Intern 101: How to Get Involved in your Firm

Do you think you are not doing much at your job? A lot of us are usually drafting every second of the day, but we can do so much more. First, we need to take the initiative to infuse some fun and young energy into our office environment. Don't just sit in front of your computer all day. The more we get involved, the more we will learn, and the more we can contribute to the work we do.

1. Volunteer to do anything
Maybe not ANYTHING... But something that you are interested in. It might not be something that you would put on your resume, but find some different thing to do while at work can keep you sane. I write our office blog covering our weekly luncheons, when I get bored of doing CD. Not only is it super fun, but it also lets me work with the marketing folks which is a great learning experience. Maybe you can make proposals, take care of the material library, make a library of revit families, cad blocks, organize activities.....Do something that you like, so when you are tired of doing RCP, you can at least have a little fun.

2. Attend the educational program
If your firm has an educational program, you should be thankful! It means that they care about your development, so you really should attend and learn something from every opportunity. Or better yet TEACH! One of the interns in our firm gave a 3D Max tutorial in one of the luncheons - so you can do it too! (But while you are there, stop looking at your phone. It's rude, and you won't learn anything.)

3. Teach them something
So this brought us to what we know the most - software. Interns are usually the most tech-savvy people in the office. Whenever someone has a question about a program that you know, stand up and show them how to do it nicely. Be humble and let them know if they have any questions in the future, you are here to help. Next time they will remember you, not just for the revit stair problem, but for other useful things too. 

4. Ask questions
This is what I think the most important thing that an intern should do. I can't tell you how many times I have seen interns just waiting at their desk for their project managers to come check on them. If there is something that you don't know about, take the initiative to ask them. If you need their answers in order to move the project forward, tell them that. You need to manage your project manager, because a lot of times they are too busy to remember everything. Of course also ask about how was their weekend, how was the commute, how is the baby doing.....Be friendly, nice, and assertive.

5. Suggest things
Someone suggested bicycles in our office, so now we are getting bikes! At my old job, I used to send my boss articles to read from time to time. One day he read the how to make a better office article, then he implemented the weekly friday lunch within the office. They might not always do what you suggest. But if you have a good idea, or found something that you would like to see in the office, show them (preferably during social hours).

So to all the interns out there - we are not just draftsmen!! Have some fun and get involved in one way or other. You will learn more, develop more social skills, and better yet have a good time in the office.

Do you have other tips to spice up our daily intern work? Have you suggested anything to improve your firm? Tell us what other ways to get involved!

Thanks for reading.

P.S. Here are two blog posts that I wrote with another intern for my firm recently:
3D Max and Photoshop – Oh my!
Revit – A Tool in Framing Expectations
Take a look if you are interested. More will be coming

Aspiring architect and graphic designer. I design buildings and write about it. My interests revolve around urban architecture, people, graphics, arts and culture.