Episode 18: Lessons From An Architecture ‘Underdog’ – Interview With Ulysses Valiente

Know your strengths. Capitalise on them. But also…work on your other skills or weaknesses. It doesn’t hurt.


This week I had the opportunity to chat with Ulysses Valiente, the founder of the Underdog Architecture Student’s blog, which he describes as “Your online architecture school survival guide”. Love it!

It’s an incredible resource for all architecture students out there, and certainly one I wish I had when I was an architecture student.

(Oh, and I also want to thanks Ulysses for inviting me to write a guest post this week. Be sure to check it out!)

Anyone who is or has been a design student knows how difficult design school can be, and Ulysses is no different. So I was keen to discover what he has learned during his time as a student, and his advice for students who may be feeling like a bit of an ‘underdog’ themselves.

In this episode we chat about:

  • Why Ulysses started the blog
  • How he found the transition from studying in high school to studying at university
  • How he dealt with falling behind in studio and what he learned from it
  • His ‘Two Things’ about improvisational comedy (and how it relates to presenting in studio!)
  • How improv classes have given him skills he is now applying to  his design career
  • Why your grades won’t determined your success in the real world
  • His top 3 things he sees architecture students struggling with
  • How to avoid getting ‘ripped apart’ by guest critics during your presentation

How to get in touch with Ulysses:

Blog: http://underdog-arch-student.com/
Give him some Facebook love: https://www.facebook.com/underdogarchstudent
Follow him on Twitter: https://twitter.com/UnderdogArchStu

Check out one of Ulysses’ favourite speakers:

Challenge of the Week

Ulysses and I spoke about how you should focus on your strengths, but also work on your weaknesses. So this week, I challenge you to think about and write down:

  1. What your strengths are, and how you can use them to make you and your work stand out.
  2. ONE SKILL or area of weakness that you can work on, and what you can do to improve upon it.

What are your thoughts?