The Dreaded Twenty Credit Semester

Although this topic may not be super relevant to those of you who are checking out the blog at the moment, I still wanted to write about my current experience with five courses. 

First, I am going to review what I was thinking coming into this semester, then explain how it didn't work out the way I was imagining things. Read and be warned.


                                       Me going into this semester.

My current classes and my logic going into them:

Real World Measurements - Required course and I've heard that it makes Modeling and Control from the Fall semester make sense, which I was excited about.

Introduction to Mechanical Prototyping - This class I was really excited about because it was a very Solidworks and Mech:E heavy course, and I already knew I was interested in both of those areas. 

Linearity IRequired course and I had heard horror stories about the course. I had no idea what to expect going into this course. It was math, though, so it was something that I had never done at Olin before. I was relatively hopeful.

Mechanics: Modeling and Simulation Approach - According to Sophomores, this class promised to really strengthen my Matlab skills while getting my physics requisite out of the way. I was looking forward to both of these things. Also, Mark Somerville is an awesome guy.

Software Design - I had never really gotten the opportunity to explore the programming side of engineering. I was really excited to learn Python and finally be able to say that I know a language.

Okay, now before I go into details on the pains that have come along with this semester, I will list my current take on my five courses. I also want to say that overall, I have really enjoyed my time here at Olin so far. I am highlighting some of the shortcomings that I was not expecting from a twenty credit semester, but I still have learned a lot from each of these courses and am really looking forward to the courses and adventures that I will experience here at Olin!

My thoughts on my courses as of now:

Real World Measurements - This course did do a good job of connecting back to Mod Con and filling in some blanks, but I just don't have too much interest in what we are doing because I am more interested in the Mech:E space.

Introduction to Mechanical Prototyping - This course has been a lot of fun. I have explored new areas of fabrication such as 3D printing and Sheet metal, and it is a ton of fun to have an idea in your head and then see it turn into a solid representation over the course of a week.

Linearity I - This course has been the most trouble for me, because a lot of its curriculum is designed around self-discovery and exploratory learning, and I really have not had the time to sit down and let things click. The concepts are things that I have never seen before and it is a struggle a lot of the time.

Mechanics: Modeling and Simulation Approach - This course was approached in a very different way than it was last year, and although that meant less work, we have barely opened up matlab this semester. We look a lot at preparing the system to be entered into matlab, and although this is interesting, it wasn't what I was mainly looking for in the course. Also, similar to Linearity, I have not had the time to really get the most out of the course.

Software Design - This course has also been really great. I have really enjoyed exploring the computing branch of engineering and although I had a few hiccups in the beginning with the language, the course has since turned into a type of Software Proto where you have week long projects that feel really rewarding upon competion.


Okay, time for the issue with five courses if it has not yet been made evident. If you ask an Oliner about five courses, they will warn you about the amount of time that you will have to put towards your coursework. They say that you will have less time to hang out with friends and you will feel really overloaded at times. As we are approaching the end of the semester, I am starting to look back over the semester and realize that I am not taking advantage of a lot of the courses I am in. 

Because you have no extraneous time, you are not able to delve deep into the curriculum of any one class, or in my case, you delve deep into the two classes you are really passionate about, and the rest just fall to the wayside. I feel BAD that I have not been able to really explore the curriculum offered in Linearity or challenge myself to understand all aspects on the labs that we do in RWM.

I just ask that before you decide to take five courses, think strongly about not just how much time you will spend on coursework but also the different ways that this limited time will affect all aspects on your Olin life, including the coursework itself.

                                                   Me now.

 And with that, I say NEVER AGAIN!

Posted in: Charlie '17