From Fangirling to Interning

Swetha’s summer with Madhouse
Swetha at Madhouse HQ
Swetha at Madhouse HQ

To say I was fangirling over Madhouse before I was hired as an intern would be an understatement. Hi, I’m Swetha and I am a UI/UX designer in the School of Information at the University of Michigan.

As a rising junior, the past couple of years of college have been a rollercoaster ride and finding out my interests was the hardest task. My passion for design and understanding of the user experience is relatively new to me, so I was extremely daunted by a hands-on internship, let alone one at a studio as experienced and amazing at design as Madhouse. But I am happy to say that the feeling of impending doom has passed and I am so incredibly grateful that I got this opportunity to step out of my comfort zone at Madhouse.

From the first week, I was given the opportunity to sit in on client meetings and share my thoughts about a user’s experience on projects with everyone involved. As a student with a newfound interest in website development, I was really scared to make design decisions. But this feeling passed very quickly as I was encouraged to make choices, even if they bordered on definite design don’ts.

From this encouragement came constructive criticism, and infinite mentorship on how to use different techniques and platforms to create everything from site maps to small animations. The amount of knowledge I have gained is unparalleled to anything I have experienced and I cannot be more grateful.

Swetha at a Sathabhishekam in Chennai
Swetha at a Sathabhishekam in Chennai
Brihadisvara Temple, Thanjavur
Brihadisvara Temple, Thanjavur
Taj Mahal, Agra
Taj Mahal, Agra
Gyarah Murti Statue, New Delhi
Gyarah Murti Statue, New Delhi

After coming back from a three-week trip to India, this appreciation grew exponentially. I learned that a lot of design comes from inspiration in the real world. And as I traveled India, I found myself noticing small things I learned at Madhouse and finding comfort in the fact that the things I find inspiring in my culture and being Indian-American were valued in my work environment. From showing pictures to talking about my experiences growing up as an Indian-American, the people at Madhouse made me feel like there is a place for me in the workplace. And this is something that I never thought could be possible.

I think a lot of first-generation kids can attest to this; that sometimes it’s really hard to explain who you are, and feel like you are the right person. Whether that’s too American, too Indian, or just not enough of either. This mindset has followed me my whole life and was not one I thought I would be able to shake, let alone in a job setting. I will forever be grateful to the Madhouse staff for making me feel like I didn’t have to change or be anything but me in order to succeed.

Striking a pose during a vid shoot at the Glass City Center
Striking a pose during a vid shoot at the Glass City Center