by Julie Bryan, Oklahoma University When I first got the email that I was offered an internship with KSQ, I was sitting in class. I was so excited, I actually had to step out to control my silent screams (and to jump around a bit)! I had done my research on the firm and after meeting them at the OU College of Architecture job fair, I knew this was a place I wanted to continue my design education. I was a little intimidated by their success and the size of some of their projects but after my interview I was sold and I wanted everything they could teach me. [caption id="attachment_4055" align="alignleft" width="300"] Julie at her desk in the KSQ Tulsa office.[/caption] My first week at the firm was a whirlwind of new faces and learning about all the projects they had going on. I was asked to make a list of my goals and what I wanted to experience during my summer at KSQ in the Tulsa office. I put down absolutely anything I could think of, everything from job site visits, performing punch list checks, participating in team meetings, to working with Revit and other industry technologies. I wanted the experience of a real designer and that’s exactly what I got. I experienced the real pressures of a deadline where reputation and money were on the line instead of a grade. I did more than I ever expected to be able to do as an intern. But that was the thing, I was never treated like “the intern.” At KSQ, I was a part of a team and given real responsibility and the experience of working as a professional designer; I loved it. I found myself being excited to be at the office every morning, even when sleep deprived. I had heard a saying that if you love what you do, you will never have to work a day in your life. I did not work a single day this summer! I worked on over 10 projects spread across Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado, Wyoming, and New York. Constantly checking experiences off of my list, my expectations were exceeded. I traveled to job sites and got to see firsthand the process of construction and just how design can go from a few sketches, to a beautiful multi-million dollar student housing facility. I got to experience group work and collaboration in the real world, I was learning industry standards, solidifying everything I had learned in my three years of design education. I broadened my skills in design technologies, and I was introduced to a number of manufacturer reps and sat through many of their product presentations. I learned what is expected of a professional designer, what it meant to be a designer, and all that comes with it. And no, I’m not looking to change my major. I am inspired! Spending my summer at KSQ has given me a new appreciation for the architecture industry. I have also learned that not every firm is the same and KSQ is as unique as they come. They set the bar high for client treatment and the quality of design work all while maintaining a family-like relationship within the firm. I have found lifelong friends, and a place that I'd love to start my professional career. KSQ has given me the ultimate learning experiences and for that I am forever grateful. [caption id="attachment_4057" align="aligncenter" width="768"] Julie visits the site for a project she worked on during her internship.[/caption] As I prepare to head back to school, I am really sad to be leaving. I am going to miss the Monday morning meetings, group lunches, staying out of fire of the nerf gun wars after hours, and all of the hilarious and wonderful people I got to call my co-workers. To include everything that I loved about my internship and KSQ'ers would be a novel. I couldn’t even begin to describe how much I have loved all of them and how much fun they have made this experience for me. [caption id="attachment_4058" align="alignleft" width="300"] What's a project punch without a selfiie? #HardHatHair[/caption] This internship has opened my mind to a whole other world of possibilities for my industry. I can’t imagine doing another project the same way as I used to. I have been exposed to the more technical side of design and this will strongly impact the rest of my designs and projects. I find myself more eager than ever to graduate, begin my career, and start designing for a purpose I believe in! If I could give any advice to students now looking for their next summer internship it would be to:
- Choose KSQ! (Of course)
- Do not think you will know everything there is to know about design just from your education; there's so much more to learn when you're working in the real world (and it's so so much fun!)
- Never think of yourself as “just the intern.” You never know all of the things you are capable of until you surprise yourself!
- Every moment of your internship is an opportunity to learn, never think the information is not useful and always WRITE IT DOWN! Keep a journal of all the things you do–it’s really cool to go back over at the end of the summer to see how far you've progressed.
- If it doesn’t feel like work, then you’re in the right place!