I was discussing Olin with my family over Thanksgiving break, and, of course, I was required to describe it many times. This made me think of the perfect metaphor for Olin, which is this: oftentimes in history and the media you hear the phrase "the American Dream." This phrase typically refers to a set of ideals that include freedom, trust, and the opportunity for prosperity and success based on hard work. As you are probably aware, America doesn't quite live up to it's name.
Olin, on the other hand, does. Olin is literally the American Dream in a college. Freedom, trust, and success through work: Olin has it all. I mean, you can decide one semester that you want to study--I don't know, Sanskrit--and you can apply for a passionate pursuit in that and get a hundred dollars to help you pursue your study. Talk about freedom to learn. There's freedom to do as well: whether you want to act in a play, sing in an acapella group, be in a photography show, build an anything from any material--you can do all of that here. You can do all of that here with money and support.
Something else that I completely adore about Olin is the trust that everybody has. I'm pretty sure that at most schools, students don't just leave their laptops and bags and projects lying around the dorms and buildings--at least not without many of those things disappearing forever. At Olin, I feel completely safe leaving my bag in the Academic Center while I go get lunch, or letting my laptop sit on a lounge table for any period of time. It's Olin: nobody will take it. Heck, last year someone found $20 sitting on the floor in the dorms, and then pinned it to the notice board with a "Is this yours?" message--and the money stayed there for over 2 weeks before it was claimed!
One of my absolute favorite things about Olin is that, if you really, REALLY want something, pretty much no matter how ludicrous, you can get it or do it. Class is full? If you really can't get in, even after discussing your situation for the professor and our amazing scheduling people, you can still audit the class--and given the size of Olin, when you audit a class you are pretty much absorbed into it after awhile. But actually. But the even bigger thing is this: a story which I have heard from several Olin students. They were not originally accepted into Olin. But after discussing their situations with the staff of Administrations, they were eventually admitted--and are fantastic, wonderful, smart people who fit in well here.
And finally, the people here. America--most of the world, really--has a very large proportion of people who just aren't very nice--or in my view, don't want to give away their money. That is not the case at all here at Olin. As I have said, and was informed is entirely accurate: "Our currency is help and everyone is willing to give it away." It's absolutely true. Olin is a perfect society where you can get anything, do anything, or be anything you want and all you have to do is simply be nice and work hard.
Olin: land where the American Dream can finally come true.