A few days ago, Olin hosted its annual Alumni Reunion weekend. This was the 5th year anniversary for the class of 2009, a dozen or so of whom I met in my first year here while they were finishing up their 'super-senior' semester/s. It was so much fun to see them and many other recently graduated friends, and to meet some of the more established alumni over the course of the weekend! We reminisced about Olin as it once was and discussed the new initiatives we're working on now. As a recent grad, I was able to bridge the gap between current students and alumni. On top of that, I've spent the past few weeks interacting with prospective students and gappies, so I feel like I have quite a range of experience of Oliners in different, very distinct stages of their lives. This got me thinking. I started thinking about Pokemon.
Recognize these creatures?
What? I'm a 90s kid, and nothing says 'growth' like Pokemon evolution. I saw the differences this weekend, and I went through a similar transformation myself over the past number of years, so it's a thing. Watch.
Oh, and I'm not saying our prospective students have goofy faces and no elbows, like Charmander here. But she and our prospies both have an astounding spirit and are widely known to be able to overcome the challenges they face. Capable and inventive, our applicants are just starting out on a long journey of discovery. I hope you'll be careful not to singe off anyone's eyebrows in the process!
Then, look at the self-assuredness that current students grow into once they have been through the trial-by-fire that is Pass No Record and then the graded second semester of their first year. It's incredible to watch the wide-eyed innocence transform into savvy, self-assuredness, and adventurousness. College is a time to mature into one's own skin, and Olin is such a welcoming, encouraging place that students here can become whatever Charmeleon they want to be.
And as a student, I thought that was the end of the transformation. Not so. This weekend, I saw Alumni back on campus, and observed what it truly looks like to be in one's element, confident, and self-aware. Now young professionals, Olin's Alumni loped around the current students like great fire dragons, swooping over to them to share lore with their successors and discuss how their class gift (to invigorate the public stockrooms) was being used. As a young alum myself, I can see that they haven't stopped learning. And I hope that when I return in 5 years, I'll have spread my wings into the wide world as much as they have.
Silly mustaches are something we all can agree on
Now, to the prospies reading this post: I hope your take-away from this is that your future is bright, and you are full of potential. Even though you're also bound to grow more in the future, you're definitely capable now. Yhen your will is strong enough, youth and inexperience are by no means insurmountable when your will is strong enough. So, when applying to colleges in the next few months may seem like a completely overwhelming hurdle, don't you give up!
switching Pokemon mid-metaphor
Because eventually, you'll find a way to overcome it.
But please don't use our sprinkler system to zap us at Candidates' Weekend
Good luck out there!