A Well-Needed (Winter) Break

By Jessi Murray, 2010

I didn't blog much this semester, as you may have noticed. I've been one of the writers for this little project since my freshman year-- now three years ago. I knew I should be writing more posts. I took pictures for them, I wrote them, one I even published before taking down later (for NDA reasons). I guess what stopped me from writing a lot of the time was the fact that, despite getting lovely GPA-raising grades this semester, this was one of the toughest I've experienced on a personal level possibly ever.

I didn't want these feelings to come through on a blog that is supposed to attract prospective students. I didn't want to be the person who was a poor reflection of the school. However, these situations are reality, and from them some positive things did stem.

(Even if you don't care about this post, you should click through for an awesome video of a bunch of Olin students doing the Thriller dance.)

I did have a lot of fun at times this semester. I did Thrill the World (led by blogger Tiama '11):

I learned how to make pickles and jams from the new Biology professor. I got to help my fellow students (or at least supply them with candy and other food) as an R2 (Olin's version of an RA).

Still, things were tough. I was sick a great deal from a new medication. I was worried about job prospects. There scads of other things all on my mind.

Frankly, worrying can be common here.

It's not anything particular to Olin- just particular to the sorts of high-achievers that come here. What's also not particular is the silence that often accompanies any sort of struggle. There is a self-induced stigma; none of your peers would judge you, but you don't want them to know anyway. For a long time, I assumed all of my friends had 4.0 GPAs. They don't.

What helped me get through this, what stopped me from taking a medical leave of absence, were my friends. My friends held my hair back as I vomited, handed me tissues when I just needed a good cry, and sat on my couch for hours just talking. When I think about all of the schools that I could have gone to, the what-ifs always disappear when I think about the friends I've made here. These are the friends I'll have for life.
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