Student Mentors

Edwin Safo-Kwakye Jr.

Posted on by ums

I’m a recent graduate from Oregon State University whose major focus was structural engineering. I hail from Ghana and I’m currently working in
a structural engineering consulting firm in Olympia, WA.

 Edwin tell us about the early stages of your life

Growing up in Ghana, I was blessed to have a father who taught me to shoot for the moon and if I missed I will surely land among the stars. He instilled in me a sense of hard work and unrelenting perseverance.

Coupled with my Christian upbringing of faith in God and doing the right thing always, I began to forge my path in life with a few simple mantras; to speak the truth always and to put my trust in God and never give up in my endeavors.

-Take us on a journey detailing how you got to where you are today ?

Langston Hughes said it best when he once wrote “Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly.” It had always been a dream of mine to become an engineer because I was always a curious child. I asked a lot of questions and nagged my parents until they gave me answers which satisfied my curiosity. It became evident to me that my future career will be well served as an engineer. I investigated the field of engineering and realized that I was fascinated by buildings and structures. I wanted to know how they stood against the elements and how they were built. This is what eventually led me to study structural engineering at the university.

The journey wasn’t easy; it took a great deal of perseverance, hard work, dedication coupled with passion and focus in order to be successful. One should have an innate belief in their pursuits so that the cells in their body, all vibrate to the tune that they’ve set. Choose a mantra that you can constantly rely on whenever your will power is depleted. It will be a good tool to remind you of what your priorities are when you have to make a decision between attending a social event before finishing your assignments and readings.

My biggest inspiration to continue when times were difficult was my family and my friends. Every journey has its ups and downs and with it comes triumphs and struggles. You should share your struggles and joys with the people you love; they have a special way of magnifying your joys and alleviating your pain when you share with them.

What were your greatest obstacles and how did you overcome them?

One of my greatest obstacles was learning how to manage my time effectively. It is one thing to have a system in place to guide you through your day as you wade through tasks, and it is another thing to have an effective system which makes sure that every key task on your to-do list is achieved. I worked and attended university, so I had to find a way to attain balance in my life. I knew what my priorities were i.e. to achieve academic success-so I had to make sure to always put that first.

In order to achieve balance, I used a simple organizer and tracked my tasks, events and assignments through my day. I wrote out everything I had to do and checked them off the list as i completed them. I made sure to prioritize by completing all tasks in my organizer before attending an impromptu event.

As a mentor what advice would you give to others wishing to achieve your level of success?

To all those seeking to achieve success in their various fields be it work, school, relationships etc. I would like to point out that you are at the right place if you are reading this now. The objective of this website is to provide you with the right tools to equip you in your endeavor. Remember that the road to success is often a long and bumpy one and there are days you might want to quit but never give up and always look towards your long term goals as a source of inspiration. Finally, never forget that “nothing good comes easy, it takes much practice and hard work”

How important is it to have the right mindset ?

The book of Proverbs states that “as a man thinks in his heart, so is he”. Having the right mindset in life affirms to yourself that whatever you want to achieve, you will, because you believe you can.



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