Hey! It’s Maia again! So if you’re here it’s fairly likely that you're thinking about Candidates’ Weekend. Awesome! And if you are anything like me last year, chances are you are both super excited and super stressed out about it.
Well, to start off, cool! That’s totally normal. I’d like to hope that I overthought this more than the average Candidate, but I had so many questions and concerns at this point last year (most of them not super logical). I thought that during the design challenge and other non-interview activities, the Candidates would be secretly evaluated. Hint: you aren’t (I actually said this at work in the Admission Office once and the admission staff thought it was hilarious). I thought that every student would be watching me and constantly trying to figure out whether I would fit at the school and that would play into my admission status. Hint: it won’t. I thought that everyone else would be cooler and more interesting than I would be. Hint: everyone is cool and interesting, but so are you!
Anywho, after a significant amount of thinking about Olin itself and interviews and all sorts of other Candidates’ Weekend things, I was on a flight to CW3!
During Candidates' Weekend, I did tons of things which convinced me that even though I loved Olin, Olin didn’t necessarily love me back. The day my flight arrived, I decided to take a “shortcut” around the Babson Executive Conference Center and ended up being caught in the pouring rain wearing flip flops and shorts. During the design challenge, I put my safety glasses down, one of the design challenge leaders saw me, and then made me wear a post-it over one eye for the next ten minutes. (Also, if you recall, I thought these people were secretly judging us, so I thought that my lack of safety glasses basically spelled my rejection from Olin.) After that, we got to the interviews and I was interviewed by the Dean of Admission (Love ya, ERD!!). And if that wasn’t scary enough, one of my interviewers asked me what I would do if I could spend a year doing anything, which I immediately assumed meant that they wanted me to take a gap year and not come to Olin that year. (Turns out they just wanted to know what I liked to do outside of school). And then, during the evaluated group exercise, I thought that I talked so much that I would be rejected because my interviewers would think that I couldn’t work with other people.
But what I didn’t realize was that those things were exactly what Olin was really looking for. Me. Flip flops in rain, non-safety-glass-wearing*, kid who had no idea what they would take a gap year doing--but possibly volunteering and working on an unfinished hackathon project--talking way too much, weird, authentic, me.
So don’t worry if you make a mistake (or a billion), think that you have the worst interview of your life, don’t create anything that could possibly work for the design challenge or do anything else you think will get you rejected from college. Chances are, you are the only one who even noticed.
And please please please don’t forget to have fun! I still talk to people who I met at Candidates’ Weekend who are and aren’t at Olin. Candidates’ Weekend is an awesome opportunity to meet some of the nicest, most interesting, most friendly people from around the world. Late night pool, ice cream, mafia, conversations, screaming and running through the lobby of the Babson Executive Conference Center at 2 AM because it was snowing out (make friends with the people working there first, if possible), Ultimate Frisbee (where I fell in the dirt so many times that I still have stains in the jeans I wore), the list of fun things to do goes on and on. Take advantage of it!
So if you are thinking about all of the things you could possibly screw up when you get here, that's normal! But also remember that those "mistakes" probably contribute to what makes you, well, you. And more than that, just have fun and remember that there is a chance you'll get here and realize you don’t want Olin--and that is perfectly fine too. I know lots of people who got here and for whatever reason realized that they wouldn’t be happy at Olin and are now happy and crushing it at all sorts of other places they love!
Just breathe, and if you can help it, don’t wear shorts outside in the pouring rain. Best of luck and can’t wait to see you soon!
*Although you should still wear safety glasses when you need to!