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.
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.