Laying Out LinesSmash! Smash! Saaamash! No I am not referring to the video,, of the infamous hatchet-wielding hitchhiker named Kai. I am talking about the sound of me attempting to build a simple wooden box this week in engineering class. I swung my hammer at the nails over and over, with minimal success, when I finally realized that I didn’t drill holes into the wood for the nails to fit into. I then had to rip out all the nails I had just spent way too much time hammering in. I started to feel a sense of joy as I started to hammer in the last set of nails after fixing this problem. Then I heard a resounding crack, no not the song by 2 Chainz, and saw a gaping hole in my box. Due to my previous improper hammering the wood had become splintered and when I started hammering the nails in again it just split in half.

You can imagine how dejected I felt in that moment. I know I’m not the world’s greatest (a fantastic song by R. Kelly) builder but I mean come on I can’t even build a wooden box. Our teacher Ms. Oropallo’s facial expression said it all when I told her I had broken my box. I could tell she was thinking “Seriously this guy can’t put together a box. How is he going to build a fence, or a windmill, or something that is actually difficult to build.” In my defense I literally had never built anything out of wood before in my life. It also didn’t help that pretty much everybody else in the class built their box perfectly.

But hey it isn’t that far into the year so I always have time to improve. With the help of Ms. Oropallo and my fellow classmates I know I can greatly improve my skills over the course of the year. Maybe I wont be a master builder but I can at least become an adequate one. As the great American singer Kelly Clarkson once said, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” I don’t think breaking a wooden box can kill you therefore I am now stronger.

For those of you that read this post, I hope my tale of trial and triumph has inspired you. If the story of a boy and his broken box doesn’t make you want to go out and run up a mountain you might want to get your pulse checked. I now leave you with this. “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou. Hopefully this blog post made you feel something.


  1. Great blog Ethan, your story really is inspiring. I thought I was the only one who struggled at first, but you know it does get better; as you said, it makes you stronger. Now that we have built up our skills and actually worked with a lot of wood, I feel very confident in my abilities. Good job!

  2. I know exactly how you must’ve felt as I also had difficulties putting the box together. I loved your blog! I read it as if you were reading it to me. I loved the 2 Chainz line. I was great looking back at this and reading it because now, at the end of the first semester, i am pretty sure you can now put a box together. The skills that Ms.O has taught us will stay with us forever.

  3. This blog post definitely captures your personality and sends some strong messages: Never give up and Ethan likes R. Kelly. I enjoyed the Angelou quote at the end! Cool to look back and remember how we all struggled in the beginning of the year, but look at us now! We ripped out cement posts to build our fence, designed our own wind turbines and tested them, and are now learning how to draw the turbine on the expensive and valuable program Autodesk Inventor which we get to use for free. We’ve really achieved some great stuff and gained a lot of engineering experience this semester!

  4. You definitely did not write the generic blog, which made it interesting! Good job! Also, I feel you on the no experience thing. It makes it difficult but also more fun because we’re learning something new.

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