Karina is studying Interactive Design at Valencia. She had the opportunity to intern with Florida Hospital as a Design Intern.
Tell us about your internship experience.
I loved working at Florida Hospital. They have such a visible brand around Orlando, so I was intimidated but excited to have the chance to work on something so well known. One of the main projects I worked on was the “Someday” billboards that you see along I-4. I had my own desk on the design floor, and I was assigned tasks to work on each day just like the other designers. I loved that it was always something different, from designing letterhead for one of the doctor’s offices to designing a t-shirt for colon cancer awareness month! Everyone was very helpful, and I really felt like part of the team.
What type of experiences and skills did you learn during your internship?
While I’ve really honed my design skills at Valencia, I had no concept of how those skills could translate into a real world job. It was hard for me to imagine what a design job would look like. At Florida Hospital, I got to see one example of how a major company manages their process. I saw how all the designers work together, and how a single project passes through so many hands. This was the most valuable lesson for me. I got to use their project management software, and I got to see how a typical design team works together.
What was the most important lesson you learned during your internship?
Like I said, just being part of a design team helped me visualize my future career. At school, we do projects alone and while we get feedback from our teachers and peers, you’re the only designer on that project. In the real world, it could be 4 different designers working on different steps of the design process. Now that I have this experience under my belt, I feel more confident walking into my first job as a designer.
What advice would you offer to students about internships?
Don’t be afraid to socialize. “Networking” is such a scary word to me, but you can start by just chatting with your coworkers at your internship. Be curious and ask questions. I took several opportunities to go to lunch with some people on the team, and it was a great way to get to know them a bit better and make those connections. You never know when they’ll have an opportunity for you!
Were you offered a job with the organization at the end of your internship? If so, what is your new position?
Unfortunately my internship site does not typically hire interns off the bat, but the creative director and my supervisor both offered to help me navigate the local design industry. That’s where I’m at now, applying to different positions and trying to find a good fit!