A Graduate’s Perspective - From Academia to Practice

June 02, 2016

My name is Filipe Pereira, and I have just joined the Crosskey team after graduating in April from the Masters of Architecture program at Wentworth Institute of Technology. A Connecticut resident for most of my youth, I knew I wanted to return to the Hartford area once I completed my degrees. During my collegiate years, I was an intern at four different Hartford firms. One was national, one regional, and the others local. These experiences allowed me to discover early on what I wanted post-graduation. I have been working at Crosskey Architects for about a month now, and couldn’t be happier.

During my time as a student, I valued everything that was offered—from the on-campus activities to the generous amount of time my mentors gave. I understood that they had their own busy lives, yet they still took the time to help me. This was something that I was fortunate enough to have had experienced during high school as an ACE Mentor student. This mentorship program ties high school students around the country with professionals in the fields of Architecture, Construction and Engineering. Students and mentors meet weekly in a classroom-like setting to develop a hypothetical project, starting with Site Analysis and working through Design Development. Upon completion, these projects are presented to friends, family, and other local ACE chapters. Being that the projects lend themselves to be as “real world” as possible, the experience that these students receive is quite unique, given that they are still in high school. I am looking forward to becoming a mentor myself, bringing my perspective as an emerging professional to the students this fall.

The transition from a studio culture to an office culture has been rather seamless. I attribute this in large part to who we are as a firm; a collective group of individuals with different backgrounds collaboratively working to revitalize old communities, repurpose forgotten structures and create architecture that inspires—many of the same traits that I found in my graduate studio.

Perhaps the most significant difference between academia and “the real world” has been the work-life balance. In the realm of academia there is no “going home,” where home is defined as a work-free zone. Your work constantly follows you, begging for every moment of your spare time. I am happy and relieved to write that my post-graduate experience is not quite the same.

Working at a firm that values a work-life balance is refreshing and reassuring. We live in a day and age where technology has pushed us into a mentality of instant access and updates, all through a couple of taps on our smartphones. There is no doubt in my mind that we are, more than ever, very connected to our work—some might even say too connected. There is value in being able to establish a clear division between “work” and “life”!

All in all, I am very excited to be a part of the Crosskey team. I know I won’t be “just another number” here, and I look forward to what the future brings!


By Filipe Pereira, LEED Green Associate


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