December 2008 Archives

A Well-Received Lull


It's always surprising, and sometimes slightly uncomfortable, to rediscover that feeling of having nothing, in particular, to do over a long break. I usually respond by making lists of things I've been wanting to do but haven't been able to. Right now that list includes quite a few books to read and a mandate to myself to write this post, among other things. What usually ends up occupying my time is sleep and spending time with friends and family.

The end of the semester is always busy. Here are a few things that took more of my time than others:

Hip hop dancing. Ten other students and I did a Passionate Pursuit in hip hop dance this semester. Passionate Pursuits can get up to 3 non-degree credit hours and a certain amount of funding from the school. Our Passionate Pursuit was 1 credit hour and involved an hour-long lesson each week from a hip hop instructor/student at Babson College, as well as additional practice on our own or in a group. We spent most of the time learning choreography to parts of three different hip hop songs of our choosing. At the end of the semester, we performed at an event called Night of Passion (specifically for Passionate Pursuits to show off what they had been working on). A lot of time near the end was devoted to practicing the choreography, coming up with outfit ideas for the performance, creating transitions between the songs, and helping each other with particular moves. None of us had specifically learned hip hop dancing before. The performance went well--we had fun, at least, and I think the audience was surprised to see it.

Semester’s End


My final fall semester at Olin has drawn to a snowy close. In retrospect, I think experience held me aloft in the sprint to the finish. The little details of taking care of yourself pay back like crazy: maintaining some minimum of sleep and getting in regular workouts were the key ones for me. There's never enough time to do as much as one would like, but I've realized I reside squarely in the camp of those who will always have an overflow of things to do. It's sometimes hard to remember that a different pace of life exists outside of Olin, but moving into winter break offers at least a chance to think about it.

Here's a brief recap of my semester projects. Each one merits a post, and I'll hope to reserve some reflection time on each over the upcoming weeks of respite and write as the spirit moves. This includes the courses of: SCOPE, Product Design and Development (PDD), my Olin Self Study in environmental impact analysis, Systems, and Intellectual Property.

By the tracks

Somewhere in Massachusetts, a blizzard meets a Commuter Rail Station.




As the semester comes to a close and everyone is busy finishing up their projects, I had a thought.

Working in groups at Olin is hard.

My Software Design team works on building Pricecod (Photo by Bennett '09)

And, well, this is why Olin stresses team-based projects in many, if not most of its classes. The idea is that by learning (suffering?) now, students will develop the teamwork and communication skills that industry tells us they so sorely lack. There is a huge discrepancy between the engineers in corporate environments who mostly work in teams, and undergraduate engineering students who traditionally focus on individual work and projects. Olin is specifically trying to resolve this discrepancy by reforming undergraduate education to incorporate the "increased emphasis on business, teamwork, interdisciplinary design and communications skills" urged by leaders in the engineering industry.

I think it's a great idea. I'm worried that Olin's approach of having mainly team-based classes is too broadly applied though.

Swimmers… almost


Live from Design Nature Studio 1, AC 204, this is Colin Zwiebel. From the looks of the room, there is some real creativity going on the room is getting messier as we progress further into Monday.


Why are so many first-years working passionately through their sleeping hours? Tomorrow, amid the end of classes and looming finals, a very ruthless bunch of individuals will converge on Olin. That's right, a class of 4th graders are coming to review swimmers, the final project of Design Nature.

Recent Assets

  • By the tracks
  • Frost
  • Waiting
  • sd.jpg
  • rock_hoppers_gantt.JPG
  • studio_overview_lower.jpg
  • phelpinator_swimmer_motion.jpg
  • Nautilus Swim Test
  • stationary.jpg
  • newbooks.jpg

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