A distraction-in-a-fire-in-a-barrel

Brittany L. Strachota

Dear Prospective 2014er,

While sitting in my room, staring down this week's vector calculus homework, my mind wandered to approximately one year ago, when I was [all too frequently] roused from slumber by dreams of swirling envelopes. Some large, some frighteningly thin, but all seemed to deliver the same thing -- my academic fate. Back in the present, I glanced at one of five calendars in the room and was startled by the date. Candidates' Weekends approach. Not so long ago, dear Prospie, I stood in your shoes. We all get it. Waiting is difficult, even agonizing, excruciating, vexatious, dreadful, caustic, and downright unpleasant.

"Those Who Know" seem to simply overflow with wisdom at such times and are eager to share any and every thought they may have on the subject, and I do think I heard them all. But the most beneficial piece of advice I received during the waiting process was to, "Forget about Olin and all those other schools. You're [hopefully] only a high school senior once." I forced myself to focus on the here, the now, and with a bit of helpful distraction, managed to make it through the process alive. This vector calc business may nullify such an accomplishment, but that's a story for another day.

For now, I offer you some things to ponder as you wait to plan for the fall. Thanks to a lively group of fellow classmates, I am never at a loss for *ahem* stimulating ideas.
Consider, if you will:

  • the life cycle of an Internet meme -- Talk to Eric '13 and Noah '13.
  • the impending zombie revolution -- Stay away from room 406.
  • half of a dorm floor covered with water-filled paper cups -- They are all stapled and/or taped together.


  • extreme ironing -- Seriously. It's a real thing.
  • John Philip Sousa -- Coolest guy ever?
  • items that declare the "World's Best [Noun]" -- Shouldn't stores stock only one of each?worldsbestpersonality.PNG
  • a hard copy of Facebook -- "Wall Posts: Chapter Eight"
  • the consequences of converting to the metric system -- I'm fairly certain I would melt.
  • facial hair -- Does its presence indicate an increased rate of villainy? (Many thanks to Matt for allowing me to use these photos...)


  • 90s pop music -- Should we be proud or hide in shame?
  • a mechanical starfish -- How does one make this appealing to fourth graders? Is it possible for something to be so ugly that it becomes mildly adorable?
  • radically rearranging furniture in a dorm -- It is far more difficult to shift two beds, two desks, two wardrobes, a fridge/freezer/microwave unit, and six shelving units around the room than one might imagine.
  • marsupials -- Need I say more?
  • bananas -- How much mold can they produce in one month? (Answer: a fair amount)


Take these thoughts for what you will. I know they've distracted me for countless hours already. As for the application nightmare, trust in the process; you will end up where you are supposed to be. Take a deep breath (or four), stop checking the mailbox (They only deliver once each day. Tragic, I know.), and have some fun. And remember that there's nothing wrong with a little nervous anticipation.


Your Friendly Neighborhood Oliner

PS: Others, please feel free to chime in!
PPS: I have just been notified that some letters have been received!
Posted in: Class of 2013