Hailey Fink – Common App Essay Question #2. The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

When you are young and exploring the world, you think everyone is on your side. You feel encouraged to pursue any dream you might have, whether it is to become president, a doctor, an astronaut, or a rock star. I’ve always wanted to be an inventor, an engineer, and throughout my childhood, I was encouraged to pursue this passion. As I grew older, I discovered that engineering is not a career that many women pursue. I also become aware that women entering this field face prejudices and stigmas. However, I refused to let these challenges deter me from following my dream.

The pursuit of my chosen career was progressing well until I encountered the first person who doubted my abilities and motivation. In my junior year of high school, I founded a Society of Women Engineers Club in hopes of recruiting and engaging others like me. The club’s first project was to build an electric vehicle and race it in a regional competition. Once the club and car-building project was in motion, a problem arose that I was not expecting. Although one would typically expect encouragement from an advisor, my club was met with skepticism from our advisor. It seemed that he did not believe we could successfully achieve our goal.

This is the first time my dream was challenged. His actions and discouraging comments suggested that he doubted our dedication, skills, and abilities, and we could find no reason for his skepticism other than the fact that we were girls. Didn’t he see how hard had I had worked to recruit members? Couldn’t he see how everyone was working hard and enjoying doing real hands-on work? I feared that the project would be taken away from our club. For the first time, I started to feel powerless and doubted my own abilities. Maybe I should give up. Maybe an engineer was not what I was meant to be, I worried. Despite these new feelings of self-doubt, as president of the club, I took it upon myself to run interference between our advisor and our members, keeping everyone motivated and our build on schedule. The SWE Club worked hard and successfully completed the project.

While finishing the car and racing it was empowering, we still needed to resolve the conflict with our advisor. I decided that we needed to confront him with our grievances before we attempted any new projects. We met with our advisor and discussed how his negative comments were discouraging and tried to assure him that female engineers wanted to be treated no differently than male engineers. We communicated how we thought the club could be more successful with a strong partnership built on mutual respect and teamwork.

While somewhat defensive at first, our advisor was ultimately receptive to our concerns and agreed that the current environment was not conducive to the club’s success. He reluctantly realized that his actions, while not intentional, were impacting the club. In the end, we agreed on a constructive path forward. We were able to show him that female engineers can rise above stereotypes and just be engineers.

Leaving our meeting I felt reinvigorated about the club and myself. I told myself that I would never again let anyone’s preconceptions get in the way of me achieving my personal goals.

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Unlocking Your Creative Side is the Key to this Artwork that Re-Purposes Door Hardware



Finished project hanging just inside our front door.

As most of you know, I like to cruise the thrift stores looking for projects that spark some imagination inside. The only thing that revs me up more than a trip to a thrift store is going to an architectural salvage shop. I’ve been to Second Chance a time or two, but always leave feeling unfulfilled. They have some great stuff there, but I always Continue reading

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Man Builds Time Machine out of Art Deco Armoire or TARDIS Storage Cabinet With More Room on the Inside

tardis-before-afterDo what I do. Hold tight and pretend it’s a plan!


This is a story about time travel. Well sort of… It is a story about the creation of a time machine/space craft or more specifically Time And Relative Dimension in Space (TARDIS). It has taken me a while to create this post due to the fact the Time Lords were not on my side. This project took a long time to complete. I have to travel back in time to when it all started. Over a year ago, I was thinking of making a TARDIS storage container. I just wanted a basic one like everyone else has. You might be asking yourself, why a TARDIS storage container, but you already know the answer. That’s right, because it’s larger on the inside. Continue reading

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Industrial Coffee Table From Tired Goodwill Find

img_8688While searching through the goodwill, I saw this table that I thought had potential. I had just finished redoing my family room (I’ll post that adventure someday) and I was looking for a coffee table to put in front of the new couch. in the middle of a bunch of press-wood IKEA type furniture and some old flowery sofas, I saw this glass and metal table and thought it had some features. I this it was priced at $25 and I figured the tempered table top was worth at least that much, even if my “remodel” did not work out. I likes the metal crisscross pattern underneath the glass, but it seemed kind of useless with the gaping holes that it Continue reading

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From Old School to Real Cool (chair re-due)

Finished Chair

Finished Chair

I’ve been looking for a desk chair for a small desk upstairs. The desk currently has a padded wheeled chair but honestly it is not very comfortable. Also, If you know me, I am a bit of a chair snob. Well not really a snob, but I do have preferences and it is hard for me to get past them. The number one thing I like in a desk chair is a nice firm back.

I guess I like firmness in other chairs as well. When we were looking for a dining room set, we would find nice tables but when I’d test out the chairs I’d turn the set down. It took a while till we found a set that both looked good and had chairs I approved of. Continue reading

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Spending Time ON the Dog House

finishedYes, yes, it is true! I like to keep things around the house “just in case” there is a need for it later. This is not a habit (read: borderline hording) that is favored by everyone in the house. If I am not freecycling something, I find myself removing the hardware and any other useful bits I might find a need for later and stowing them away for another day.

There is nothing the naysayers like less then when I pull out some item that is perfectly suited for the next project.

One such day when my store of items came in handy was in creating a game storage center for the Humane Society of Harford County (HSHC). Working on a Girl Scouts contribution project, we looked at the Society’s  wish list where I saw that they needed some sort of container for games and crafts. I assumed that they kept these around for kids to play with while the parents filled out paperwork.

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Electrifying Ye Old Kerosene Lamp

Copper and brass double wick kerosene lamp before electification

Copper and brass double wick kerosene lamp before electification

I picked up this copper and brass double wick kerosene lamp the other day at a sale. I can’t remember how much it cost, but I think I grabbed the antique for under $10.

Looking at the solder joints around the base, I figured this was not a good candidate for using as an actual kerosene lamp, not to mention I never use the ones I already own. I liked the looks of this lamp especially the silver (maybe nickel plated) reflector plate for the lamp.

Wanting to create some sort of Edison bulb light for a while, I figured what better time than now to give it a go. Continue reading

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