What Your Dorm Says About You

The Floor Is Laundry

What’s the point of making your bed when you’ll sleep in it the next day anyway? You have open containers of food and clothes strewn all over the floor. You haven’t taken out the trash in three weeks. You don’t get many visitors and you don’t know why.

The AmazonBasics Dorm

You forgot that dorms are supposed to have decorations, so you purchased everything off of Amazon when you got here. You have a Great Wave poster and a map of the world because those were the first things that showed up when you looked up “posters”. You used the rubber tubing and dowel as your hopper trigger.

The Dorm With All The Plants

You have given names to your plants and talk to them daily. You bought your water bottle from REI and decorated it with national parks stickers. Your favorite shoes are Birkenstocks or Tevas and you own at least one article of clothing from Patagonia.

The Food Pantry

Your fridge is overflowing because you make frequent trips to Trader Joe’s and hoard food from the dining hall. Your parents never let you eat snacks when you wanted, so you’re overcompensating now.

The “Live Laugh Love” Dorm

Everything you own is color-coordinated. You own scented candles and have used them more than once since first getting them on Etsy. Your favorite thing from home is your Fujifilm Instax and you hang your polaroids on your wall with string lights.

Your Floor Is So Spotless You Could Eat Off the Ground

You clean your dishes right after eating. You always put colored pencil sets into rainbow order when you’re done with them. You tell people “my dorm is so messy!” when the only thing on the ground is your shoes. Your hopper worked on your first try.

You Have Apple “Think Different” Posters On Your Wall

You check Hacker News every day. You’ve read Zero to One and The Hard Thing About Hard Things. You frequently quote Paul Graham, wear Allbirds, and use words like “scale” and “pivot” more than necessary. You are taking classes at Babson.

Why You Should do NOTHING, Like Me

Picture this: you’re alone in your room, which is a mess, with a semester-long to-do list in which nothing has been checked off. Your finals are next week. You have one night to finish a semester’s worth of homework for one class. It sounds impossible, but that’s what my life was like for my first two years at Olin.

“How did the professors even let that happen?! That’s not even possible!” you say.  Which—fair. You have a point. But the reason it got to that point is that I was depressed and anxious. And people at Olin are understanding. They give you the space you need to do the growing you need to do.

As many of you know, the people at Olin are just incredible. Each person you meet seems smarter and more talented than the last. They are talented, skilled and knowledgeable. They’ve done the coolest internship, the most complex projects, and have the best job lined up after graduation. It’s easy to feel like an imposter. It’s a lot, and it hit me hard. I felt completely out of place. I was just some not-American girl, who didn’t know how to code, who hadn’t done big engineering projects in high school. I pushed myself so hard after getting here thinking that I had to catch up. Two project teams, Robolab, and 20 credited on top of it. I thought if I became some kind of machine who was working all the time I could a) catch up with everybody else and finally get that internship, and b) not lose sleep agonizing over “what did I do to make everybody hate me today”.

Obviously, that crashed and burned real fast. I was barely able to keep up with that schedule for a week before I started falling behind, and I’d avoid people in shame, and then agonize over being ignored, and consequently not get anything done in the process of agonizing. I was burned out within the semester. I spent two years subjecting myself to this cycle, just so I could be good enough.

And then, COVID-19. We got sent home in March 2020. I was actually doing a little better that semester, adequately busy (but not too much), with some healthy social dynamics. I learned very quickly that online learning wasn’t for me. I decided to take the year off. At first, I was pushing myself hard to find an internship or some way of being productive. The internship didn’t work out, but I thought, “If I learn some theoretical content now, I won’t struggle when I’m at school, and I won’t be depressed!”

This turned out to be completely false. I was at home, learning at my own pace. No homework, no deadlines, no stress, but I was still lost. I felt hopeless all the time. I was living because of some invisible, inevitable, and incessant force pushing me forward, not because I had a dream of my own. And then one day, exactly five months ago, I put my foot down. I told myself, “For the rest of my break, I am going to do nothing.”

And that’s what I did. I would wake up whenever I felt like it and spend all day in bed binge-watching Modern Family and a random assortment of equally good, but equally trashy, K-Dramas and C-Dramas. I learned languages, sang terribly, ate the worst food, and did whatever I wanted to do, solely because I wanted to and it was good. So good that I don’t have any more eloquent words to describe it. I felt myself growing dreams and aspirations that I had given up on ever having again. I finally developed a passion for engineering beyond the point of it merely being a fleeting interest. For the first time ever, I want to be where I am, doing what I’m doing, with the people I’m with. And that’s all that really matters.

