High School Students should job shadow

I hosted, virtually, two Eastern Mennonite high school students this past semester in our office as they explored a career in Architecture. I have had the opportunity to mentor students (here is another story and another here and one more here) for a number of years now and I always learn a lot from them. This year was no exception with Ryan and Eli joining me once a week on ZOOM. It is amazing to see how fast they are able to learn software, grasp design concepts, and start producing design drawings. Here is Ryan’s recap of his experience job shadowing:

The idea of an internship was new and unfamiliar to me. Unlike many of my fellow students who also enrolled in an internship, I was apprehensive and unsure of my feelings towards architecture, the field of study I was in. I had little past experience with architecture so one of the main reasons I chose to intern under Mr. Hendricks and the Gaines Group Architects was to try to grasp what it was like to be a professional architect. I learned a lot about myself and what I enjoyed and disliked about architecture but I also developed meaningful relationships, improved my time management, teamwork, problem-solving, and communication skills, and learned more about what it’s like to be an architect. 

Keezletown Custom Home

The first time meeting with the architecture group was fairly intimidating. I wasn’t sure what to expect and did not know Eli, the other student interning with Mr. Hendricks, very well. We were assigned one main project that we would work on over the course of the internship. We were asked to design a three-bedroom, two-bath, 2200 sqft house. When this assignment was given I had no prior background with SketchUp, the design software we were told to use. My first few weeks were spent messing around with the technology, making boxy house models, and attempting to gain a better understanding of the various tools provided. As my learning and experience progressed I began to develop a better understanding of the software and what a home design requires.

Keezletown Custom Home

When we weren’t talking about our house designs Mr. Hendricks was most likely sharing interesting stories of his week and explaining his various architecture endeavors. I realized that architecture, most of the time, is not designing grandiose creations from your head, but is more of a tailored approach to other clients’ wishes. The design is the fun part but, from my understanding, most of an architect’s time is spent working around various legal codes and regulations. Learning more about the realistic side of architecture was very helpful as I am still trying to decide if architecture is something I’d like to pursue. 

I am very grateful to the Gaines Group Architects and to Mr. Hendricks for taking time out of his immensely busy schedule to mentor me and Eli. I am thankful for the relationships I have built over the course of this internship and the knowledge I have received. My perception of architecture has definitely changed and while I am still considering this as a possible career option, I feel as though my eyes have been opened to some of the non-ideal aspects of architecture. I have learned a lot during my couple of months with Mr. Hendricks and would definitely recommend an internship to students who are unsure and want to learn more about a career path that they are interested in.