*from the perspective of a first year.
First, the most obvious category (and probably what you've heard most about):
I freaking love circuits. Let's talk about that.
I came into Olin expecting to be a mechanical engineer, but I'm finding with every new circuits class that I just love building circuits.
Circuits are cool, and they look cool, and they do cool things (when they're built right).
But in all seriousness, I've done some really fun things with circuits in my classes. Just this semester I have built my own power source, ECG, strain-gauge, and I have read my heartbeat by standing on a bathroom scale. And all of that was unimaginable to me just a few months ago.
One of the most exciting things I have done so far was my ModCon final project with Aditi, and we built an auditropic cat on wheels which moved whenever it got sound input.
We even got tweeted about:
2. Machine shops
Now that I've nerded all over the place about circuits, I'm going to man up and talk about machine shops.
Before coming to Olin, I had never once touched a machine shop. After a semester and a half, I feel comfortable using a drill press, band saw, and belt sander, as well as press-fitting and heat-staking.
All of that may sound like gibberish to you, but look at what we built with it!
A mechanical pangolin held together by plastic, wire, and hot glue (lots). It curled into a ball and moved forward or backward.
I'll be completely honest with you. I have no idea what NINJA stands for. All I know is that they're pretty awesome.
(Update: It stands for Need Information Now Just Ask)
Here at Olin, we call our course assistants NINJAs. In myopinion, they do much more than normal course assistants. They are more like tutors that are available almost whenever we need them. They hold office hours in the lounges, they hold tutorials in the labs, and they listen to us whine and groan whenever we have too much work in their class. They're like little parents.
4. Different paces, different people
So if you've been reading this, and you've been all "OMG I have no idea what you're talking about,"
or you've been reading this and you're all "OMG I already know how to do all that, so boring,"
then what I have to say to you is this:
Olin faculty are fantastic at teaching to pace. Most of the first year curriculum is designed to be concious of the fact that all of you prospies probably have different backgrounds. So, if you come in with no coding experience, you're not going to struggle in vain. There are coding tutorials and lecture ea\xtensions outside of class, and suplemental reading to catch you up. On the flip side, if you already program two languages and Matlab is a piece of cake (because Matlab is a glorified graphing calculator), then you don't have to attend the lecture extensions, but maybe you could even teach them. The same goes for circuitry, machine shops, and mathy things.
5. R2 Culture
For those that don't know, R2 stands for Resident Resource. Now, I would say that they were the equivalent of another campus' RA, but I would be lying.
R2s are so much better than that.
At other schools, RAs are required to sign something saying that they will confiscate and report any underage student that they find drinking. As a result, the RA culture on campus generally becomes one of the RAs against the students. RAs are people to hide from, run away from, and generally try to limit any interaction with.
The great thing about R2s is that they don't have that restricition. What this allows is for the R2s to be a much better resource to students. Students can be best friends with the R2s (I count three of them as my own friends), and there is freedom to talk to your R2 about anything without fear of punishment. Additionally, parties are safer because R2s are able to be there to intercede if things ever go wrong.
6. Drinking Culture
Okay, so now I'm getting to what you all really wanted to talk about. Parents, look away.
Let's be honest. It's college; there is going to be some drinking done by some individuals sometime during these four-five years.
The drinking culture at Olin is something I haven't seen at many other schools. The best way I can describe it is "casual."
Now, everyone says this about their own schools, but I'm being completely honest: there is no pressure to drink at Olin if you don't want to.
What that generally means at other schools is, "just don't go to the party if you don't want to drink." What it means at Olin, "you're welcome at the party even if you don't want to drink. Just come hang out." I promise, I'm being serious. I myself have gone to parties just to enjoy the company. I have equally as often spent Friday nights playing boardgames with friends or binge-watching netflix.
Basically, whatever you want to do, you can probably find someone here who wants to do it too, whether you want to drink or not.
7. Gender Culture
Now for my secret feminist agenda.
But really, the gender culture at Olin is pretty cool.
In my experience, I believe that the guys at Olin respect the girls at Olin much more as intellectuals than I have found elsewhere.
There is a lot of effort in general at Olin as well as in the gender space to stay openminded about things, to be understanding, and to talk about the issues.There are cocurriculars to talk about the experience of women in engineering. There are frequent conversations about what it means to be a woman and a man in today's world. There is even a drag show to raise questions about what gender really means.
Basically, there is an effort to raise awareness and start conversations about gender stereotypes at Olin that you might not find at other engineering colleges.
8. "Doctor" Culture
Something I have found interesting in my time here is that the professors here at Olin prefer to be called by their first name.
At my last school, professors were deeply offended and often angry if you didn't call them "Dr. BlahBlah." There was the general attitude that they had worked too hard for their PHDs to be called anything other than Doctor by their students.
At Olin, I have felt extremely comfortable calling all of my professors by their first names. I don't know if it is a product of the grassroots way this school was created, but I think it is a wonderful thing.
It encourages a personal relationship with the faculty and it makes them seem more approachable in general. And I am certain that I do not respect them any less by not calling them "Doctor."
Just some fun stuff I've come across in my time here
9. Plants of Olin
Doyung and Adam are awesome and just randomly made this video which everyone should watch always.
My favorite part is at :57.
10. The 10ft Snowman
Backstory here, one cold and snowy Wednesday afternoon, some students casually built a 10ft snowman.
The next Saturday, Babson students saluted the snowman in a rather interesting way, and one Olin student caught a video of it.
11. Pictures of Ma Friendsss
If you have already been or are about to be at candidate's weekend, I have some words of wisdom for you.
What we care about most, and what you should care about most, is whether or not you really want to be here. The most important thing in the acceptance and decision process for us and for you is that you would be happy here.