What I Wish I Knew

Hey OLINsider readers!

Admission decisions are out! This is a really exciting time for both everyone getting their letters and the Olin community. We can’t wait to meet the class of 2020! This is all really exciting, but I know some of you have a tough choice to make when it comes to choosing your college. I’m here to help ease some worries and talk a little about what I wish I had known when I was deciding whether or not to come to Olin.

I got my letter from Olin two years ago, and I committed very quickly. For me, not only was Olin the “best” school that I got into, but it was different from all the other schools I had applied to in all the right ways. I fell in love during Candidates’ Weekend with Olin’s philosophy on engineering education, and had so much fun! I knew that I wanted to be a part of this crazy community. However, the decision is not going to be so easy for some of you.

A lot of you probably have your choice of some of the best engineering schools out there. You might worry about going to such a small school that not a lot of people have heard of, or you might be concerned that you won’t learn everything you need with Olin’s nontraditional approach to teaching and learning. This is definitely not an easy decision for everyone, and that’s OK! That’s why I’m here: to tell you a few things I wish I had known when choosing to go to Olin, and hopefully to help you decide if Olin is the right fit for you!

There are still things I wish I knew, even though I had a fairly easy time making my decision. One of the big things is that not everyone at Olin knows seemingly everything about engineering before graduating high school. I suffered from imposter syndrome (feeling as if I had mistakenly been chosen) all during Candidates’ Weekend and most of my gap year, too. I had met all these people who had done robotics, or went to special high schools where they had learned more advanced math than I did. I was worried that I would be left behind by all of these amazing people. It was intimidating. What I didn’t realize at the time was that a ton of people coming to Olin started out knowing almost nothing about engineering at all, like me. I just didn’t notice at the time because I was dazzled by a few people. There is a whole range of knowledge and experience in every incoming class, and feeling like you don’t know enough should not deter you from coming to Olin. When I arrived for orientation, a lot of my classmates felt exactly the same as I did. I found out very quickly during my first semester that it is definitely OK not to know everything. We are here to learn. All of us struggle with new concepts, and we help each other out. Even those who seem to know everything will have times when they struggle with everyone else on a tough project. I promise you that you will be able to keep up and do some extraordinary things here at Olin, and I hope imposter syndrome will not hold you back.

Another thing I wish I had known was how it really felt to go to such a small school. I graduated high school with 550 other kids, and I couldn’t wrap my head around being a part of a class that was only a fraction of that. I worried a little about if drama and rumors would threaten to ruin the whole experience. And yes, there can sometimes be some feelings of tension or some rumors, but at least for me, the benefits of knowing the names of everyone in your class are much more important. One of these benefits is that one is able to have their thoughts and opinions actually heard. Oliners have a very big impact on how the school works. We value input from the community. For example, the first year class recently organized to put together a document of feedback for a class that we felt needed improvement, and we were heard. Our professors paused the regularly scheduled activities to have a discussion with us about how we could work to make the class better for everyone.

Another benefit to going to a tiny school is the sense of community. I love being able to know so many amazing people, and campus feels like a friendly place to be. We sit with whoever at meals in the dining hall, and get together for cool events with people in different friend groups. It’s comforting to be a part of a friendly community.

Girls Dinner

A Class of 2019 girls’ night dinner at Wellesley College to take a break from the stress of finals week.

Boston Calling

A bunch of us organized a trip to Boston Calling Music Festival in the fall!

I hope this could help you to decide if Olin is the right fit, and maybe address some worries that I know a lot of you probably have when considering Olin. I cannot wait to meet the Class of 2020 next fall!


Posted in: Ariana '19