Facilitated by the UC Berkeley Career Center externship program, I spent one week in January at Struthers Dias Architects, where I had the opportunity to see this firm in action. Far from the idealized world of architecture school, I was exposed to the real-world applications of architecture in practice. Gary, Theresa, and the other staff were kind enough to include me in several site visits, where I learned about construction techniques and the cycle that each project goes through. The process of making a real and fully functional building is never fully explained to undergraduate students until their last year in school and as a current senior, I am still learning many of the things that were introduced to me from my time spent with SDA. I cherish the parts that will never be taught in class; for example, during one of the site visits to a transitional housing project, we saw that the existing building had been looted. Copper wiring was stripped, sinks and toilets were gone and entire walls were torn, revealing studs, missing plumbing and adding further construction costs. The thieves also managed to make away with the building’s main water pressure pump, which surely weighed several hundred pounds.The second thing I observed very carefully was the collaboration of workers within SDA as well as collaboration between contractors, city officials, and clients. I was impressed how design proposals were open to all members in SDA and distribution of work did not pigeon-hole a single person to a single menial task. Having all employees know and do a little bit of everything unfortunately is not how all firms internally function. All graduating seniors in my college know that our fates as CAD monkeys is nearly certain but at least it’s a relief to know that firms like SDA exist where workers will not be banished to the world of drawing toilets for an indefinite amount time. This was my second time as an “extern” in a firm and it was a great introduction to the business of architecture. I am very appreciative to everyone at Struthers Dias Architectures for welcoming me into the firm and providing such an interesting and educational experience!