Hey everyone! My name’s Alex, and I’m a first year here at Olin. While I could talk about curriculum, student culture, or resources, I’m going to talk about the most important thing of all - toilet paper.
Okay, maybe a little more than toilet paper. But it’s the little things that count, and when it comes to Olin, there are lots of little amenities to be thankful for. The quality of the dorms makes being at Olin less like “inhabiting” and more like “living.” Here are some of my favorite things about living here
You never have to buy your own toilet paper. There’s a little storage closet that you can pick up decent toilet paper from for free. It seems like no big deal, but I was definitely stressed thinking about the idea that I might run out. A bit of a theme at Olin is the feeling of having a safety net - not having to worry about simple but important things allows you to focus more on the things that matter to you.
In the same closet, you can also pick up a vacuum cleaner for your room at any time. There’s also some supplies available for cheap at the school store, Frank’s, like toothpaste and soap.
Dorm rooms are comfortably sized! Like, actually! The story (or rumor) I heard behind this is that, in case “The Olin Experiment” flopped, they designed the dorms so they could be converted into hotels easily. Well, we’re still here, and we have hotel-sized dorm rooms. When I visited my friend’s dorm room outside of Olin I realized how much I lucked out - moving from having my own room at home to sharing, it is a little smaller, but it’s very livable. The room size also means it’s easy and fun to host events - some people convert their rooms into dance halls, milkshake bars, and cafes on the weekends. For the less adventurous, it’s also just easy to have groups of people over to work on projects or just hang out!
Your own bathroom
Each room has its own bathroom, shower, and sink that you share with your roommate. It keeps things much cleaner and easily available.
Fridge, Freezer, and Microwave
We all get a mini fridge in our rooms, and each room has a microwave. It makes it a lot easier to keep fresh food in your room, especially if you’re in crunch time and don’t want to go to the dining hall.
Instead of RAs, we have R2s, which stands for “resident resource." The idea behind this is that you have experienced upperclassmen who can provide guidance, but they’re not obligated to enforce rules. This makes it a lot easier to talk to them about issues you might be having. I’ve already taken advantage of talking to my R2s about relationship advice and mental health. They’re trained to listen to you and help you to the best of their abilities, and they will always guide you to the best and healthiest choices, but they feel less like “Pawns Of The Shadowy Upper Echelons of Olin College” and more like friends!
At Olin, health and safety is really important. This extends to mental health. We have free, unlimited access to Colony Care, where you can talk to therapists and psychiatrists as often or little as you want. At many other schools, you have a limit on how many times you can see a therapist a semester. Not having that limit allows you to actually take care of yourself and not worry about it “not being bad enough." The Olin community is all about helping each other and making sure you’re reaching your full potential. This is another immensely important resource in that goal.
Oliners take care of each other, and we like to share. One way we do this is through Freecycle, where people donate things they don’t want and then you can go through and take what you like. I got a free waterproof Bluetooth speaker from it! I’ve also had friends get clothes, mice, and whole computers from it. You’d be amazed what shows up! Also, if you have specific requests for things, you can send out an email and people will often get back to you.
At Olin, we all have the same laptop computers. They are included in the cost of attendance at Olin, so technically each student purchases their laptop, but the fact that it’s part of the COA means that it can be covered by your financial aid. You’re free to bring your own computer (my roommate brought 4 suitcases full of desktop parts!) but in general, you’ll need to use the Olin-issued laptop loaded with all the software you need during class. Coming from a private school where I’d see people getting new Mac computers every 2 years while my PC fell apart at the hinges (yes, literally), it’s nice to all have access to the same resources and not feel like anyone’s looking down on you. It also means you can leave your laptops out and not worry about them getting stolen!
This isn’t a complete list, but it’s some of my favorite things about living at Olin that make it just a little bit better. When you come here, it’s easy to feel like home!