- Be prepared to do any job at your disposal: In architecture firms, interns are bound to do a variety of things. This can vary from drawing a toilet detail to scanning documents. But there is always something or the other which can be learned while doing multiple tasks. The scale and nature of the work you do in an office will always benefit in one way or the other.
- Be organized: While doing work it is very important to be organized. Always schedule your work in sequence. Also keep a list of things to be done, improvisations to be made. Always arrange your work desk before you leave. Keep your print drawings and system/project files in order. This helps greatly in coordinating the work. Also this tendency of organization improvises efficiency of work.
- Always ask: It is very important to keep asking. Always be curious. You are an intern, you are here to learn. And it is very important to keep asking about your objectives, how you should be approaching a project. Asking questions keeps a positive learning curve which will help in understanding how things work in professional environment.
- Long working hours: Architecture offices have usually long working hours, sometimes they work all night because of tight schedules and deadlines. You should be mentally and physically prepared to engage in long working hours of studio. Sip a coffee or tea and keep rejuvenating yourselves so that you can upgrade your work endurance levels.
- Keep communicating: It is very important to establish contacts in any office. Keep in touch with your colleagues, fellow interns, senior architects and principal. Discuss things about work, what are your possible options after graduation or just have a casual chat about your favorite building. Communication not only helps you understand professional environment, it develops your intellect. You also learn many skills like thumb rules and makeshift methods which are very important while working on any projects. If you are able to make a good impression of yourself, you never know that you might end up with a PPO.
- Collaborate: Most of the projects demand compartmentalization of work. Offices prefer to work in small or large teams depending on the scale and nature of the project. Hence you should be able to get hang of the role that you have been assigned, so that you can collaborate and coordinate with others better.
- Don’t bother about stipend: Your primary goal of an internship is to learn. Learning through internship is a very crucial component of graduate studies and hence you should be more focused about the things that you are learning rather than the amount of stipend that you are getting. You have a whole lifetime to earn. And you can only earn well if you learn well. But refrain from doing unpaid internships unless they are NGO.
- Respect you seniors: Well all of your senior architects, project leaders and principals belong to the category of “been there, done that”. In case any senior tells to make certain changes/adjustments/rectifications or improvisations, you should understand the fact that they are telling by their experience. You should be able to accommodate those modifications without letting ego to cloud your judgment. Although if it is a subjective thing, you can present healthy arguments to engage into discussions. But never be adamant in doing tasks.
- Use your weekends: In case you are interning in a different city than your native place, you should travel and explore things. This helps you understand the context of design. When you visit places, your observations somehow helps in getting perspective of culture and trends.
- Be regular: The way you work during an internship pretty much navigates the way you will be doing your initial job as an architect. Always be regular for office and avoid skipping without genuine reason. Try to be on time. Punctuality and discipline will always help in the long run.