This semester has been the first in my Olin career where I have had complete control over my class schedule. Last semester I made list after list of all the classes I wanted to take, making sure to consider only the most important factors, such as the number of days I could sleep until noon and get away with it. Once I had cut my choices down, I still had a few backups in case registration proved to not smile on me as it had the past semester. Forethought saved me as my main class filled up before my computer had even come close to loading the next page. When all was said and done, I was left with a schedule that was to my liking, but not entirely what I had expected. After going nearly two months, I have to say, this semester is bringing me down some cool paths academically.
Specifically, group projects are beginning in two of my classes. The first class, Principles of Engineering (or PoE), is in the first stages of the main project phase. Each group in this class proposes its own project, which must have both electronic and mechanical components. My group proposed building a graffiti machine. Don't know what that is? This video shows a version similar to what ours hopes to be. We're still currently in the design and research phase, but so far the team is working well and parts will soon be ordered. Pretty soon we'll be able to experiment with our budget-friendly "Economy Spray Paint" as much as we'd like.
I did not get the chance to directly determine my second project in my introductory Materials Science course. Instead, we submitted ideas to be compiled into a list, then gave our ranked preferences. I ended up with a history-based project in sword-making, which is excellent if only for the fact that I get to learn to forge blades as part of a class project. The metal has been ordered, and the learning time for forging has been set; soon we will have much of our free time consumed by making blades to put through various structural and mechanical tests. I haven't been so happy to have my free time taken up by schoolwork in a long time.
Luckily for my sanity, not all of my free time will be eaten if I can help it. My schedule this semester has actually divided itself nicely in that I only have to deal with two intense hands-on projects at once. My other classes are pure math, which while containing group projects do not require you to wait to forge until there are no longer classes going on on the entire fourth floor of the Academic Center. Olin may be stressful, and its workload may be intense, but I have never been more excited about group projects. Hopefully I'll have some pictures soon of prototypes- after all, we do have a design review just around the corner.