Six Lessons to Students and Young Engineers

Issue #7
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Six Lessons to Students and Young Engineers

By Luis Duque | Issue #7

This week I gave a presentation to a group of students at Metro State University in Denver for which I am the practitioner advisor. They wanted to know what is some advice I had for them once they graduate. This is a really interesting topic to me and one I like to talk about a lot because I struggled a lot during that transition.

I did not find a structural engineering internship job as a student. I had great grades, I was really involved with ASCE and EWB, but I could not get a job. At the time it just seem like bad luck, but looking back I can’t stop but wonder if it was because I was an international student.

Nevertheless, most of you know the other side of the story, the one where I was named a New Face of Civil Engineering in 2020 by ASCE, be part of various committees in leadership and business practices, and worked in small communities in South and Central America through EWB to provide them with clean water.

All of these challenges taught me many lessons even if it seemed like I was heading nowhere at the time. Here are 6 lessons I learned during that time:

  1. Ask a lot of questions early on.
  2. Keep record of everything you do, you will need it down the road. (especially new calculation you do).
  3. Get involved with professional organizations. This will help you develop the skills you need to be successful as well as grow your network.
  4. Find the why of your motivation and the how will come naturally.
  5. Never let others define who you are, you are in control of your future.
  6. If you persevere in everything you love, people will appreciate what you do and doors will open.

I recorded the presentation and it will come out on the podcast next week if you would like to hear it. Make sure you are subscribed to the podcast so it gets downloaded it automatically.

Remember that it is so much easier to connect the dots looking backwards so don’t get discouraged if you are going through a rough time – keep persevering, better times will come!

Until next but for now, let’s continue Engineering our Future


Quote of the Week

In one of the most cited studies of expert problem solving ever conducted, an interdisciplinary team of scientists came to a pretty simple conclusion: successful problem solvers are more able to determine the deep structure of a problem before they proceed to match a strategy to it.

From Range by David Epstein resurfaced using Readwise

This Week's Favorites

  1. Tweet: The best way to learn something is to teach it. Great tweet by James Clear.
  2. Podcast Clip: This story of how Bill Murray says “no” to almost every opportunity is fascinating.
  3. Book: I recently started reading The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris. I have been wanting to start reading this book for a little while now. I have heard is an amazing book with amazing insights into doing more of what we love and less of what we hate in an efficient way. So far it is a 10/10.

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