My first internship was at the Texas Capitol in the Spring of my freshman year. At the time, my major was economics, and I wanted to dive into the fields that were congruent with what I was studying: government and finance. I had always been interested in politics, and this seemed like a good place to start. Initially I was assigned administrative work—typical intern tasks—but that work allowed me to slowly prove myself to the Senator and earn the independence to engage in important research and bill-related work. Later on during the spring semester of my junior year, I was called back by the Senator to work again due to my previous accomplishments. Interning at the Capitol twice really opened the door for future opportunities that moved me closer to what I was passionate about.
“I wanted to be able to define a clear design identity in my architecture projects and establish a focus to my academics.”
As a college freshman straight out of high school, you are sort of asked to begin thinking about what you want to do for the rest of your life. This is a daunting task. A lot of students put this off and tend to focus on their experiences in the classes they have to take for their major rather than their experiences working in a field related to their major.
The summer after my freshman year, I was offered a position at a private equity firm in Hong Kong. This was the tipping point of my future career path. I was finally able to engage in government and finance, and it wasn’t until I worked in the financial private sector that I realized my passion didn’t lie in economics. I found myself more interested in the amazing architecture around me than I was with the financial analytical work on my desk. This realization was a wake-up call to me. Luckily, my family was supportive enough to engage in a conversation about what excited me and how my passions could shape my life.
After much consideration and thought, I started to dive into the architecture world, realizing that every step towards the School of Architecture made me more and more passionate about the field. I immediately talked to an advisor in the architecture school and asked, “How can I get involved with architecture? How can I transfer? Are there any classes that I can take as a non-major?” When I found out that there were classes I could take, I was instantly interested. The ability to learn about architecture as an economics major, at the time, really helped me understand why architecture was the career for me. Larry Speck’s Architecture and Society course was taught in a way that he knew the majority of students were non-majors and his goal was to get all of the students to develop an interest or appreciation for architecture. Instead of just teaching us the material he wanted us to analyze buildings on campus that we walked past everyday but didn’t truly look at. He opened a door that I didn’t even realize was an option for me, and helped deepen my love for the field through his excitement and experience.
Ultimately, I was admitted into the school of architecture. I could not stop smiling the day I walked into my first studio. Towards the end of my third design course, I wanted to be able to define a clear design identity in my architecture projects and establish a focus to my academics. I realized that there was no better way to this than to work for an architect who had established his/her design identity through years of experience. They say you can’t reinvent the wheel; so why not figure out how it was invented?
This past summer I interned at three different firms in New York City, precisely understanding how the different sectors of architecture functions. My first internship was at an interior design firm that taught me about materiality and the importance of details. The second was at a real-estate brokerage firm understanding the connection between design, marketability, and practical use. The third was at an architecture design firm which allowed me to analyze the architect’s design process and understanding a client’s needs/wants. Finally, I saw the connection between all three sectors. They were all a part of developing a real-life project. That knowledge allowed me to realize my design identity and created a sense of clarity for my future academic projects.
Without my internship experiences, my career path and life choices would’ve led me to something I didn’t have passion for. I figured out that if you are going to be working and learning about a specific industry, why not get excited to go to work every day?
B.Arch. Architecture, 2020
Kabir is currently in his third year of undergraduate studies at the School of Architecture. He also works as a Canvas consultant for the Faculty Innovation Center.