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‘Building’ Fundamentals

lego

Courtesy of hdimagelib.com

by STEPHANIE TANG

I opened the cover of the booklet, flipping through approximately 15 pages before I saw the first step, which was to find the 2×16 flat Lego and attach the small name placard with the words “Trevi Fountain.”

My uncle, who I have dubbed the “Lego Hoarder,” has purchased plenty of Lego sets, even the massive 4,287-piece London Bridge and my favorite, the Red Volkswagen.

Ever since I was a child, I have always loved Legos, and it did not help that my uncle fueled my love and passion by providing me with resources including those sets that my brother and I were not supposed to build. (Sorry about the basketball and soccer sets.)

Currently, my room has a shelf dedicated to 12 of the Lego Architecture sets, with a half-completed fountain and unopened Lincoln Memorial collecting dust nearby. I remember sitting at my desk and building a structure in one night, and the one time my aunt and I decided to compete and see who would finish assembling a building first.

It has been awhile since I built any Lego structures, and I find myself yearning to return to what used to be one of my favorite pastimes because Trevi Fountain, bookmarked on page 89, has been untouched since my sophomore year.

On multiple occasions my uncle has asked me, “When are you going to finish building the fountain?” I have always told him the same thing, something along the lines of, “When I have time; I’m just too busy to finish.”

Being so heavily involved in school activities, I found it hard (and still do) to find the time to sit down and merely enjoy the simplicity of building the architecture sets. The proof is the dust that has collected atop the black box hiding the picture of a finished fountain.

Lego creations are not just confined to those from instruction booklets, and that is one of my favorite things about them. Although some sets tell the builder how to construct the building exactly the way it is supposed to be, there are also instances where creativity can be given a chance to run wild. Essentially, there are no limits to what can be conjured up.

In a way, being interested in Lego-building taught me a lot, because spending hours sifting through piles of blocks and pieces allowed me become more patient and build from my own strengths and creativity, still being molded at age 5.

Beginning very early in my life, building Lego sets even influenced my decision to be involved in engineering. It was one of the sole reasons I decided to enroll in the Engineering and Design Pathway, and choose Engineering-related majors when applying for colleges.

Learning concepts in various areas of Engineering was not so different from locking Legos together; it was about learning why each little component made such a large impact on the final project. It was about putting effort into building something that might not look complete until the very last piece was finally placed in its rightful spot, then taking a step back to appreciate every moment that leading to its completion.

I was able to easily convert what I had learned from my youth and apply it when doing everyday things, such as finding a creative outlet to relieve boredom when waiting in a line for hours, finding the patience to teach my cousins new things, or exploring what I want to do once I leave high school.

I know that one day I will find it in me to return to Trevi Fountain and get to the bottom of page 145 so I can finally add it to the shelf of finished pieces. Maybe I will even finish Lincoln Memorial in the span of one night, just for old time’s sake.

 

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