The leaves are turning outside my window, the students are starting to consider their final projects, and my life is finally entering something like a routine. I've been almost two months in my new role at Olin, and I'm finally starting to feel like I'm settled in.
Let's return to the early days, all the way, way back, in September. Back then, I didn't know how to log in to all of the different admisnistrative software and reporting systems that we use. I was filing paperwork, clearing out old junk that's probably three or four employees old by now, and wrapping my head around the notion of approaching faculty and staff as a fellow employee.
Shh, they still don't know I was making things up as I went along!
Lately, I've picked up one of the weekly infosessions, and sometimes fill in for my coworkers. I answer applicant questions by email and over the phone, and I'm writing/editing/sharing training documents for admissions-related groups on- and off-campus. I'm going to meetings with Marketing & Communications, PGP, and DFAR to contribute my particular insights and opinions. I've made it into the big leagues!
The admissions office just ran a very successful Fall Open House, which was a magnificent coordination effort with many moving parts. Luckily, my role was to ask the students and parents to talk about what they love about Olin. And one thing I've always known is: If you ask an Oliner to help you, and you give them free reign to do what they want, they will without a doubt impress you. I guarantee it. This year, I was pleased to come up with a stunningly obvious, yet previously unexplored idea: We should represent coding groups with the same visibilitiy as the academic teams, which engage our more M:E and E:CE inclined students at a comparable level of engagement. This weekend, the SLAC (Stay Late And Code/Create) room was packed to the rafters with prospective students who were eager to learn about software at Olin, so I expect that they will continue to enjoy sharing the top billing for many Open Houses to come.
It's fun to be the 'new kid' in the office, because I can bring suggestions like that to the table. But on top of that, as an alum, recent student, and not-so-recent prospie, my ideas and impressions are valued as having potential to reach those groups. My 'Humans of Olin College' blog on the admissions Facebook page has been both fun to do and successful in reaching a wide audience. My access to the Admissions archives has let me share a touch of nostalgia with the older alumni, with the very first prospectus.
It's only 10 years old, but it already feels so historic
And I have direct lines to the student body and alumni population, so I can impliment (or at least raise) their ideas with us, and our ideas with them. It's always a pleasure to be the bridge between different groups of people, especially when until I came along, they didn't have the means or channel to interact! I'm trying to do what I can, during my time here. I've become a part of the staff social committee, and I'm helping SAC, the Student Activities Committee to coordinate with us. There will be a joint costume contest this Halloween, as well as Trick-or-Treating in Milas Hall. I'm 'sponsoring' a team of students in Mobile Proto, a mobile app development class taught by students, in a project to "bring the campus to life" for visitors (present or remote) touring our spaces. Our goal is to showcase the spaces as they can be, when they are in use for demos, activities, events, etc. rather than as they are. I'm also participating in many of the Co-Curriculars I enjoyed last year, I go to community events, I'm writing for Frankly Speaking, I spend time with students (here's the pumpkin I carved with some first-years yesterday).
Fiona the Phoenix
My secret is: I love being at Olin. I love contributing to the Olin community, because every ounce of energy in gives tons of excitement back. The way I see it, nowadays I'm doing all the stuff I wished I had time for, back when I was a student here... but now, they're paying me to be here! I have freedom and self-direction, I'm having an impact on a large group of people, and I'm having fun while learning plenty. This is shaping up to be a great year for me, and I'm doing all I can to give back to the Olin community for accepting me back so warmly.
P.S. Being an admissions officer has a few unique perks as well. I'm going on at least two recruiting trips this year: One, to California, for all of next week, and the other, at the FIRST robotics championship in St. Louis next spring. And it'll all be on the department's dime, of course. What fun!