The End of the Semester

Rather recently finals week occurred, which is precisely the reason that this blog post is a bit late in being posted. Due to this fact, I felt that I must comment both on finals week itself and on the vacation that rapidly followed it.

If you are planning on coming to Olin, then you are probably already pretty darn good at tests and projects and the like. So, the one bit of advice that I would give to you is this: not everything must be absolutely perfect. Oftentimes at Olin, I see people spending their entire lives working to perfect one tiny aspect of a project and sacrificing many other things, such as social life, fun times and, of course, sleep. To be a nicely rounded human being, I feel that grades are not the only thing you must concentrate on. There are so, so many fun, interesting, and amazing opportunities and people at Olin that you shouldn't lock yourself away in your room the entire last month of the semester, working to finish perfect projects, because there are so many other things to do.

On the subject of Winter Break: for many people, this is the first time that they have been away from Olin for an extended period of time since the beginning of the semester. So I would like to remind everybody that there is a world outside of the Olin bubble--there are so many activities to do in any place that you visit during the vacation. Do fun things online--start learning a new language. Or an instrument. Or write something. Just generally take a break from engineering--or don't--but do something fun during the break. Enjoy your time off. And remember that Olin will be waiting for you when you return.

A New Resource on Campus

Hey everyone!

     I wanted to talk about a new group on campus that I am excited to be a part of! The group is called Peer Advocates for Sexual Respect, and it will provide resources and support for survivors, allies to survivors, and anyone else who has questions about consent, sexual respect, and the various resources we have available on and off campus for Olin students. Using similar groups from other campuses as an example, Kate Maschan '15 created this group for her AHS Capstone after she realized that Olin's campus could greatly benefit from it.

     Although we all like to imagine Olin as a completely safe place protected by the Honor Code, it is a college campus, and sexual assaults do occur here just like all other college campuses. Peer Advocates will do everything we can to ensure that survivors are aware of all the resources available to them, while ensuring that they have the freedom to take whatever action they are most comfortable with. We offer unconditional support to anyone who seeks us out.

     The team of 12 students were selected from a large pool of applicants, with a focus on creating a diverse, passionate group that allowed for any student who approached the group to find someone that they could relate to. The diversity of the group also allow for the passions of the team to permeate through many different areas of campus, creating a safer environment for all students. We hope that the team will encourage people to stop perpetuating rape culture through rape jokes, objectification, word choice, etc.

     During orientation, first-years will be introduced to the entire team of Peer Advocates, and get the opportunity to ask any questions that they have. Contact information will then be distributed to the students, so they can reach the team whenever they want. The team will then host consent and respect sessions with small groups of first-years where we will discuss ways they can help make campus a safer place while answering questions in a more intimate setting.

     We just finished training two days ago, and throughout training I continued to become more passionate about the topics we discussed. I am already much more aware about how my words and the words of those around me can make a large impact on creating a safer campus for all students. Please don't hesitate to email me directly at if you have any questions about the program!


P.S. (Random) For the final project for my Robo Class, my team made a "Too Many Cooks" Team Introduction video which is hilarious. Props to Hannah Wilk on editing!

It was inspired by "Too Many Cooks" by Adult Swim (Warning: It gets very creepy).

Hu Tieu Hai Sen

Hey everyone!

It's been almost two months since my last post and classes just end today! With finals next week, even though I'm a freshman with pass/ no-record, things are getting busy. What's different from other schools is that I choose to spend time on what I want to do, rather than being forced to study for exams.

Right now I'm most excited about making a cube that will light up different colours depending on what colour I put it on. It's an extended version of my Isim project of building a colour sensor. My partner and I are doing more work than we have to, but it makes us so happy when we see our LED light up when we want them to!

After I put everything onto proto boards I'll hopefully 3D print a cube container out of clear plastic. 3D printing is really fun and convenient (I've printed a DIY iphone case). It's a great resource that Olin has. You need to get trained and then you can print whatever you want.

So taking a break from final projects, I will share some fun things I did recently:

Skating at Babson's indoor skating center is one of my favorite activities. This semester we had two nights (11pm-12pm) of Olin-only skating that's free for us all. Although not a pro yet, I feel much comfortable on the ice now.


Above: Babson's Skating Center

Lastly, remember the aerogami co-curricular I talked about in my last post? This week we had the last meeting and I was able to finish this very complex aviocar, in pink!


Today I went to the discovery museum with eDisco (Engineering Discovery, an organization here at Olin that teaches engineering to primary school students). We had the entire museum to ourselves (Yes, college freshmen rather than primary school students) and each of us got a fascinating harmonograph picture. Each harmonograph drawing is unique, and all of them are really pretty! 


