Pro Tips from a Former Intern
By Alex Goldberg
Having an internship is an amazing opportunity, no matter where you go. Never be afraid to use that opportunity to explore different facets of the profession. Internships are a chance to gain experience and be exposed to new environments, people, and ways of doing things. These tips will help you get the most out of your internship.
1. Don’t be afraid to stand by your design decisions.
I went into my internship at Hoefer Welker thinking I’d be working on construction documents the entire time, but it ended up being so much more! It was a blast. I got to do a lot of design work and learned a ton because Hoefer Welker encourages interns to flex their creative muscles. So, odds are, you’ll be asked to help design something and, eventually, you’ll have to show your work to the project lead or studio principal. Don’t be surprised if he or she pushes back with constructive criticism. Don’t worry – be ready to walk through your design choices and they’ll appreciate the confidence you have in your work, even if your design isn’t the one chosen.
2. Never stop asking questions!
This is advice I give every intern. A lot of the people you’ll be working with have been doing this for years, and no longer think about every step they take to get to a solution. So, you need to ask. Some designers have their own language or poorly communicate, which can be confusing. When they’re talking about a project, make sure you clearly understand what they want before you begin the assignment. Otherwise, you’re just guessing. It can be intimidating to talk to a principal or partner, but they’ll value the effort you’re making to get the best result.
3. Get involved!
I was that student who would roll his eyes when people told me to get involved. But, I’m about to give you very similar advice. Reach out to your project or studio leaders to discuss your ambitions and interests. Ask if there are any meetings you can sit in on or professional committees you can get involved with. This extends to the social areas as well. Hoefer Welker has a huge office culture! It’s so big there’s a committee just for planning all the events! Whether you’re an intern for an entire year or just the summer, reach out and see how you can become involved. It’s a great way to build your personal and professional network!
About Alex – I’ve worked at Hoefer Welker in Leawood, Kansas, for the last two years, first as an intern and then as an architectural designer. I’ve helped design projects in the healthcare, retail, multi-family, and commercial markets. I’m fascinated by discovering the ways that the design of a space can change how people see, use and experience it. Budgets and owner decisions also have a big impact on the design. In my free time, I love exploring downtown Kansas City, 3D modeling and watching Netflix.