A Letter to Future Shane

Dear Future Shane,

10 years from now, huh? I presume by now you’ve figured it all out. Probably gotten that top engineering job at that company that makes that product that helps businesses make more money when working with other businesses. Oh yeah. You probably even have equity and a sweet 401k. And obviously, you’re a charitable person giving $100 a year to Red Cross and even helping out at the local soup kitchen once a year (and by help out, I obviously mean put some groceries in their bin at market, because who actually has the time to drive all the way there – seriously). You probably even tip 20% every time you eat out.

I do realize however that you may have perhaps gone weird in the head and “tried to be happy” or something like that. Well, even if you have, it is really not too late to change. If you start now, you could land that previously mentioned engineering job by the time you’re like 42. That leaves you 20 years to prep your retirement fund. If we have gotten to this bad situation, I assume there are some changes that need to be made so I decided to write you a whole list of ways you should be a better person.

Ways you could be better person:

Work on that body. By this point, I’d expect you to be at least 6’2” with a six pack. Both of these are 100% necessary to be a successful human.
Have a bunch of really awesome stories. There is nothing people love more than telling a cool story and then having someone else tell an even cooler story. So you can be that guy! Always have a story ready and you’re guaranteed to be a hit at parties.

Learn how to dress. You’re probably wearing khaki shorts and blue tshirts everyday. I’m disgusted. Throw out the khakis and burn the blue tshirts and we can set our eyes on new horizons. Maybe try a purple tshirt or maybe even a teal one. Match that with red shorts or, maybe, some lighter tan shorts and we’re in business.

Always have a plan for everything. Perhaps, you like “winging it” occasionally or just doing what feels right. Quit that. As they say, the best days are well-organized and efficiently executed.

Don’t view yourself as static. Of course that are things you could be better at. Obviously you have some flaws. Don’t despair, but also don’t admit defeat. Just because you’re accepting that you’re not the best public speaker doesn’t mean you shouldn’t find ways to improve yourself.
Don’t take people for granted. There are probably still so many incredible people in your life. You’ve probably gotten used to that by now. Having friends who can solve any problems, friends who, at the drop of a hat, would rush to help you or friends who tell you your jokes are bad so you can strive for better material – don’t ever get used to that. Look around you and make sure you truly, genuinely appreciate the people in your life. Oh, and tell them that. Yup. It’ll be awkward, but go tell them that you appreciate them.

Well, all that should keep you busy for the next little while, but I’ll check in soon.


A Letter to Teenage Shane

Dear teenage me,

You probably thought that by now I’d be brimming with advice and important life wisdom that I needed you to know. I thought I’d think of plenty of anecdotes to tell you.

Now, I realize I am not sure what to say, which I guess is a good thing. There is no amazing advice I need to give you. No secret message to fix everything. Could you do college differently? Of course. Could you have a better relationship with your parents? Obviously. Will depression come back, self-esteem continue its roller-coaster ride, and your room remain messy? You betcha. But, that’s ok. That’s life.

What I guess I do want to tell you, though, is that you haven’t gotten that good at all things you want to be better at. Well, I mean that I’m not yet what you consider to be good. You want to command a room like your friend Mark, be able to make friends with anyone like Isaac, and crack jokes like Roi. You have a whole list of ways you could be a better person and another whole list of people you want to be like. Well, like I said, you can’t speak like Mark, you’re still a bumbling mess around strangers, and your jokes are still equally hilarious, but mostly only to you.

I can say that you’ve slowly realized you don’t need to be like Mark or Isaac or any of them, because no one can tell a Shane story or plan a spontaneous adventure like you do. You can make people feel comfortable around you, your sarcasm is so good that most people don’t even get it, and you’re still really funny. Yeah, of course I am going to keep practicing and trying to get better at all that other stuff, but just remember to look around and see all the things you’re good at too. I count at least 3 talents, but counting might not be one of them.

– Shane

Comparison of GPAs at Olin

Last month, I sent out a survey to learn more about grade point averages at Olin. I received exactly 100 responses, split almost perfectly by sex (51 males and 49 female) and pretty evenly distributed by class. As for major, I received about 30 responses each for ECE and ME, 15 for E:C and less than 5 or 6 for every other major.

So, what did the data show? First, gender did not appear to matter. Males have an average of 3.583 while females have an average of 3.58. Things get a little more interesting when comparing the graduating classes. I expected younger classes to have higher GPAs, and as Figure 2 shows, this was true for everyone except females from the class of 2015 who have 3.65 average.

I also compared the average GPA for each major. Given the small sample size outside of ME, ECE and E:C, conclusions cannot be drawn about the other majors, but I included the graph anyway. Everyone I spoke to expected MEs to have a much lower GPA, but in the end ECEs, MEs and E:Cs were all within .03 of each other (ECE = 3.633, E:C = 3.614, ME = 3.603).

The last question on the survey was about sleep. Unfortunately (and fortunately), the vast majority of Oliners get 6-8 hours of sleep so I could not see a correlation between sleep and GPA.

fs-dec_gpa3Figure 1: In general younger classes had higher GPAs, but the females from class of 2015 deviated from the pattern.

fs-dec_gpa2Figure 2: Responses were evenly distributed across the classes surveyed. This shows the average GPA by class.

fs-dec_gpa1Figure 3: The average GPA for ECE, ME, and E:C was almost identical; the average differed by a mere 0.03 points.