Home, sweet home

In my first days back at Olin after a full year's estrangement, I've been swept up in many, contradictory, feelings. At once, everything around campus is so familiar, and so changed - more than enough time has passed for a slew of curricular reforms to rise and fall. I've found scheduling my weeks to be both straightforward and overwhelming. The relief of knowing where I'll be sleeping by day's end is tempered by the stress that I may not actually get to sleep until the wee hours of the morning. My disorientation has been more pronounced in these first few weeks, when two years of old faces (the current seniors and juniors) and two years of new ones mix in a crowd of memories and confusion and opportunities. And yet, surrounded by these contradictions, I feel that I have, once again, made it home.

Rounding the corner to Great Plain Avenue for the first time in many months, I couldn't wipe the smile off my face. The parking lot was unchanged. The O was just as I had left it. But suddenly, I was an east hall resident, and was dragging my bins out of an unfamiliar storage room, over to a suite I'd never seen before, where I found my name next to five others' and a lounge, a full-sized fridge, a massive shower, and a bedroom all to myself! When I visited friends on staff up in their third floor offices, I found that, like in some labyrinth of lore, rooms had been shifted while I wasn't watching. New doors were open to me, and old ones closed. It's not quite the shock of returning to one's kindergarten or childhood home, but the thrill of rediscovery still resonates. I'm going to enjoy undertaking expeditions into once-familiar territories, and revisiting the memories I made there so long ago. 
And, in keeping with the traditions of innovation and openness to change around here, there are lots of exciting new courses being offered, and many old staples have been modified to be virtually unrecognizable! I'm excited to be taking the first structured course on Representing Olin, and the second offering of Teaching and Learning, along with POE - this time, with arduinos - and Mechanical Prototyping. Again, it's a mix of new, old, and changed, and it can't come quickly enough!
Meanwhile, I've slipped back into using Outlook to plan my weeks like it's comfy slippers. Knowing what I'll be doing on a given day, a week or more in advance soothes my soul. Instead of scheduling my activity around a train's departure (and leaving ample time beforehand to sit and stare on a bench in the station), I can slot my events neatly into one another, taking advantage of Olin's tiny campus and lenient tardy trends to arrive precisely two minutes late to everything.
I have so much time to do all the things I want to, now that I don't need to cook my own meals, worry about where I'll spend my next nights, or how I'll get there, pack and unpack my backpack morning, noon, and night, or run around a city like a chicken with my head cut off, just to print a document or, worse, fax one. Now, my days are mine to spend as I wish. Accordingly, I've taken on responsibilities with SAC (the student activities committee) and commitments for CORe (our student government, which is currently seeking a better Backronym), and am trying to spend as much time as I can with my classmates of 2013 before they graduate. 
Life is good on campus. My year of absence was a series of extraordinary and unique experiences abroad, all of which I am so lucky to have had. But after a year of non-stop on-the-go, let me tell you this: It's good to be home.
Posted in: Class of 2013