My name is Matthew Beaudouin-Lafon, and as you might have guessed I will be part of the Olin class of 2019. That last name full of vowels gives away that I'm french, and according to statistics I've seen, possibly the first frenchman at Olin! For my gap year, I chose to do the single most exotic thing I could think of before going to college: going to another college. For the academic year of 2014-2015, I have and will infiltrate the NYU Polytechnic school of engineering. So far, my cover has been blown (mostly by my excitement for Olin). I decided to do this for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I really wanted to go to college, not for the parties (I actually couldn't be more serious), but because I wanted to keep learning math, physics and computer science--I was told I should stay away from engineering classes because everything there would be thrown out the window at Olin. Additionally, I also get to take classes I might not take at Olin, such as "Visual Foundation Studio", in which we "harness the power of visual language in order to convey messages and meaning". Going to college preliminarily has the nice perk that I'll be prepared when I do arrive at Olin, both in knowledge and work ethic.
I also made my schedule pretty light, so that I can work on some personal projects, sometimes using NYU's plentiful resources -- for instance, I have been looking into Poly's Lunabotics team, which enters a NASA competition to build a miner robot. I'll also get to enjoy and perfect my hobbies, such as card flourishing!
Sitting on a cannon on Governor's Island.
Someone asked if they could film me for an advertisement.
Our floor's lounge is across the hall from my room, and I like to spend time working on small, interesting math problems. One of them involved figuring out the cross-sectional area of the One World Trade Center - which also provided its volume through a cute integral. I like math quite a bit, mostly because I had an amazing teacher for my last two years of highschool. Then, I was going through the International Baccalaureate, and before that I was going through the french track. I was recently made aware of what the Pre-Calc syllabus and course looks like - at least at Poly, though is supposedly reflect highschool. I have an hour-long rant about the problems with it at the back of my head, and I plan on straightening out, talk to the Mathematics faculty and see what I can do about it, hopefully beyond NYU Poly's walls. I feel very strongly about mathematics, and I really hope I can make other people if not like it, at least not hate it.
Moving from Paris, where I've lived most of my life, to New York has been an interesting experience. I could, and actually have for my writing class, lay down an entire essay about it. But as an engineer, I will simply say this: in almost all un-biased categories (made by myself), the Parisian Métro is vastly superior to the local subway. Besides that, I really enjoy Brooklyn. Our campus, which is dead in the city, is very nice - not Olin nice, but still very nice. Actually, I couldn't have chosen an engineering school more different than Olin: the NYU graduating class of 2018 is 5,207 students while Olin has 75, Olin is outside of Boston while NYU-Poly is practically in the center of Brooklyn. If anything, I would say I prefer Olin's parameters, but part of the reason I decided to take a gap year here is that I wanted to contrast it with my time at Olin (while still doing loads of math and physics). I can't deny that being in the NYC has some nice perks, such as the MoMath, which is a great mathematics museum, great magic shops, and of course, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert (both of which I can see for free as soon as I turn 18). And the view out my window.
You can see Manhattan in the background as the Powerball sign glows into the night
While NYU Poly is a great school, I am very excited for my time at Olin. This gap-year will be great for taking time to do the things I want, but also prepare me for Olin. On that note, I wish all the freshman at Olin a great year, and I will see you in my next blog post!