It has been approximately 3.006e+6 seconds since fellow Oliner, Brennan VandenHoek, and I pulled out of my driveway in Portland, Oregon and began the round-about sixteen-day cross-country trek (in a VW golf) from the great PNW to the long awaited destination of Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering.

And I can tell you, despite the fact that I spent ten hours yesterday dripping salty tears on my keyboard as I confirmed my personal suspicions of mediocrity via MatLab, Olin is one of the best places on earth.

There's my plug.

Who am I? Where have I been? Why am I here?

These are pretty meta questions, but the answer can be a little less existential; here are the hard facts:

My name is Mikhaela Eleanor (and I don't like my last name).  

From Portland, Oregon

I like Firefly, snowboarding, Dr. Martens, good friends, freewriting, free food, free things, free puppies, free radicals, freedom, freezie pops, & freezing cold weather (good thing I am in Boston).

I am really good at being snarky.

I am nineteen going on twenty, an older freshman, as I am a gappie.

A gappie? What's that? That is an individual who takes a year off between high school and college to do cool stuff like discover their identity and be homeless in Greece. Among other interesting activities, such as getting seriously lost in Moscow with zero language skills, residing for two weeks in old German Police Headquarters, living with Latvian anarchists, couchsurfing through seven countries, crossing into the Arctic Circle, and living out of rubbish bins for over a month because I ran out of money.

As such, it's been a while since I was in school and thought that coming back to routine and structure would be difficult, but fortunately Pass No Record* exists. And so I am taking full advantage of it by hanging out with the upperclassmen in the lofted rooms avoiding adult responsibilities and broadcasting my thoughts on the internet. Ta da!

And let that be my segue into the wonderful world of Pass No Record. Quite literally the most brilliant invention in academia since, well, the chalkboard.  

Pass No Record is what allows you to do all the things. Want to be part of REVO, BAJA, OFAC, OPIUM, edisco, Ultimate, SLAC, ODP**, go to all your classes, eat sometimes, go dumpster diving, have friends, shower, compete in the 1-4-1 challenge***,  make midnight milk runs, and have Nerf Wars? Every week? Well you can. Also, please notice sleep was not on that list

I mean, you could sleep if you wanted to, but why would you when there is so much to do? Thus far Olin feels like summer camp, the only difference is our arts and craft projects have the potential to go seriously wrong. And we roast s'mores! But on a serious note, the community you find at Olin, made by all these quirky dreamers, is unlike anything I have experienced anywhere on earth. No matter what you're interested in there is someone else who is interested, too. Everyone here takes care of one another; I've never felt safer or more accepted for who I am. At lunch I can sit down with anyone and talk about any topic that crosses my mind. Each day I learn something from my classmates. And within three weeks it already feels as if 72.3% of my class is family and the rest of them are on their way to being good friends.

So, why am I here? Because this is Olin.

No really.

It's true

All my love,






*For all you back home, Pass No Record is Olin's version of zero to sixty in what is the automotive equivalent of about two seconds. This way us noobs can try every club on campus, stay up late getting to know each other and the upperclassmen, get involved in volunteer work, co-curriculars, student activities, run for positions in student government, and generally have a rollicking time. The purpose of it is to get first-years entrenched in the community immediately and give us the space we need to try things we know we will fail at and do just that.  Because, after all, knowing how to fail is paramount to true learning, take it from a pro. And yes, being really good at failure is in the skills list on my Resume.  

**In that order: Student clubs for electric vehicles, motor vehicles, fire arts, improv performance, k-12 outreach, competitive Frisbee, collaborative coding, and all kinds of dance

***1-4-1 is a Olinvented game which is when you try to get from the first floor to the fourth, back down to the first and outside of West Hall without ever touching the ground. There are other rules too, and varying levels of difficulty.

And that's a wrap!

Since I'm not sure if I'll be able to blog again, I wanted to take this chance to write one last post. So here it goes!

Just over a week ago was commencement (click to see some great 15 words).

That's right, dear readers. I, along with the rest of 2014, graduated. Crazy, right?

I think the scariest part is that it hasn't sunk in. I still feel like I will be returning in the fall, surrounded by my best friends.

I wanted to take this chance to list out some of the things I think Olin has helped me discover:

Build Day!

Dear Reader,

Imagine, if you will: Finals are approaching, steadily, on the horizon.  Classes have just ended, and a meager three days are left before the oncoming mass of due dates.  And what will Olin students be doing?

Now, "finishing projects" or "making posters" are perfectly reasonable guesses, but this is Olin we're talking about.

We decided last year that three days between the end of classes and the start of finals is much too much, and decided to do something special with one of them.  And thus, Build Day was born.

What is "Build Day," you ask?


(See more @BuildOlin.)

Build Day is the day when the whole Olin community (students, faculty, staff, administration--everyone) gets together and says, "We love this place.  But we want to make it better."  Some really awesome projects happened, and there was planting, discussing, and baking galore.  The Dining Hall even got into it, having Build Your Own Pizza, Hamburgers, Tacos, and Cupcakes for lunch.  It was an incredible event to be a part of, and I can't wait for Build Day 2015.  (Well actually I can, because I can't even think about being halfway to graduation.  Which leads me to...)

Congrats to Olin's Class of 2018!

