Ever since freshman year I have been looking forward to engineering class. I couldn’t wait to start building things even though I had no idea where to even start. In the first week of class all I remember is Ms. Oropallo telling us how every tool would cut off our limbs if we weren’t super careful. This freaked me out because I’m super squeamish when it comes to things like blood and severed body parts. I was really scared to use some of the tools because of this. When we were making spoons at the beginning of the school year we had to learn how to use the band saw. I was pretty freaked out by it because Ms. Oropallo told us that it could slice through a bone like butter if we didn’t pay attention. I remember telling her that I was scared to use it and she said, “Good, you should be scared of most of the tools in here.” Not the encouragement I was looking for but I just decided that if everyone else could use it and not slice their hands off, then I could too. I have been able to use most of the tools now without being too scared. There are still some tools I don’t want to use, like the table saw and nail gun, but hopefully with practice I can feel confident enough to use them without fear of sawing off my leg or poking my eyes out.

Building a chicken coop has been a really unique experience for me. I had never really built something before this class and it has been really fun learning how to build something from the ground up. I am really proud of what my group has done so far, especially considering none of us are experienced builders. That being said we have had our struggles. The big thing my group and I just can’t perfect is measurements. We don’t know how, but somehow something is always off and has to be redone. Despite being set back by our measurement mishaps, we have gotten a lot done and have learned so much from building. I can’t wait to finish building my chicken coop and for my group to be able to see all the hard work we’ve done right before our eyes. I hope whoever buys our coop will appreciate all the work that we put into it as well.

Having an engineering class has been an amazing opportunity and I am so lucky I was able to take this class. One of the individual projects we built at the beginning of the school year was tool boxes. Ms. Oropallo told us what we needed to do, did a quick example, and set us loose. I thought it would be impossible to build a tool box all by myself, but it turned out to be pretty easy and it was really fun to make. I am still so proud of my toolbox because I built it all by myself (and maybe a lot Ms. Oropallo’s help). I am not at all an artistic person but I was able to put a beautiful design into my box by using the 3D printer. I think being able to fix things around a house is a really important skill that people should know. By having engineering class I was able to learn how to use so many different tools and I still may not know what they’re all called, but I at least know their purpose and how to use them. I don’t think I’m confident enough to fix things around my house all by myself yet, but I now have a basic understanding of what should be done so I am able to help fix it. I feel that a lot of people think learning how to build things will be super difficult and takes years to learn. While it does take years to become a great builder and to have confidence using every tool, learning how to build can be quite easy and fun when you have a great teacher and you enjoy who you’re working with. My class is a perfect example of how anyone can learn how to build and make something amazing and have fun while doing it too.


  1. I totally agree that a lot of the tools were super scary at the beginning of the year. It’s been so great having you in our group and I’m so proud of us and you for overcoming our squeemishness and becoming comfortable with our abilities! Great job this year!

  2. Katie, I want to assure you that we are all squeamish of severed parts. Your narrative on everything is wonderful! It gives light to a different perspective on the dangers and hardships of the school year so far. I think that, although you were scared at first, you have made amazing advances in your abilities.
    Keep it going Katie!

  3. Good blog Katie, I wouldn’t worry too much about getting everything perfect. Like Hannah Montana says nobody is perfect! you’ll always learn from your mistakes and your coop is going to look great.

  4. Katie, I am also squeamish when it comes to severed body parts, so I can relate there. I thought your post was very honest and well done. I do agree with you that one of the biggest frustrations of the class is that our calculations are so often inaccurate, but we will get better with time.

  5. Katie! I was also pretty scared when I was thrown into the class second semester. All the power tools were very intimidating and I enjoyed your recounts of Ms. O’s gentle but straightforward reminders not to fool around. Thank you for your honesty!

  6. Fear is a good thing!! The tools are scary and u will get frustrated a lot but Your going to learn everyday and hopefully feel absolutely comfortable by the end of the year. Your coop looks SO good and I can’t wait to see who buys it!!

  7. haha I feel like every tool in that class could kill us, but you look super comfortable using all of them! your coop looks amazing, as done your spoon and toolbox! I relate to the troubles of measuring but we got this!

  8. I was super nervous using the band saw too! But you chop wood with such confidence and ease, I would’ve never known you were scared. My group has also had problems with measuring things and we’ve had to take everything apart redo it so many times. Excellent blog!

  9. I’m still scared of the table saw and the nail gun too!!! I hope we can both overcome those fears soon. Also, your tool box is so pretty. I remember seeing it after it was finished and I was like whoa, who’s box is that? I was very jealous as mine is super ugly. I agree with you about the satisfaction of building something from the ground up, its great.

  10. Awe, Katie this is such an embodiment of your adorableness! Fear isn’t by any means a bad thing, fear is an evolutionary asset that keeps us all alive! Building in-spite of fear is awfully brave and something to be proud of! I love our lil-measurement impaired group 🙂 Great job!

  11. Your blog was so good Katie! I definitely agree with you that all the tools at the beginning seemed super scary especially because we could lose a limb. I think your coop is looking great so far and I can’t wait to see what it looks like in the end.

  12. Tools are scary! But once I got comfortable I felt SO POWERFUL and it is probably good practice to learn about them (but I felt 100% the same). Also we are STILL having measurement problems so you are all good. I think you really conveyed the impact that it has on all of us, and it is just wonderful, Katie!

  13. Nice blog Katie!! I completely emphasize with your fear to use the machines but now I think it’s pretty fun. I also do hink it’s really cool that we’re actually able to design and make the coops ourselves and I’m super happy that Ms. O is always so helpful!

  14. I remember her telling us about how dangerous the tools were, it kind of scared me too. I totally agree that the whole chicken coop experience has been amazing, since we built it on our own. I can’t wait to see what your coop turns out to be!

  15. I’ll admit that I was scared at the beginning myself, Mrs. O needs to practice on her encouragement skills. I also understand that if she didn’t say how dangerous the tools we use with exaggeration, we wouldn’t treat them like tools we would treat them like toys. I’m just happy I haven’t injured myself yet knowing how clumsy I am.

  16. Great blog Katie,
    I enjoyed how you said that none of us at the beginning of the year were experienced builders and that did not matter as Mrs. O taught us how to use the tools and we caught on fast.

  17. I really liked your blog Katie! I can agree with you that I had never built anything before this class and building from the ground up is very thrilling. I can also agree that I am not good at perfecting my measurements, it takes a lot of skill to do.

  18. Great blog Katie! I totally get how frustrating measurements can be, we all struggled with that at the beginning. I feel like we all learn a little bit everyday, and just get a bit better at building everyday! Cant wait to see your guys finished coop!

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