It’s really easy at Olin to fall victim to imposter syndrome and FOMO. For some, it’s worse than others. I only hope that you don’t get it as bad as I did. Because, honestly, it’s not worth it. Finding joy in what you’re doing, and being the best you that you can be, will bring a lot more value to your life than some stupid internship.

Editor’s Note: Please, please, please reach out to an ARC before it gets as bad as it did for me.

21

21 years of natural disaster after natural disaster

21 years of climate change denial

21 years of widespread poverty, food insecurity, and lack of access to basic needs

21 years of billionaires in the richest country in the world

21 years of mass shootings

21 years of “now is not the time”

21 years of endless death and torture caused by our country in the middle east

21 years of “protecting national security”

21 years of being told terrorists are coming to bomb us

21 years of bombing other countries

21 years of gay and trans people being seen as less

21 years of “you’re being too dramatic”

21 years of pervasive racism in every part of our society

21 years of already having the Civil Rights Act, what more do you want?

21 years of pervasive sexism in every part of our society

21 years of not needing the Equal Rights Amendment because women are already equal

21 years of controlling women’s bodies

21 years of “protecting lives” in a country with almost no safety net

21 years of not having the right to healthcare

21 years of “uninsured people are lazy”

21 years of being asked why I’m so jaded

21 years of America.

Our Hopes: Returning From Online Classes

This semester we are returning to Olin in-person, after two and a half semesters of classes online or a hybrid of online and in-person. Olin classes typically involve building things, using tools, and lots of teamwork.While many classes had extremely creative solutions for moving their content online, things were undoubtedly different. At the end of the summer, I interviewed several current juniors and seniors about their experience with online classes, and what their hopes are as we go into an in-person fall semester.

While students had widely varying experiences with different parts of their online classes, everyone I talked to said that the experience was overwhelmingly lonely. “It did feel lonely and isolating at times… you’d run into those moments where you’re like, ‘Oh, I am sitting alone in my room, scribbling on a piece of paper, hunched over my bed.’” one student said. Multiple students said it was “harder to check up on people,” and that they felt less connected with their teammates than they had during in-person semesters.

While everyone experienced loneliness, students had different experiences with other aspects of online learning. While for one student professors seemed inaccessible and writing an email felt overwhelming, another said it was easy to find time to talk to professors because they only had to write an email and set up a Zoom call. The Zoom chat was especially polarizing: some people found it overwhelming and distracting, some felt more engaged using it, others really enjoyed having a “backchannel” to share links, and others only liked it as a place to type a brief check-in. A few students said that assignments and due dates were more well-documented and easier to keep track of than they’d been in-person, while others felt like the wide variety of online tools being used–Canvas, Slack, Discord, and custom class websites, to name a few–made things more confusing.

At the end of each conversation, I asked students what their hopes were for this semester. Here are some of their responses:

  • “I am super excited to be back on campus! I just really want to be around people again, I’m very excited to work in teams and in groups, and in the AC–or the MAC is what it’s now called”
  • “I hope I can maintain relationships without being in the same space as a person”
  • “I want to share my stupid ideas with people more”
  • “I hope that I can still find assignments online if I miss them”
  • “I’m really excited to have more space, like, not be confined to a single bedroom”
  • “I don’t think my priorities have changed that much, but I have a better idea of how to attack them now”
  • “I want to talk to professors more”
  • “I… do not know, right now, because I’m just expecting things to be difficult, and… I just hope to be able to stay afloat, in whatever way I can”
  • “I want to focus more on activism, and ethics in engineering and everything you do”
  • “I’m really hoping for a dynaming of rebuilding community that is patient. I hope that people share with one another and that we maintain this compassion that we built in zoom land, understanding that just because we’re back in person now doesn’t mean people’s lives are dramatically easier”
  • “I want ‘normal plus plus’”

Although we’re already two weeks into the semester, much still feels uncertain. What are your own hopes for this semester? I hope that as we continue to settle into a kind of routine, we can support each other and ourselves in achieving these hopes as best we can.

