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get the best from your internship or work experiences

How to get the best from your internship or work experiences


Everyone and every place has something to teach you.

I remember, back in 2013. The transition from school to a real office was really tough. I already had 2 internships as a student, in Copenhagen and New York.

The offices were an amazing working experience. But my idea of working as an architect was still connected to the “schools” idea of being an architect.

I jumped straight away after my degree in a new country, new language, new work environment, a REAL one. I remember being only 2 months into my first work experience and I’ve already feeling discouraged and frustrated.


What is wrong with me?


Design projects in school were so demanding but also so much fun and exciting.Without problems. Without clients. Without bosses. Much easier compared to the work I was producing for the monthly paycheck.

I couldn’t get my creativity to work, literally, when I was expected to do it. Why did school not prepare me for that?


Then I understood. I was going about totally wrong things.


I didn’t know the way my brain was wired as an architect, I didn’t know how to use it. Schools are amazing with highly prepared tutors and teachers giving you a rich background. They shape you as a generalist and it is perfect! You have to taste different ice cream flavors before choosing the one for every Saturday night.

But there is more outside. Everyone and every place has something to teach you.

You learn so much just observing your colleagues, your creative director, and your bosses.


And here some tips:

Tools and techniques

Observe your colleagues 3-4 years older than you during their creative and production processes. Be curious and get up from your table, watch out for others´ work, and during lunch/break time, ask them, kindly, your questions:  
How did you get that on Photoshop/ Autocad/ Revit? Can you share the render parameter with me?

OBS: Don´t bored people during their working time. Respect their spaces and deadlines, be around them respectfully! They will be happy to share it with you if you respect their time.

Project´s processes

If you are part of a team, you will probably get a task that will help the whole process to move forward. Don´t be there just to execute. Listen. Listen a lot and observe how the energy in the team is shaped.

Before you ask 10 questions in 10 minutes, try to figure out the next step by yourself. Then ask. If they do not provide you with a clear description of the task, ask simple and well articulated questions. You are part of a team. You are there to help!

Office organization

This part seems useless, but it is fundamental if, in the future, you wish to be your own boss or run your dream architecture office. Probably you won’t understand most of it now. Just observe and note down.

How does my boss manage experienced creative directors?

How does my boss run the office´s weekly meetings?

Do they have an office culture?

And most important: how do they behave with employees and clients?

Focus on managerial and personal skills of running and managing a business: economically but, most important, humanely.



This post was originally part of my personal newsletter. 


Danila Lampis architect lejlighedsrenovering
Danila Lampis