Small Solutions

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?

Sweat crept its way down my forehead as I connected the last wire to the motherboard. For hours, I had been working on building this computer, and with my middle-school operating budget, there wasn’t any room for error. Everything had to work, and it was going to. Determination was essential for this activity. Focusing was hard enough for me at that age, but I had set a goal to build this for my friend Max, and nothing was going to stop me. I had done this before, so error wasn’t even on my mind. I stood up and stretched out my back, after having been hunched over a table for a near eternity. Finally done, I thought.

I quickly set up a monitor to connect to the computer. I pushed the power button, but the familiar sound of whirring fans did not fill the room, nor did the flicker of indicator lights brighten the computer tower. My heart sank. I was supposed to be the expert. Nothing was supposed to go wrong. Not only was I disappointed that my creation did not work, but I was also dismayed to have let someone down. All I wanted to do was give my friend this gift of technology.

Just as most kids in this age of technology faced with a problem, Max and I took to Google. I tried every possible solution. I checked every wire and...

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