Professors Aren’t Your High School Teachers

You’ve already noticed that most professors at Olin go by their first names, while your teachers in high school went by their last. You might not know that you shouldn’t call them “Mr. or Mrs. Lastname”. Professor is always a safe option if you need to address someone with a title, but most Olin professors prefer you refer to them by just their first name in class and in emails.

Just like these are different ways you treat your professors with respect, they have different ways to show you respect than what you might be used to. You don’t have to ask to use the bathroom, or to leave the room at all. As a principle, you’re an adult and they treat you as such; you’re allowed to go where you want when you want, and you’re responsible for your education. If you’re doing independent work and don’t want to be in your seat, go sit somewhere else, like the hallway. Just know when to be back or make sure someone knows how to find you.

You suddenly have a lot of autonomy. Sometimes it feels like too much. I don’t always know what I’m supposed to be doing. You don’t have to go through a class completely on your own though. The professors and CAs are there to support you, and are happy to help when you need it. Asking for help at Olin feels different than asking for help in high school did. I felt like if I didn’t justify my confusion to my high school teachers, they would think I wasn’t trying, or that I was stupid. It feels different at Olin. Asking for help is proof enough that you’re trying. Professors expect you to try on your own, but will give support when you ask. Almost all the wondering if you belong at Olin comes from inside your own brain.

The professors I’ve talked to are careful not to force their point of view onto students. If you disagree with one, it’s probably safer than you think to speak up. They’ll explain their reasoning if you ask and leave room for other opinions. Feel free to ask why you’re doing a specific activity or why they said something.

Similarly, if they give you feedback, you don’t have to accept it without question. Feedback is not always a correction that needs fixing, sometimes it’s just a recommendation. In my English classes in high school, every red mark on the paper needed to be fixed or I would lose points in my next draft. When I got feedback on my writing in college at first, I was frustrated making changes that I disagreed with. Sometimes, I’d even  get conflicting feedback on my next draft. Eventually, I learned I didn’t have to make every change . I can interpret the intent behind feedback and decide how to use it on my own.

In all of these situations, I felt like my high school teachers were trying to catch me doing wrong. I had to fight against them for help, for extensions, or even to use the bathrooms. My professors treat me more like I want to be treated as a student: with respect, and like a capable adult who is sometimes in need of guidance.

It took me a while to realize this and treat them with respect in kind: as a resource, a more experienced adult, an expert, and never an opponent.

Everything You Need To Know About Lint

Everything You Need To Know About Lint

Many people have been talking about lint recently. You may have heard about lint on the news or from your friends. But you may have questions about lint. Well, today we’re here to tell you everything you need to know about lint.

What is lint?

Lint is a collection of soft fibers you can find in human crevices. You may be aware of lint from your bellybutton, but it’s actually a myth that bellybuttons are the only place where lint occurs. Recent studies show that lint appears all over the body, in all known crevices and orifices. Some Dentists have even found lint in patients’ cavities!

Where does lint come from?

Lint was previously thought to come from our clothes. However, this “lint” is not the same lint as we know today. The definition of lint has evolved over time. Did you know that in the 19th century, “lint” referred to shaved linen? That lint was used to patch wounds during the American Civil War. Many ladies at home would join Lint Societies to collect lint. Read more about the history of lint here!

Why does lint matter?

Lint is an important part of the human body’s natural functioning. It’s proof that you’re alive. It’s perfectly normal to have a little lint here and there. You may want to clean yourself of lint before getting in the shower, to collect it for other things. You can easily do so with just your fingers. If you’re worried you have too much lint you should see an Ethical Lint Committee licensed doctor for assistance.

Lint has many health benefits! You can keep an eye on your health by taking a close look at your lint with your eyes, a magnifying glass, or a microscope. You might be surprised by what you find! Most lint is gray, which tells you you’re in good health. Reddish lint can indicate issues in circulation. A greenish lint is often a precursor to the development of neurological conditions: the brightness of the lint will help you know how severe you can expect it to be. Crumbly black lint indicates an excess of black bile. Check out our list of the 16 most common types of lint and what they mean for you!

BE CAREFUL! Do not attempt to remove all your lint! Recently scam artists posing as doctors have offered patients a “Full Lint Cleanse”. This is not possible and it would be a bad thing if it were anyways. If anyone offers to “Remove all the bad lint from your body” or anything like that, please report them to be added to the Ethical Lint Committee’s Practitioner Blacklist. In addition, there is no such thing as bad lint, though sometimes you can have too much lint. Do not trust anyone who tells you to remove your lint for no reason.

