Hello ladies and gentlemen, I know it has been far too long since I last made a blog post so I have triumphantly returned to provide you with the entertainment and insight you so ravenously crave. “I’m a storyteller; that’s what exploration really is all about. Going to places where others haven’t been and returning to tell a story they haven’t heard before,” (James Cameron).

I could talk about the news that reportedly rapper DMX (made famous by songs such as “Get at Me Dog,” “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem,” “Who We Be,” and “Where the Hood At?” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ThlhSnRk21E) has agreed to fight the infamous George Zimmerman (who was found not guilty of second degree murder and manslaughter of Florida youth Trayvon Martin) on March 1st 2014 (what would have been Trayvon’s nineteenth birthday). Yes this is a real thing that is really going to happen and I am just as confused, sad, and disgusted as you are.

I could talk about American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=blEEIsGC3zA) announcing he will run for Congress as a Democrat in his home state of North Carolina. For Clay’s sake I hope the North Carolina Senate race is decided via a karaoke contest because if not his track record shows he is likely to finish in second (sorry Clay!).

However, I am not going to talk about either of those things. I want to talk about courage. More specifically the courage that has been exemplified by the MSEL Junior class. When all of us first joined MSEL we were put in a tough situation. “Hey you guys are the first class so everything that you do will have never been done before and we have no idea how it is going to go or what problems there will be or how we will solve those problems.” Sounds fun right? (That’s a rhetorical question for you english aficionados out there).

But as sarcastic as that question seemed it turned out to be very true. It was an amazing first two years because we as a class had the courage to perceiver through the trials and tribulations that we faced and explore the uncharted territory of what being in MSEL could be like. We were on some Lewis and Clark Expedition level stuff. Of course I think we all would look back and ask ourselves what the heck we were thinking in a few situations but we all kind of do that right? I hope that isn’t just me… However, we have all gained immense amounts of knowledge and leadership skills along the way which is the whole purpose of MSEL. We have come across some situations recently that have really put the skills to the test. This is a good thing, as stated by Gail Sheehy, “To be tested is good. The challenged life may be the best therapist.”

To cope with these issues we had a bit of a group therapy session recently in our MSEL Engineering class (it wasn’t quite like this one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMIDpJ8H7H0). Ms. Oropallo recognized some of the issues we had been having and gave us a proper forum to voice and discuss those issues. This was a moment when our skills would be put to the test and we had to demonstrate our courage. We had to have the courage to stand up an express ourselves in a constructive manner.

Not that I am in any position to judge but I was really impressed by how our class handled the situation. Everybody was given a turn to voice their concerns and opinions in a respectful and intelligent way. It was a true demonstration of the leadership skills and courage we had gained from our time in MSEL and it was shown (technically within a classroom) but outside the usual classroom scenario. Without getting to far into the details of the issues themselves we came up with a positive way to address and fix those issues using the skills we had gleaned from being in MSEL. The issues aren’t really the important part anyway. The important part is our demonstration of leadership in a stressful situation. As Colin Powell said, “Leadership is solving problems.”

Those are the kind of skills (not knowing how to solve a trigonometric equation or write an expository essay) that are going to make us more successful in college and beyond that. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that high school is such a small part of our life time-wise because so much change occurs within a person. So much growth has happened between when we came in as starry-eyed (a little Ellie Goulding anybody? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fBf2v4mLM8k&feature=kp) freshmen. We have had the courage to grow, the courage to change, the courage to evolve. Growth can be a scary thing and you need to have the courage to face it and embrace it, not ignore it . “The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” (Nelson Mandela).

MSEL is never going to be a perfect thing for our class (we are the “guinea pig” group after all) but with our courage and perseverance we can face any situation and conquer it. Now I know I got a little deep (and maybe slightly corny) there in that blog so I leave you with this trio of very entertaining videos https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVrJ8DxECbg   , https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHh28fjxNg4  , https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ohJtvuCAsp4. Till next time folks. Keep it tropical.


  1. Ethan I love how you always put humor in your blogs! It flowed so well! You are a very great writer! I also Liked how you put the Youtube videos in blog so the reader can really see what you are talking about. Great work!

  2. Ethan!! I am so glad you are back at school and feeling better! I liked that you used quotes from different sources. It kept it interesting! I also enjoyed remembering freshman year and the challenges we went through which we can now learn from!

  3. Ethan, I love your blog and how it’s similar to a report, which I think is really creative. Not only did you provide insight into MSEL and us as juniors, but you talked about our strengths as a team and just how connected we are, expressed through our “therapy” session. I personally think your blog is a great depiction of us and you did a great job!

  4. Ethan – Thank you so much for providing me with the opportunity to read your writing, for which I ravenously crave. I’ve been sitting at my computer counting down the minutes until your blog was posted… Not really… But I did enjoy how you referenced some interesting events in the beginning, it really made me want to continue on. I love how sensitive and emotional you got as well, it was so cute!

  5. Awesome blog, Ethan! It’s true, the MSEL Junior class does have a lot of courage, and I, too, was impressed by how we handled our group therapy session. I loved the links throughout your blog as well. It’s good to know that your humor remains undamaged by your illness. Hope you get better soon!

  6. Nice job Ethan! That was really funny. I really like how you put in references to current day events and pop culture. It makes it interesting to read. Also, you managed to do this while being absent for about a week…that’s crazy. Overall awesome job! Keep it up.

  7. Great blog, glad you found the time to write this even though you’ve been sick for so long. Definitely a lot of supplemental materials added: quotes, videos, etc and good jokes. Your writing sounds just like how you talk. Feel better soon!

  8. Ethan, I liked your introduction to this blog and all the quotes embedded in this! I definately agree that it felt good to reflect in our engineering class about the issues we had! anyways, great blog! See you in 0 period!

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