You've all worked really hard to make it here, and Nagy's blog the a few days ago was 100% true.  So relax!  I have a feeling you made the right choice.  You'll be here this fall...

See ya real soon!

Michael, c/o '17

Artisan's Asylum Field Trip!

Hey you! So how's your life been?  Mine's been stressful like usual, but so many interesting things have happened in the last few weeks I don't even know what I want to write about. I guess I'll focus on my "field trip" to Artisan's Asylum, a Makerspace in Cambridge.

This trip was actually part of the Hydraulic and Pneumatics Seminar I registered for.  Seminars are new courses this year and Gui is teaching this specific one(unfortunately he's not teaching next year). For the last few weeks we have been learning about hydraulics and we took a field trip so we could play with some of the things in hydraulic systems.

Working with hydraulics for the first time was as terrifying as we had been warned that they had a high capacity to hurt someone if not assembled correctly. It was also really cool and frustrating at times since the direction things were pointing when they were "screwed in" mattered and we had to make sure that the systems were bled and that there was enough oil in all of the hose. Suffice to say everyone's hands were oily by the end of it, which made using tools an added challenge.

The big moment was when we let it run and nothing leaked or blew up. The cylinders all worked and everything actuated like it was supposed to.

Here are some pictures. Feel free to laugh at the absurdity of our system that was so tangled it looked like a spider! :p1.JPGp2.JPGp3.JPGp4.jpgp5.jpgp6.JPG

I'm so glad I took this seminar as it has taught me a lot about a field I knew nothing about. It has made me more comfortable working with slightly atypical systems that have different circuits and components. And of course going on field trips to do hands-on engineering is always exciting!

~Juanita Desouza

P.S Remember last post when I talked about ice skating? I finally found a gif of the really cool move from my favorite skater. As far as my progress is going, I've been learning waltz jumps, toe loops, and a Salchow. I can also finally do backwards crossovers!skating2.gif


Get Pumped! Enjoy the next few months.

I'd like to start this post by congratulating all the graduating seniors for reaching the final deadline of all college apps. For the non-seniors out there, today (May 1st) marks the nationwide deadline for committing to a college. There's no more worrying about which essays need to be written and which forms need to be submitted. I remember when this day came around, exactly one year ago, I couldn't help but feel bittersweet about the moment.

When I put in my deposit to attend Olin College, I wanted nothing more than to celebrate. It was at that moment that it dawned on me that the next four years of my life were figured out. For all of high school, it was always preparing for the next step and trying to get ahead of the game. When will I be taking the SAT or ACT? Are my grades good enough? Will my counselor approve my list of colleges? Did I submit all my forms? When I finally put in my deposit, I felt relieved of that burden and I could live in the moment. I could finally enjoy the next few months, without trying to preempt the next step. It was very comforting to know exactly where I would be for the next four years and not have to worry about what comes next.

Exactly one year ago, as a senior, I felt like it would be the last time in my life where I would have absolutely no major obligations. Once I passed my classes, there was nothing left to do except enjoy what I had. I remember cherishing the few months that I'd be living with my parents and the last time my group of friends would be together. This was a really special time. I encourage all of you to take a moment, and consider how unique an opportunity you have before September when you move in. This is the last time in your life where you will have this same kind of transition. Take this time to celebrate who you are and what you've accomplished with your friends and family. Soak it all up, but remember to look ahead.

No matter how many things are ending (high school, friendships, relationships, etc), there is so much to look forward too. Get pumped! For you all who are attending Olin next year, get ready for the time of your life.


Build Day

On the Olin side of things, as our year comes to an end, projects are finishing up and the work load is at an all-time peak (which is saying a lot given how much work Olin gives its students). I've been busy building a mechanical hand, modeling a human powered helicopter, writing MatLab code to filter images (smoothing filter and edge detection), and building circuits to make a polygraph machine. Yet, in the midst of all this work, tomorrow the Olin Community will join together to celebrate the second annual Olin Build Day. This is a day where students, faculty, and staff all get together to celebrate the community that is a tight family here at Olin. There will be many projects happening around the school which will all help improve identifieds needs and build a stronger bond between students and administration. A few of the activities include "Cooking with Faculty," "Decorating the Stairwells in the Academic Center", and "Developing the Olin Curriculum." Things like this are what make Olin special, and why I'm really enjoying my time here. I feel like I have the space and resources to keep developing the school and improve it in ways that benefit me as a student, and the experience of all the other students at Olin as well.

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Recent Comments

  • Mel (Olin '07): I so wish I could be there to see the read more
  • Kevin Tostado: What time are the performances? As an alum in the read more
  • Brittany L. Strachota: Looks like a huge success! Keep it up. :) read more
  • Kimly Do: also also, an electric water kettle is not really necessary, read more
  • Brittany L. Strachota: We shall see. Though, 150 is an awful lot of read more
  • Chris Fitzhugh: That being said, I have a desktop and immensely value read more
  • Brittany L. Strachota: I want cookies! Also, don't forget, kids, you WILL be read more
  • Noam Rubin: Hey 2015, I'd also recommend bringing a couple cups, bowls, read more
  • Jordyn Burger: Yep! Congrats, Brendan's gonna give you cookies! [I'll let him read more
  • CSF: Is the title from The Jeffersons? read more