What can you use lint for?

If you choose to collect your lint, you can make use of it in a great number of ways. Lint is a wonderful material that is sure to become a staple in your home and body.

Composting

Did you know you can use lint for composting? Lint is full of hungry microbes that help break down compost into fertilizer for your plants. You can also really feel like a part of you is in your garden. Take a look at our complete guide to composting with lint!

Lint Dolls

Everyone loves dolls, and lint dolls are no exception. You can start by collecting your lint in a jar and waiting until you have enough for your doll. Just by rolling it between your fingers, you should be able to make it into a nice ball. Then you can squeeze it gently to shape it. The lint should feel good in your hands; Soft and supple. You can touch it for as long as you like. Once you’ve got the shape of the doll, you can accessorize with more lint, or dress it up with rhinestones, yarn, or other doll-appropriate fashion. See how local artist Pamela Knic makes amazing life-size dolls with just lint!

Lint-stening

Lint can help you improve your concentration and mental acuity. All you have to do is put some lint in your ears. It’s important to get it as close to your eardrum as possible, so you’ll want to use a pointed tool, like a cotton swab or tweezers. Pack the lint into your ear until it reaches the outside.

Once your ears are filled with lint, you’ll have a much easier time focusing. For one thing, you won’t be distracted by pesky sounds around you. Lint filters out bad sounds like people talking and brings forward good sounds like the buzzing of fluorescent lights. An added benefit to lint-stening is that you will be able to identify patterns much better than before. This phenomenon is known as pareidolia. The ability for lint to enhance pareidolia was first discovered in patients with naturally excessive lint. Since then, people have voluntarily used lint earplugs to be better in tune with the Hidden Universe Of Forms. Check out our shop for ear-ready packs of lint!

Lint Divination

Drawing from various traditions, experts in the psychic arts have identified a system of divination using lint. This complex means of future-telling is fully discussed in Schwarz Cemtyl’s Looking To The Lint: A Complete Guide To Lintic Arts, but the basics are available in our Intro To Lint Divination article.

Many professionals indicate that Inner Lint provides the best readings. Our fans have often asked us if there are any ways to get Inner Lint readings for cheap. While we recommend supporting the professional business of lint divination, we are proud to offer Lynt’s At-Home Endoscopy Kit at our online shop for wholesale prices.

Lint In The Bedroom

Are you ready to get lintimate? Lint in the bedroom isn’t something to be ashamed of any more! Bring lint into your sexytimes for a host of surprising and exciting new opportunities. Read our exclusive interview with avid sex fan-turned-entrepreneur Samantha Mayfair about her business culturing lint for couples!

Investment

You’re likely not surprised to know there’s a growing market for lint. Internationally, lint’s value has been increasing exponentially. You could be sitting on rare lint without even knowing it. Consider getting your lint appraised by a nearby lint expert, or checking the LintMarket forums for tips and community to get you started on lint speculation. We also have a complete guide to basic lint investment for 2021!

That’s all!

We hope you enjoyed this peek into the wonderful world of lint. Everyone deserves to know more about lint. Please take a moment to check out some of our other articles and consider donating if you enjoy our cause. Happy linting!

Messays

Dear Messays,

I’m a first-year and I’m super excited to be at Olin, but honestly, I’m feeling a little overwhelmed. There are so many clubs and other things to be involved in, and they all sound fun! I know it’s pass/no-record this first semester, but I’m still worried about overcommitting or stretching myself too thin. How do I say “no”, or even know what activities I should say “no” to? Everything seems so great, I don’t want to miss out on something amazing.

