Find Your Fun!

Published March 1, 2017

Ally's Lego StructureI found mine in building Lego models! My name is Ally Matt, and I am a Staff Psychologist at the Counseling Center. I also happen to be visually impaired. Since I was a child, I have been fascinated by Legos and the complex and detailed models that Lego has created. However, I was never able to build the models by the instructions because I could not see them. Recently as I explored new hobbies, I found a website created by a young man providing Lego instructions in text form for blind and visually impaired individuals. He and one of his friends took the graphic Lego directions and created text instructions. For example, one step of the directions might say to put a “FS 2x2 7 rows from the left wall and 12 rows from the front wall.” I had to learn the lingo that was used throughout the instructions. For example, FS means flat surface, which indicates that the piece has no bumps on its surface.

I was so excited to try out this new possible hobby that I bought one of the most complicated sets that was available to me, which happened to have approximately 2500 pieces. When I realized how many small bags of tiny pieces were involved in building this model, I wondered if I could actually do this. I did have some challenges because there were many similar pieces with the only difference being their color so I did need some assistance ensuring that I had used the correct color pieces at various points. There were times when I had to take sections apart just to replace one piece because it was the wrong color, but I found the process so relaxing that I didn't’t mind.

When I am working on a Lego set, I have to give it my entire focus and concentration, which means that I cannot think about other worries in my life. It is truly an experience of having to be totally and completely present in the current moment, which I have found helps reduce my overall stress level.

Based on my new experience with Legos, I encourage you to find that thing that allows you to use your creativity, be playful, and be present in the moment. I have learned that it is not about how fast you get something done or whether you make mistakes through the process. It is about how you feel while doing the activity and the process of actually doing it that matters. It takes me much longer to build a Lego model than someone who can see, but the process is the important part. The pride I felt when I put that last piece on was phenomenal and that only happened because I decided to take the risk of trying something new and challenging.

Ally Matt, Ph.D.
Staff Psychologist/Diversity Outreach Coordinator/Coordinator of Master’s Training

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