One Way to Land an Internship

Author: Aaron Collier


Jobs, ties, and handshakes: these are the last things you want to think about as a high school senior, or they are the only thing you are thinking about. I was a part of the former group, nevertheless, I landed my first internship with an architecture firm the summer before my freshmen year in college. This blog is centered around what I did in order to land my first internship, and what you might try after committing to ND.

Whether or not you are thinking about it now or pushing it off, the primary reason you should want to go to college is to find something fulfilling to spend your life doing. For me, this “something” is architecture. I have wanted to become an architect since the age of six years old (legos were and still are amazing ok?), and I’ve been honored to be able to work in the field since before my freshman year began.

How in the world did I manage to land such an internship you ask? It all began with my first Notre Dame Club of Orlando meeting. I applied early action and was invited to an event held by the club. The event went rather well, and I got to hear a great deal about life at ND from current students who were also from my area. My parents along with other family members were there, and we all were comforted by the atmosphere of the club.

Then I met Michael, a contractor who graduated from ND about five years prior. Upon learning that he was into construction and that I was an architecture intent, we got into a bit of a debate on sustainable building practices in the industry. We were both passionate and spirited in our stances and, in the end, found common ground. After our conversation, Michael told me about his father (who graudate from ND about 30 years ago) and of his architecture firm in Orlando(the photo you see above is where it is located). Michael was kind enough to give me his contact information and, through him, I was able to tour the firm. The next week, I toured their offices and learned a considerable amount about the type of work their firm does. During the tour, I tried my best to meet Michael’s father, but he was unfortunately tied up in meetings all day. Following the tour, although I was disappointed to miss the opportunity to meet a successful ND grad in my field, I chatted with a couple of the partners before leaving. Two days later, I followed up with questions as to how I could shadow the architects at the firm to which their reply, very surprisingly, was an internship offer. Mind you, at this point in my “architectural career” I had absolutely no experience whatsoever in architecture outside of preliminary programs I participated in during a couple summers. I was astounded that I was being asked to work, and money for that matter! Of course my immediate thought was to answer with a resounding YES, but being the nervous high school senior that I was, I told the firm that I would “review their offer.” (Please, DO NOT do that!)

Because architecture students make up such a small percentage of the undergraduate population, I think it's safe to assume that most of you reading this may not be considering achitecture as your major. That's okay, because the lesson in my story is not specific to any major. The lesson is to utilize your ND Club connections. The network present here at Notre Dame (and throughout the world) is incredibly vast, and the people are extremely willing to help students from their alma mater. The best part about my story is that I never actually met Michael’s father during my visit to his firm; I met his father on my first day on the job. His partners so intensely trusted the quality of Notre Dame students that they gave me the opportunity to work without ever having stepped foot on ND’s campus. This summer will be the third summer that I've worked for this firm. As it is now, I am on track to be hired there when I graduate in 2019.