From the development of one’s professional aptitude to the strengthening of personal character, Texas Tech students share their experiences of the importance of internships.
Lauren Beach, a junior architecture major from Houston, said although her internship was unaffiliated with Tech, one of the firm’s partners was a Tech graduate.
This architecture firm was the prestigious Fitzpatrick Architects, which Beach said she was scheduled to intern with, in the summer of 2020 were it not for COVID-19. Although she was disappointed with the delay, Beach said she was especially upset about not being able to earn money because she started looking for internships to give herself a summer job.
Fortunately, Beach said her internship with the firm was still promised for this upcoming summer. Beach proved herself impressive for attaining the internship in the first place because Fitzpatrick Architects never hires undergraduates, thus making her the firm’s first.
“I will be the youngest in the office by about five to six years. It’s very intimidating for me being the baby,” she said. “I know I'm inexperienced too, so this is like my first job and so with my age, job skills and all that I’m lacking, it’s definitely scary.”
Despite her intimidation, Beach said she was determined to get the spot, even sending the firm her academic architectural projects and personal work.
“Besides the portfolio, the biggest thing for employers is personality. Even if your work is bad to someone else's opinion, if you're confident in it, then at least there's a lot of room to work with,” she said. “If you are not even sure of yourself early on in college, you're not going to be sure of yourself working in the firm.”
Haley Hudson, a first-year law student from Lubbock, said she got her internship at the U.S. Capitol during her time as an undergraduate student in 2019.
Upon arriving in D.C., Hudson said she and around 20 other Tech interns lived together for three months in what they call a “Tech House,” which is a renovated apartment-style building.
Due to this circumstance, Hudson said the coordinators made certain the selected interns would remain respectful and would coexist with other flat mates, despite varying personalities and political ideologies.
With an internship as impressive as going to the Capitol, Hudson said like so many others, she had expected to be automatically drafting bills and legislation.
“At a standard, you’re doing a lot of typical intern duties such as sorting mail, making coffee, sitting at the front desk and answering phone calls,” she said. “You do that for several weeks, but once the office sees you’re a hard worker, then you get more responsibility, you get to do the cool things.”
This includes touring constituents from various district offices in the Capitol building and attending committee hearings, Hudson said.
Although the following events did not particularly happen in Hudson’s internship experience, she said some interns also got to experience historical events such as Donald Trump’s impeachment hearings and the memorial service of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Aside from these experiences, Hudson also shared one of her peculiar experiences in the Capitol building as well.
“One of our tasks is to answer phone calls from constituents… and some of them would call and just talk about aliens and some would condemn people to hell,” she said.
Regardless of its odd nature, Hudson said those phone calls made her experience even more memorable.
Hailey Schmitt, a first-year law student from Austin who interned in D.C. with the Department of Education, said her experience was very fun and educational.
“I still keep in touch with the people I worked with in D.C.,” Schmitt said. “What I experienced is very irreplaceable to get to see the inside workings of a government agency provided a very valuable insight for my future career.”