Student Jack Hutchens Works on Malibu Home Interior Design Project in Paid Internship
Interior Design Student Jack Hutchens, who will pursue a B.S. degree in Business Management after finishing his current degree program, is a paid intern at Heritage Interior Design where he's currently working on a home renovation in Malibu. The Temecula, California native first connected with FIDM while in high school, but ended up enrolled at Whittier College, where his mom was an alumna. Feeling disappointed with his experience there, Jack took it as a sign when an ad for FIDM turned up on his Instagram feed. We caught up with the transfer student to talk about his path to FIDM, favorite college experiences, and how he’s handling life during the coronavirus pandemic.
In light of coronavirus and the shift to online learning, how are you doing? It has been quite difficult adjusting to the change of online coursework as my major is very hands-on, but our support for one another has not changed. Majors at FIDM can be very small and mine is no exception. We've all kept in contact through all of the commotion and all try to conference call to work on assignments when we can. This really helps alleviate the disturbance that this virus has caused and allows us to focus on our craft. We all agree that it's so important to remain creative and try to do things that make us happy during this time as to avoid losing that creative spark.
How did you get a paid internship with Heritage Interior Design? I actually found the internship on FIDM’s Career Network. They have an amazing feature where you can save your resume and apply for multiple positions with just one click. A few hours after applying, I got a call from the owner asking, “Can you start tomorrow?”
What are your responsibilities in your internship? My experience has included mood boards, furniture selections, and even spatial planning. I work directly with the head designer and we collaborate on picking out different pieces for the house we're designing. It's mostly FF&E [furniture, fixtures, and equipment] work, but it's one of the most satisfying things to see it all completed. Every so often we meet with the client to go over our progress with them for approvals of our selections. I think my boss and I have pretty elaborate ideas, but it's so important to have those visualization skills and mood boards so you can communicate that with the client.
What was your path to FIDM? I first heard about FIDM through the fashion students at my high school. One friend in particular, Mikela, who was heavily involved in our fashion program, really brought the reality to me that I could attend for other majors as well. I was set on going to a traditional four-year school amidst all the stress from high school instructors that I needed to go to a school with a four-year degree and obtain my Bachelor's or I wouldn't amount to anything.
Back in 2015, I toured FIDM OC with my aunt and mother, and adored the campus, but it didn't seem 100 percent the place I imagined spending four years obtaining a degree. My mother told me about her college experience at Whittier and that gave me hope that I could manipulate my own degree through their Scholar’s Program. To my dismay, there were a lot of things that didn't turn out like I anticipated, such as housing and the overall education.
Tirelessly working on assignments, I distracted myself one afternoon in the middle of the semester and scrolled through Instagram where an ad for FIDM had been perfectly curated into my feed. I am not one to take signs lightly as I knew Whittier was not the choice for me. I went onto the FIDM website and took a closer look at the curriculum and called my advisor from two years ago, who shockingly still remembered my first encounter with her back in high school. Next thing I knew, I was putting on a hot pink tuxedo and marching into my interview at FIDM.
Any favorite lessons or FIDM experiences so far? I think working simultaneously in the industry really helps keep your mindset on the bigger picture. You learn so much from your jobs and internships that it cohesively works with your studies. I learn new things every day from FIDM and my internships that really inspire me to become a better designer each day.
On the daily, I am also surrounded by window displays from different students all over campus, which really helps to visually enhance my experience as I walk through the halls to my classes; even just coming back home after a long day and seeing my roommate work on collages with textural elements sets in the idea that I committed to this wonderful program and am learning so much from so many different people. I am surrounded by creativity and that's one of the best experiences FIDM can offer.