Project overload time!

Meena Vembusubramanian

I can never decide if I love or hate this time of the semester. Hate, because this is when all the due dates converge, everyone's stressed, and all that procrastinating finally catches up with you. Love because, again, this is when all the due dates finally converge, and projects finally begin to take shape and (hopefully) materialise. Also, once all this gets done, we have a relatively low stress week with expo and commencement to look forward to.

Among the biggest things on my plate this semester is a project for my Digital VLSI course. The goal of this project is to design and layout an integrated circuit of some sort, which we then get fabricated through MOSIS. My teammate and I are working on putting together a simple CMOS image sensor, which I'm pretty excited about. To be honest I was pretty nervous going into this project, both in terms of content and scope of the project. Many many hours and transistors later, now that the finish line is in sight, I'm pleasantly surprised, and maybe even satisfied with how much we have learnt and gotten done. Aah, I just LOVE this feeling towards the end of a project!

Another project I just got done with was a paper for a finance course I'm taking at Babson College. This one was quite the monument towards developing effective teamwork abilities. Our team was comprised of six people (BIG!), three of whom were Olin students, and three of whom were Babson students. Scheduling time with just three Olin students at this time of the year is an ordeal enough, but bringing in another three students from a different school with a different approach to work made it all that much more of a challenge. Turning that paper in came with another one of those "whoa, that actually came together" moments, and hey, I know how to use Bloomberg now!

Projects aside, I attended a session with our college's President's Council, as well as a meeting for a Board of Trustees committee that I served as a student rep. on this past Monday. One of the primary questions we were attempting to address with these conversations was, quite literally, "what's so special about Olin College?"
This stems from the fact that for the first couple years, attending Olin was marketed as an opportunity to help build a new college. Now that we almost have multiple (TWO!) graduating classes, an existent school, and maybe even some history and tradition, has this changed? What sets us apart now, if anything?

One pretty common answer to that question when asked of community members is "the people." While I agree on a lot of levels, I've always had my thoughts regarding this is something the world beyond the "Olin bubble" will understand. It was pretty exciting to hear a number of visitors from industry and other institutions agree with that answer, and refreshing to hear the external perspective on Olin and our education -- all pretty thought provoking, but all these thoughts have gotta go on hold for another week, until the semester actually gets done.

Back to work for me now, thanks for reading!

- Meena

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