I'd like to talk about the best day of any Oliner's semester. This is, of course, build-your-own pizza lunch in the dining hall. The day that there's a buffet of pizza doughs, sauces, cheeses, and toppings, and every Oliner constructs a personal pizza refined to their tastes and preferences. And it gets cooked into a bubbly gooey mass of deliciousness.
In a way, the Olin culture is a build-your-own pizza. I was thinking of writing a post on one of the most common questions I was asked by Candidates and parents at Candidates' Weekend - "what do Oliners do to relax? What do you do for fun?" And I started writing, and I realized immediately that I wasn't qualified to answer the question. Not because I don't relax (all the movies and midnight pancake study breaks!) but because everyone does it differently. There is no single "way to relax." Everyone does it differently. Everyone builds their own relaxation pizza.
And if you think about it, the whole curricular structure is a pizza as well. The first-years start with the same classes first semester (everyone's pizza has to have a basic dough on the bottom) and slowly diverge into different preferences of sauce, cheese, and extracurricular toppings. Personally, I like my pizza with thick dough, red sauce, tons of cheese, all the meat toppings, and a hint of spices. Similarly, I like my education with Electrical and Computer engineering (tons of software), a hint of MechE with Human Powered Vehicles team, and a wide variety of clubs and activities to take up the meat of my free time.
That's what I love about Olin. Everyone has their own pizza. And best of all, the college lays it all out in a buffet style so you can pick and choose your favorites. If you don't see the topping you want on the table, you can get it from somewhere else, or take initiative to start it up. There are people who pile all the toppings they can possibly cram onto their pizza; there are some who like it plain.
Obviously, this isn't a perfect metaphor. The pizzas don't really collaborate with each other the way Olin students assist and affect each other's education and experience. Pizzas have had basically the same structure since back when they were invented; the Olin education is trying to be continuously innovative (I'm in a co-curricular to make sure that happens). Pizzas are also not very good at solving complex engineering problems; Olin students are.
The takeaway from all this is that Olin gives you a fun, personalized experience. Also that pizza is delicious.