Lessons Learned

I feel like I have learned so much already since coming to Seattle, both at work (especially) and in simple life lessons. For instance, it seems that everything I have done at work has been a means of learning. Though everything I have done seems familiar and I am sure I have done something in coursework once before, the application of it makes it so different. I am actually amazed at all of the different assignments I have been given at work. The variety is truly something I never would have guessed as even my professors warned me that structural engineering can get repetitive once out in industry. Hah! So far I have:

  • Done a seismic analysis on a 8 story existing moment frame building on top of a light rail tunnel.
  • Done a seismic analysis on a theoretical 11 story building on top of a subway station with a structural concrete core.
  • Designed a temporary raker system for excavation at a station site. Far more detailed than I would have ever guessed, having to check the bearing strength of the concrete and soil, sizing the steel strut member, designing the fillet weld to the steel brace plate, checking the punching shear of the concrete base, and checking the shear resistance of the anchor bolts. Seriously 10 pages of hand calculations for a temporary support system?
    Detailed layout of members and steps of excavation in Autocad Civil 3D.
    Determined the structural properties of existing building abutting an excavation site using two very different methods, one for the concrete diaphragm and one for the masonry walls.
  • Designed a secant pile wall using a program called Shoring Suite that I had never used before.
  • Learning the newest program called SAFE to model the potential high rise to determine the loads on the columns, to size the columns so that the estimation department can provide cost scenarios for various heights/stories of the building.

Outside of work I have been taught many tips on buying and preparing fish and seafood. I have learned how to clean and dehead shrimp. I have learned a few Creole dishes and tried them for the first time ever. I have learned many methods and tips of roasting, storing, grinding, buying, and brewing coffee. I have learned how to scout out good airfare. I have learned where to park my scooter for free downtown and where not to (first parking ticket). I have learned to weather and landscape variations of Washington. I have learned that the buses here run frequently but may disregard their schedule and fail to get back on track. I have learned that it is very hard to walk by three Starbucks on the way to work though the walk is only two blocks. I have learned that flannel is the go-to dress for Seattle males and I may or may not diapprove of this. I have learned that wearing high heels downtown is very hard due to the steep hills. I have learned that it is harder going down large hills in high heels than up.

I have finally learned some wines I do like and some I don’t. I do not particularly care for Merlot or Chardonnay. I like Cabs, Pinots (of all kinds), Malbecs, of course wines from Rioja, and Reisling for an after dinner wine. I learned I do not like rum and cokes anymore, at all. I realize I still have never tried an oyster. I realized that I missed gelato a lot and may prefer it over frozen yogurt actually. I learned that a good middle eastern restaurant cannot be taken for granted. That hour long chats with friend Stephanie (not real name) from Ann Arbor on Monday nights are so necessary. That yoga really is a beautiful thing and something I am going to start being a regular at again. That I love reading on the bus. That dinner parties, both spontaneous or planned are soooooooo much fun! That I feel so lucky to have a close girlfriend in Seattle.


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