I got a chance to sit down with two engineering students at U-M today and talk about their paths in school and eventual career. It gave me a chance to distill my own path and try and apply what lessons I’ve learned to their situations.
First, I would have loved to have these discussions when I was a student – I felt equally lost as to what career options were available to me as these young men I spoke with today.
Second, I appreciated the chance to give of my own time to potentially help these guys understand their current path and maybe help make future decisions.
One of the students I spoke with kept commenting that “that sounds cool”. He said he was probably saying that too much. It gave me a slight ego boost, thinking, “yeah, my experiences have been really cool when you lay them out like this”. I’ve tried to express that there are always high points and low points, but I’ve tried to work on things I find interesting and keep my attention. I believe I have succeeded in this.
One recommendation I’ve made based to them was that there are many things you can learn on the job – most of everyone’s job is learned on the job. But there are things you can’t teach and hiring committees look for in people from the start:
- Work Ethic
You can technically teach these things, but they are incredibly difficult to instill in people that don’t have them. Recruiters will be looking for these things, whether they express it or not.
I hope to continue this face-to-face mentoring and other interactions with existing students.