The Summer Intern Experience
In the words of an intern.
By Clara Early, Sep 2017
Hey reader, have you ever been an intern? It’s that vulnerable beginning of a career, when you are so eager to apply everything you’ve learned to a real job. When you begin to transition between theory and real world. And realize how much more you have to learn. An internship can be intimidating, overwhelming, and maybe even, boring. But it’s a great opportunity to explore, consider options, and figure out what fits for you.
In my case, as an aspiring graphic designer, I viewed my summer internship at RSP Architects as a daunting, yet exciting experience. After three months there, I can say with assurance that RSP made that ‘oh so scary’ transition a comfortable, yet exceedingly educational experience.
As I sit here, back on campus, reflecting on my experience as an intern at RSP, I only have thoughts of gratitude towards those who impacted my intern experience. Yes, like any intern, I had moments of frustration, failure, and whatever else an intern goes through. But that’s how students learn. It’s a cycle of challenge, trial, error, and more trial and error. My team recognized that learning process. They challenged me, provided constructive criticism, and positive reinforcement, all of which helped me create solutions. And that’s what made RSP such a rewarding internship for me.
My skills were valued, and I was entrusted with projects that would put them to work and allow for points of improvement to be identified. I learned how to approach new ideas with a creative yet critical mind. The projects I worked on allowed me to interact with a variety of people, leadership levels, and personalities. And, each of those people (whether they realize it or not) taught me a lot about how to maneuver through a career in the professional world. And for that, I am grateful.
It doesn’t stop with my personal experience, though. Although I can’t speak on behalf of my 10 fellow summer interns, I can say that the intern experience as a whole was centered on the goals of the interns – immediately exceeding my expectations. Efforts were made to seamlessly integrate us into our respective studios and to cultivate mutually beneficial relationships between us and staff.
Regular intern meetings were held to help us reflect on our progress and recognize any disconnects between our summer goals and our experiences. But it wasn’t all work and no play. RSP immersed us in their work culture. We planned and executed a “Fiesta Friday” lunch for close to 200 employees, complete with sombreros, burritos, music… the whole package! We tried our hand at working in virtual reality (so fascinating, you need to try it sometime). We ate lunch together on the scenic rooftop deck, went on site visits, photo shoots, and even a Saint’s baseball game. In other words, we were treated as any other employee. Although each of us had unique experiences in our respective disciplines, we all experienced a culture with a healthy balance of work and play. Encouragement. Hospitality. And a diverse range of perspectives.
Coming away from this internship, I feel prepared to continue my education and my transition into the professional world. As a designer, my career could take me in countless directions, but I know the skills I learned at RSP will benefit me in whichever direction I choose to go… maybe that’s working at RSP in the future, who knows?
But enough about my experience… here’s what some of the other interns had to say about their time at RSP…
“RSP makes an obvious effort to show that they care about their employees through the various events and team building that occurs on the regular. I also think it is a GREAT place to learn, everyone is always willing to answer my questions, no matter how small they may be… the way they make sure to properly train and include their interns is not something you find everywhere.” – Kenzie Jones
“I was introduced to a lot of different types of projects, sat in on client meetings & team meetings, toured job sites, and got valuable insight into the architecture profession from many different perspectives.” – Rachel Crane
“RSP has provided me with the opportunity to apply my skills in the real world, while gaining new skills in working on teams and getting things accomplished in a business environment.” – Ryan Shindler
“A lot of the designers were comfortable giving me work, which made me feel more confident in my skills and allowed me to better myself as a designer.” – Jennie Scislow
“The entire marketing team is inspirational. Working with 6 successful females in a male dominated industry was in incredible experience. Everyone was friendly and open but when it came to a deadline they made sure they made it and made sure they crushed it. I could not have worked with a better team or company this summer.” – Dana Strachan