With 9 days left at Olin before going home, I'll miss all the resources for the interesting things I'm doing here, the awesome student life and living with my classmates. But I look forward to having car rides every day, home-cooked food and to a certain extent, lots and lots of snow in Toronto.

Again to Prospies: Good luck on college applications! And don't worry if you don't have much engineering experience yet. Start now, and after a semester at Olin, you will know much more.

 * In case you are wondering about the title, you will find out when you come to Olin! Or ask me if you want ( . (It's something really funny and random.)

Until next time.  

How It Feels to be Leaving Olin

Hi all! Or should I say, "bye all"?

Exciting news! I'll be taking a leave of absence from Olin next semester to go to Brazil to work at a business school called Insper. Insper is in the middle of developing a brand new engineering school, and they have a partnership with Olin. There are four Olin students there now (shoutout to Aditi, Cecilia, Doyung, and Mitch!) designing and developing the first semester curriculum. Myself and a few other Olin students will be swapping places with them this spring, to work on developing second semester classes as well as acting as NINJAs for the incoming students in their classes.

I'm incredibly excited for the upcoming semester and the amazing opportunity at Insper, but it's not without those twinges of sadness. It feels pretty weird to think that I won't be here next semester, especially as classes and clubs are winding down and discussing what the plans are for the spring. Tomorrow is my last day of classes at Olin for almost nine months! I'll miss meeting everyone at Candidate's Weekend, the HPV competition, and taking User-Oriented Collaborative Design with the rest of the class of 2017. It's a lot to think about.

That said, I couldn't be more excited to go to Brazil. Now that I just submitted my student visa application, everything seems way more real. I'm trying to avoid thinking about all the annoying logistics of international travel (cell phone plans, money conversions, etc) and instead just enjoy my last week and a half at Olin - or as much as I can with all the finals craziness!

Speaking of which, finals really ARE crazy. I have two projects due next week. In Computational Robotics, my team is making a obstacle course that our Neato robots (sort of like roombas) can navigate through autonomously. It will be able to identify obstacles and figure out what it has to do to complete a "task", like crossing a bridge or knocking down colored dominoes. And in Principles of Engineering, my team is building a piano-playing robot that can read sheet music. It's coming along really well - this video is from our last iteration from two weeks ago, playing Ode to Joy.  Now, it can play three octaves, including black keys, and multiple notes at once.


And finally, before I go back to writing my Discrete Math paper, I'll give an update on what I'm sure you all have been wondering most of all - the ball pit purchased by my roommate Haley and I. Well, it's here, it contains 2000 balls, and it is more awesome than we ever imagined!

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- Anne

P.S. If you want to learn more about Insper and the Oliners in Brazil, check out the blog they've been keeping!

Thanksgiving Break Reflections

I think it's funny that as adults we deny the necessity of going home. It's nice to have someone take care of you every once in a while and to have people who look out for you no matter what.

I think I needed a brief respite from Olin. I love the busy frenetic pace of this school, but sometime it's hard for me to be productive or creative without renewing my energy first(I've been saying I need a break for 2 weeks and it was lovely not to do work for 4 days).


Over the break, all I did was take pictures, do some required shopping (for my passionate pursuit and for clothes), watch movies, and have a lot of undeniable fun. Of course there was guilt at the end of the week from not doing that much homework...but still. When I spoke to/texted my friends most of them were in the same boat. I guess Thanksgiving break will have to suffice for the rest of the semester-- Christmas break is just a few weeks way.

I can't believe how fast this semester has passed. Between 30 hour/week Dynamics problem sets, Robotics labs, Linearity studios, Photography assignments, and the upcoming book, time has just flown. Time really is relative ;).

All the lack of sleep, the workload (especially Dynamics--the 4 credit class that should be 8 credits), and hanging out with friends from earlier in the semester is a blurry haze... because of how content I am at this moment in time. I know everything will be snap back into focus with sharp clarity soon, and that the next three weeks will be even more challenging and exciting than ever before. But right now is one of those perfect moment where everything is far away and close by at the same time.



It's now time for me to go do all of the homework I've been avoiding so I don't start off the last 3 weeks behind...

I know I really haven't spoken to you much this year, and I'm not sure if I'm qualified to give much advice, but here is some anyways: Go out live and live! Make sure people understand why you do the things you do, but never feel hampered by people's expectations. Do what makes you happy. Life is fleeting.

Bye lovelies. G'luck for college apps if you are seniors!

Juanita Desouza


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