Mind the Gap

When I heard the phrase "gap year" brought up at Candidate's Weekend, it was something I was absolutely positive I would never do. Taking a gap year was like failing, right? I mean, you would only do that if you didn't get into Olin the first time, right?


Long story short, I got waitlisted in the Olin Class of 2016. I was all


And I decided to go to another school, which we can call WC. WC had a good reputation for tough academics. This was totally true if what they meant by tough academics was


By the beginning of November, I started filling out transfer applications. I knew I wanted to be at a school where the work was challenging, and fun happened when the work was done. It was also important to me to find a place where fun didn't have to be alcoholic.

So, at the beginning of January I was sick of filling out applications, so I called up Charlie Nolan. (Disclaimer: don't try this at home.) I'm going to paraphrase how that conversation went:

Me: So you know that gap year thing I was supposed to tell you about like 9 months ago?

Charlie: Yes.

Me: Can I do that now?

Charlie: This is unusual.

Lucky me, it all worked out.

In September I attended my second freshman orientation, which I was clearly very excited about:


(Despite my reservations, orientation was truly a ton of fun.)

Reflecting on my first semester so far, I am so much happier at Olin than I think I would be anywhere else. I am grateful to WC, because now I have something to compare the Olin experience to.

Unlike most schools, Olin's mission statement is a part of every decision made here. They don't just hand you a thick booklet of rules and corresponding punishments when you walk in and call it an honor code. The honor code is a set of truly important values, and when it is broken each case is treated as though it has no precedent.

Although there is a ton of work here, the type of work we do here doesn't wear me out the way work did last year. There's not several hours' worth of reading to do at night. Instead, there's an hour of coding I need to do, an hour of reading, and an hour of building a sketch model for design nature. It makes the amount of work we have to do seem less exhausting when it seems like it's actually working to a goal. Isn't it always better to feel like your work is going somewhere?

Finally, Olin does fun right. Here are some examples:

BotRockNov2013_0044.JPG (An engineering discovery Bottle Rockets workshop in November)


 (A ride on the T during orientation)


 (Graham's giant beach ball, larger than Zoher)

OctoberNovember2013_0327.JPG(And this snapchat of my name tag on Doyung)

All I can say is that I love this place, and I'm glad I'm here, but my gap year makes me appreciate it all the more.


Ke$Ha gif from perezhilton.com, all other gifs from whatshouldwecallme.tumblr.com. Pictures are mine.


Posted in: Toni '17