I am currently studying architecture and interior design in Savanna,
GA. This will be my last year as an architecture/interior design
major and I am fine-tuning my résumé as I am about
ready to graduate. I am curious to know the importance of hands-on
experience in my field. I will have an opportunity during my last
semester of study to be placed in an intern position. Do you really
think I will benefit from this experience, and how will this position
provide adequate training in the real world work of architecture
and interior design?
The best way to gain
the knowledge and experience that does not come from a textbook
is through an internship with firms that specialize in your area
of study. The student must experience the vast amount of additional
information that is at his or her fingertips only when out in the
field of retail, sales, window treatments, space planning, interior
planning, residential design and commercial design.
I have just finished reading the book “Give Me a Break”
by television commentator John Stossel published this year by Harper
Collins. On page nine, Stossel writes about his many experiences
with the media. He speaks highly of students seeking intern positions.
He started calling colleges to see if they were interested in referring
him to students who were seeking internships in the media. He states,
“Many interns later moved on to paying jobs at the networks,
and some became network TV producers.”
In the field of interior design, I am strongly convinced that interior
design students profit highly from this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
I have placed many of my interior design students in various positions
that have gained them additional knowledge that blends with and
complements the experience in the classroom. It is required to study
the materials and specifications of a product. It is another requirement
to apply that knowledge to a working project.
Field trips also provide a resource of information that is presented
directly from the professional in the field to the student. One
of my favorite field trips here in California is to a drapery workroom
that I highly respect. Oxnard Drapery in Ventura County is an excellent
example of how the profession shines! Trips to marble yards, carpet
manufacturers, The Getty Museum, the Gamble House (historic home)
and retail showrooms are just a few of the other field trips that
bring the classroom alive!
I challenge every retailer to place a phone call to a local college
or university and inquire about internship positions in the fields
of retail sales, business and marketing, interior design and architecture,
fashion merchandising and any other areas that may be applicable
to your business. You may be surprised at the outcome and the rewards
of taking the extra time to share your knowledge and expertise with
another individual. And who knows, you may have a future prospective
employee with your firm!
Editor’s note: This is a continuing series of articles written
by Sharon L. Anderson that will answer some of the many questions
we receive at Draperies & Window Coverings as well as questions
Anderson has encountered in her own business. If you have a question
you would like Anderson to address, please send it to:
c/o Draperies & Window Coverings
1724 E. Grand Ave.
Lindenhurst, IL 60046
Fax: (847) 356-9013
L. Anderson has more than 20 years experience in the residential
and commercial areas of interior design. She is currently a faculty
member at two Southern California colleges. Anderson has been featured
in numerous books and publications.