A wide range of design literature discusses the role of the studio and its related pedagogy in the development of designerly thinking. Potential factors that affect this development process are posed by scholars in a variety of design disciplines, but a full understanding of these factors as experienced from the student perspective is lacking. In this study, I examined the experiences of first-year design students as they develop patterns of thinking, including reported factors that affected the student’s development, both internal and external. Preliminary analysis of the data suggests that interpersonal relationships within the design program, along with cultural and experiential differences in team composition, are additional shaping factors that are not currently present in the design literature. Results of this study are expected to indicate further areas of research in design education, as well as a richer explanation of the student’s perspective in the context of developing design thinking.