(Is Adele in your head yet? Oh, now it is? Sorry.*)
It’s been a year since my own Candidates’ Weekend. I’ve been admitted, and living in this wonderful community for a semester and a half. Yet, as this CW season kicked into gear, I still get butterflies in my stomach thinking about my own first days at Olin, when I didn’t know if it would, or could, be my future.
Me with my Candidates' Weekend group from last year!
Instead of shrinking away from the nerves, I’ve embraced them. From interviews to design challenges, and dorm tours to club fair, I’ve volunteered for everything I could possibly get involved in. After over 14 hours interacting with Candidates in the first weekend, the butterflies have mostly disappeared, replaced by an overwhelming excitement for the future of Olin. To all of the applicants out there: you guys are honestly amazing. I’ve had such an incredible time meeting all of you, and I so look forward to seeing some of you next year (I just hope you won’t hold my crazy antics during the design challenge against me).
Not only have I seen the future of Olin this week, but I was able to get a look back into my own past. After talking to the seniors, hearing their questions, and listening to a lot of Olin answers, I’m reminded of all of the things I was wondering about last year, and all of the things that I was surprised to learn once I actually started attending Olin. So I want to set the record straight. What follows is a list of things that I personally feel were misrepresented/miscommunicated (for better or worse) at Candidates’ Weekend, and my own opinion of what the Olin experience is really like.
1. The HYPE Is Real
Despite the caps lock, HYPE isn’t actually an acronym – there’s just no other way to properly represent the excitement at Olin. I get a lot of questions from concerned Candidates who cannot possibly believe that Oliners are that excited all of the time. And they’re right, we’re usually a lot more low-key. But just because we have lower energy doesn’t mean we’re not every bit as passionate as during Candidates’ Weekend. That’s one of my favorite things about Olin. I can’t take a step out of my dorm room without stepping on somebody’s awesome homemade computer, baking experiment, or art project. Everyone is constantly doing what they love, and if you take five seconds to talk to them about it, there’s no doubt that the HYPE is always there.
2. Needham ≠ Boston
This one was personally the most disappointing. Yes, it’s true we’re technically 30 minutes from Boston, but it’s also true that we’re technically 42 minutes away from the center of the Earth (at free fall, ignoring wind resistance). That doesn’t mean it’s easy to get there. I’ve gone into Boston a total of 8 times since I’ve been at Olin – 4 of which were for classes/clubs – even though it’s my goal to get in almost every weekend. And since I don’t have a car, it’s usually an hour each way on the T, plus however long it takes to procure a ride to and from the T stop.
3. The Dining Situation
Yes, I’m talking about the food. On this topic especially, I know there are a lot of varied thoughts. The only thing I am going to say is that I think the food during CW is significantly better than during the rest of the year. As for the standard quality, I’ll leave that up to the many other opinionated students to comment on, as I cook most of my own meals in the dorm kitchens.
4. 334** Is Just A Number
One of the biggest concerns about Olin is its size. This topic is discussed at length every CW in hopes of dispelling fears, but coming from a high school of 2,400, I personally left my own weekend with fears still intact. Now that I’m here? It’s not a problem at all. At least in the way I thought it would be. Yes, “the bubble” exists in terms of seeing the same people day after day, but each Oliner does the equivalent of what 6 students from Random State University do combined. There is certainly not a lack of ideas, activities, or momentum here, and though I may have a different opinion in a couple of years, I don’t feel stifled by the size at all. In fact it often lends itself to a creativity and flexibility that other schools don’t have.
So best of luck to all the Candidates out there; I hope you have as much fun at Candidates’ Weekend as I am having on the other side of them – wearing sombreros and riding around on Loch Ness Monsters*** – because whether or not you end up coming here, CW is an experience you will probably never forget!
**Our current student population
***There’s no context I can provide that would make that behavior less weird…