Sunday, May 23, 2010

Last Internship I Report

Image borrowed here

I remember the first time I stepped into the chic reception area of the gsn+p architecture studio. It was the day of my application and interview to try out if I could make into their internship program. The black lounge sofa was perfect for the minimalistic flavour and clean lines of the whole area. Everything was cool and comfortable and not even a bit of tense I felt. It was the day I said to myself that this is where I wanted to learn; that this where I wanted to grow up. Fast forward to the present time, I look back and felt nostalgic about the whole thing; still staring at mid-blank air out of marvel over the best summer of learning I had ever had.

The point of the internship program in the first place is to expose the student in the office works of the industry and give a shot on the application of everything they have learned over the three years of studying inside the classroom and reading theory books on the profession. But through the weeks of my stay and from the very first time I met one of the Big Boss for an orientation, I realized that there’s truly so much more in the immersion on the practice. Pass the seemingly menial things I did in the office like documenting previous working drawings, answering phone calls, calling suppliers for a quotation, drafting a plan in the AutoCAD, making swatch boards, or even just familiarizing myself in all sorts of construction and finishing materials, there’s always that underlying lesson present not necessarily on the work but about the overall process of the work and the role it is playing in the bigger picture of the industry.

I heard someone say that everything they teach in the university is a fairy tale. That none of it is ever close to being real. I may not suppose all that but one thing’s for sure that I’ll ever believe is when my professors say that not every one of those who take up architecture will become design architects someday – or whatever kind of jobs we deem architects to have. Because the profession is so diversified you can never compartmentalize everything into one.

Take for example the four Big Bosses of the firm who has their own kind of field and contribution in the company. One handles the administrative side that makes sure the services are made available, another handles the creative aspect of the projects (read: pure design), another who is more inclined on the technical details and specifications, and yet another who handles interior design. Together they make the perfect concoction in creating a successful partnership and that is one of the Big Bosses challenged me to be in order to be successful in my own career.

Architecture is all about process management. That six words may probably be one of the most important lessons I’ll ever learn about the profession. It’s about juggling everything all at the same time. It may seem hard, and in fact it all looks so hard. But that is the reality being an architect. That is the reality of embarking on the road less traveled.

Some may say that we all have different paces when it comes to learning and comprehension in life. That some may prefer to learn inside the classroom and some may otherwise. I don’t know about me but I’m infinitely grateful for the wonderful opportunity that was given to me to experience the profession first-hand. And I’m sure I couldn’t have done it alone. There’s always that need to look for mentors that may guide you in the foundation years of your discernment as an architect. My internship experience as a whole may not be all about sunshine and smiles but I’m thankful. And I feel blessed.

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