UP ON JACK STANDS: WORKING ON MY CAR AT OLIN

Hi, my name is Jen Siegel (she/her) and I’m from the class of 2024! I’m working on-campus this summer as a Post-Graduate Planning Student worker. I wanted to share how awesome the staff here at Olin is through a set of anecdotes surrounding one of my hobbies: cars. I daily drive a 2007 Mazdaspeed6, my first car that I own (aka isn’t my family’s) that I bought this past January. I like tinkering with things and generally getting my hands dirty.  

Since January, I’ve slowly been working on it, learning a lot by doing most of my own work. This includes general maintenance, replacing parts, fixing it up, upgrading components, etc. Because I’ve been here at Olin nearly the entire time I’ve had the car, the bottom of Lot A has become my garage and the place where I’ve met several staff members, sometimes in pretty interesting scenarios. I want to take this opportunity to highlight these staff members and talk about how nice and awesome they all are! 

The first repair I did was replacing one of the motor mounts. I was in “my garage” during an evening this past winter. The car was up on jack stands and I was underneath the car when Babson Police pulled up next to me. The officer asked me what I was doing, was I an Olin student, etc., just trying to make sure that I was not going to cause any trouble. Her last question was about my parking sticker and if I had filled out the form to get one. At this point, I had been too lazy to fill out the form, but I wasn’t going to tell her that. Long story short, she told me to make sure I got my parking sticker. She was nice and was chill throughout our interaction. The moral of the story is if you bring your car to campus, just get your parking sticker. It is super easy. It took less than an hour in total to go from finding the form, to walking over to the Public Safety office at Babson, then applying it to my car’s window.  

This next story happened during spring semester. It was a similar situation, sans me being under the car. I was in “my garage” again, this time doing a brake job: front and rear brake pads and rotors. Many Mazdas from the 2000s have rust issues and my car is no exception. My front rotors were stuck and were not going to come off easily. To get the rotor off, you can hit the rotor around the edges with a hammer. I have quite a decent tool collection up here at Olin, but somehow didn’t have any kind of hammer. So, I went over to the shop to hopefully find someone who could help me out. At the time, I had never actually met anyone from the shop. I found who I later learned was Lucas, one of the shop instructors. I asked him for a hammer and he kindly found one for me. I went and tried it, realized that it was way too small and came back, asking for another hammer, this time letting him know what I intended to use it for. He found me a much larger hammer and even went out of his way to try and find me another tool more suitable for the task at hand. Using the bigger hammer, I successfully got the old rotors off.  

A few hours later, Lucas was leaving the parking lot. On the way, came down to check on me, seeing if I was successful or not. He didn’t have to do that, which I think was super nice of him. Part of me also thinks that he just wanted to make sure I hadn’t killed myself somehow. Through this and other experiences, I’ve gotten to know Lucas a bit better and can safely say that he is a pretty amazing person. I’m excited to get to know him and the other shop staff when we’re back on campus this fall. 

After Lucas left, a man approached me, asking what I was doing, was I an Olin student, etc., questions that I’ve heard before during my encounters with Babson Police and am very familiar with at this point. The man eventually introduced himself to me as Tom Curley, the director of facilities. He told me that whenever I was gonna be working on my car in the lot, to just shoot him an email letting him know. From my interaction, Tom was a super nice guy. I don’t think there are that many places where I would have basically been given a thumbs up and told good luck while doing a brake job in the parking lot. Free tip: let people know when you are going to be doing work like this. It helps keep you safe and lets others know what is going on.  

All the people that I’ve met that work to support students have been great. They’ve all been very helpful and I’m glad to have met them. Don’t hesitate to ask the staff at Olin for help, that’s what they’re here for.  

Posted in: Student Voices