Find Your Olin: Cory '23

Simply put, I chose Olin because it was different. It steps away from the traditional, and one of the best parts about Olin is that we love that we are different. With a unique curriculum, a lack of fear in doing, thought and care put into creating, and our wish to make change for the better…that is what makes Olin so remarkable. Focused on the Do Something concept (the idea that what we are learning, how we are growing, and where we are going is all additive to the world of change and genuinely doing something), I knew Olin was the right fit. I wanted to do something, to make something that matters, and Olin gives me that opportunity.

My name is Cory Knox, and I am a first-year at Olin. I can’t say that I regret my decision at all. I won’t lie. Choosing the college I would attend for the years to come, that would put me a little further onto my path of life and finding success, was terrifying. We put so much pressure on the decision as if it is final, set in stone. But during the terrifying opening months of 2019, my mom would remind me, “Choose what makes you happy. Your happiness is the priority. There is no point in going, paying, investing in something that doesn’t make you happy.” I had choices, and Olin was one of them. I was lucky. Finances weren’t a huge deciding factor for me personally. I thank my parents for that. I had freedom to choose. It took me two more visits to Olin, an overnight at a different school that I now look back on without regrets, and another school visit where I felt more like an outcast than I had expected.

Olin was different. Every visit, every time I came back, it just felt right. The community, the energy, the love and drive for what everyone was doing—it was all so exciting and welcoming. After that third visit, I knew I had made a decision, a decision that may have been made a lot earlier than I give it credit for and was lurking in my subconscious for a while. But now it was certain, and I came to Olin during the Fall 2019 semester, without regrets, without worries, and with great happiness. It just felt right.

Now to the first day of Olin life…At first the idea of stepping out and meeting new people, finding that new family, is pretty daunting. I felt socially awkward, kind of quiet, looking at my shoes a whole lot. It felt momentarily reminiscent of when I switched schools in 7th grade. But before I even fully realized it, I was smiling and waving at people I had just met, not even. One of the many beautiful things about Olin is the fact that everyone is here for you. The support and the love is felt every day, with bright smiles and “hello”s from people you may not even know. Making friends and finding my people was one of the easiest things to do: normally terrifying, but in this case amazing. I didn’t immediately join clubs or activities. I love to work and create in visual arts. I love fashion and visual presentation along with aesthetics. Music plays a huge roll in my personality. These characteristics immediately drew in similar personalities. Some of my best friends now were found through fashion and our matching high-energy personalities. Your people will find you and you will find them. As long as you are you, you will find the people you need.

As of right now, I am separated from the people from Olin that I love and that I consider a part of my family. We’re all tired, a little isolated, and uncertain as to when we will get to see each other again. We want it to be sooner than later, but the world is unpredictable, and that’s okay. These times, as trying as they are, are also amazing opportunities to see just how much someone matters to you, whether you realize it or not. The amount of emotion felt as we left campus, the amount of texts exchanged of love and support, check-in after check-in just to make sure we were okay…it’s all felt and seen. We’ve been spending as much time as we can via FaceTime, Zoom, texts, etc. to have moments together. Netflix Party has been our best friend, and planning for when we can finally leave our homes again is frequently spoken of. My Olin family and I have been trying to focus on the positives and see that even though times are hard right now, the sunshine will be back soon enough. We aren’t alone, and we’re there for each other through it all. I miss them, but in a way they’re still here in upstate NY with me. 

Taken in my dorm unknowingly a few weeks before we had to leave. Olin love.