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It’s my last day at SmithGroup. I can’t believe it! As an outgoing intern, I asked myself the same questions as I have of other SmithGroup interns. Here’s my interview with myself. (No, I’m not schizophrenic.)

Sum up your internship in 10 words or fewer.
SmithGroup’s a great place to have your first “real” job.

What is your most memorable SmithGroup experience (for whatever reason)?
One afternoon Vanessa had planned to attend a “Meet the Press” marketing event but couldn’t make it, and so she sent me to attend and take notes. I got to hear John King speak – he’s an urban design writer for the Chronicle whom I really admire.

What is the biggest lesson you have learned here?
Put yourself out there and ask questions. Other interns have already said this, but it can’t be stressed enough. No one will fault you for not knowing the answer, and you can learn what you need to and move on.

What was the most surprising thing to you about your internship?
How relaxed and friendly people are here! Before I started I worried I would somehow be in over my head in the “corporate world,” but the people I worked with this summer were helpful and understanding, not to mention fun.

What advice would you give an incoming SmithGroup intern?
Put yourself in the places of the people you’re working with/for. What do they need from your end? What would they appreciate seeing from you?

What specifically is the coolest thing you’ve gotten to do this summer?
I’ve loved blogging for The Water Cooler, as well as writing for my external blog on issues of design and health. Attending the full range of office events – Bagel Design Reviews, BrownBag and GreenBag presentations, SGU Special Presentations  – and blogging about them has given me a great inside look at this company and the world of design.

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Anca Lungu, summer intern in the Healthcare studio, takes a break from her day to talk to me about her SmithGroup experience.

H: In one sentence, describe your internship.
A: It was a great learning experience that made me realize school does not teach you half of the things that you actually need to know.

H: What is your most memorable SmithGroup experience (for whatever reason)?
A: I think that my most memorable experience here was when they gave me a task that when I started my internship they did not think I was ready for. It made me think I improved myself over the course of my internship.

H: What is the biggest lesson you have learned here?
A: The communication between people is very important to create a good and productive environment.

H: What was the most surprising thing to you about your internship?
A: How people at SmithGroup work really hard but they also have the opportunity to have fun.

H: What advice would you give an incoming SmithGroup intern?
A: Never be scared to ask questions, even when everybody looks intimidating. They were all, at one point or another, in your shoes. Don’t ignore any chance that comes your way and also never think that you are not capable of doing something.

Another of the SmithGroup summer interns (although in an architecture studio rather than marketing) and a friend of mine, Sharon, finished her SmithGroup stint recently. Before she left I gave her a mini exit interview:

H: What one word would you use to describe your internship?
S: Awesome!

H: What is your most memorable SmithGroup experience (for whatever reason)?
S: So I called in sick Monday because I had a cold. Got a little better and came in Tuesday morning. Was told I would be going to the presentation meeting 15 minutes before leaving. I was excited but freaked out because I was mess and wasn’t dressed properly (I’m a girl, it does matter what we wear!). All in all, it was a rush, but very surreal and great experience. Got to do behind-the-scenes task and set up the materials on site.

H: What is the biggest lesson you have learned here?
S: No question is a stupid question. It’s stupid if you don’t ask it.

H: What was the most surprising thing to you about your internship?
S: My coworkers at SmithGroup were so supportive of me learning as much as possible about every aspect of architecture and interiors. I learned a lot more about the field and how many different tasks there can be. Glad I was able to learn so many bits and pieces!

H: What advice would you give an incoming SmithGroup intern?
S: Don’t be afraid to take any opportunity you get. You may feel uncomfortable, but if you’re comfortable, you’re not learning.
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My takeaway from her interview and from my own intern experience: New to a company/school/class/subject/city/any other setting?
THEN ASK QUESTIONS. Be confident, but don’t pretend you know it.
Because you don’t.