-Fear Of Missing Out

Dear FOMO,

When I was a first-year in college, we weren’t returning to a semblance of normalcy amidst a global pandemic that totally messed up our social lives and ability to interact with… well, anyone other than our nuclear families. But even still, I remember how exhilarating it felt to be away from home for one of the first times in my life, how both scary and enthralling it was to know that I had moved onto another stage in adulthood. It was tough for me not to overcommit myself, but it must be even harder for you after a year and a half of so much solitude and sheltering in place. I fully get why you’re worried about overextending yourself, and a few suggestions pop into mind:

  1. Remember, this is not only your first year, but your first semester at Olin, you sweet summer child, you. You have four more years to try different things. The right club/activity for you won’t be upset that you started halfway through sophomore year vs. the second you showed up to campus.
  2. Were there one or two clubs that really jumped out at you as the club you wanted to join? Club Fair is coming up soon, so even if you don’t know the answer to this yet, think about how you might try to focus on only one or two clubs/activities that have a special appeal to you. Remember, you’re not writing off all of the other ones; you’re just giving yourself a smaller pool of choices vs. trying to weigh the pros and cons and interesting-ness of every single club at Olin. Reduce that mental bandwidth, baby!
  3. Think about what you need, FOMO – not what your roommate needs or what your friends in class need. Are you an introvert to the degree that you need space away from social activities in order to recharge? That’s okay! Just realize that about yourself and try to work your “recharge time” into your schedule.
  4. Remember that all of us are in a period of exercising many of our social abilities for the first time in a year and a half. You might find that the transition to college itself, with or without the added stresses of COVID, is more than enough to wear you out at the end of the day – and that’s OK, FOMO. If you need to take a step back even as you’re raring to get more involved, that too is OK. Refer back to tip #1 – you’ve got so much more time to try out different things, and you can always stop doing an activity you try that just doesn’t feel like the right fit.
  5. Ask for help when you need it, whether that’s with your coursework or with activities you’re working on as a part of a club. It’s not a sign of weakness; it’s a sign that you have the courage to be vulnerable and honest about what you’re having trouble with. Olin is a very close-knit, supportive network; we bet we know someone who can help you with whatever you’re getting stuck on.

The long story short, FOMO, is you have nothing to be afraid of when it comes to missing out. You have so much more time at Olin to fill up with whatever strikes your fancy (or drives your car, or flies your rocket). Take care of yourself and spend time getting to understand your limits. You’re just getting started!

Hugs,

Messays

———-

Dear Messays,

I feel like I’ve lost my ability to be a person in the last 18 months. How can I re-adjust to life on campus after being away for so long? I mean, there are so many people I haven’t met! How do I remember everyone’s name? Especially when half of their faces are covered? There’s one person who always says “Hi [Still Adjusting]!” every time they walk past me, and I have no idea what their name is! What should I do?

-Still Adjusting

Dear Still Adjusting,

What was it like to have the ability to be a person before the last 18 months? I have been masquerading as a human being for many decades now, so I get curious about these things. But I digress; back to you. My first thought here is that you are sooooo not alone. There’s many people in the world who had trouble putting names to faces before half of our faces were covered (and then sporadically uncovered when we’re outside and on Zoom!). I mean, many moons ago I worked with a lady who called me “Sarah” for three months in a job where my nametag was very much on every day, and my name is very much not “Sarah.” I also don’t know about you, S.A., but my brain, unbidden, always tries to fill in the masked part of a person’s face before I know what it looks like and it’s consistently wayyyyy off and then things get even more confusing. 

The one advantage I’d say you have in this current situation is that everyone should really be extra understanding and tolerant of people not recognizing each other, or people forgetting each other’s names right now. We have a very valid excuse for being confused and extra forgetful; we’re all being mentally taxed by the fear and uncertainty of continuing to live through a devastating pandemic, and we’re also shaking off those 18 months of lacking social interaction–we’re rusty. Given the circumstances, I think you have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get away with a boldfaced “who are you?” to the unknown person who keeps saying “hi.” Or, if you don’t want to go that route, can you find someone nearby that might be able to identify the mystery person? If you want to be a little more surreptitious, one of my go-to strategies is to ask the person what their Olin email address is. My dayjob lends itself well to this trick, but you’re clever, S.A.; I bet you could find a way to work it into conversation.

Remembering names and faces of people you’re meeting for the first time is tough for anybody. I just fiddled around on the web for a bit looking for strategies to help you remember people’s names, and so many of them are useless in these mask-filled times. Without the visual cues of facial features and expressions, you might need to spend a higher amount of brainpower than usual on remembering names and faces. Make sure you’re focusing on and intentionally storing their name away in the ol’ filing cabinet of the mind when you’re meeting someone new, and try to repeat their name at least once.

I guarantee you’re going to be OK. We’re all screwing everything up right now, so let’s screw up together!

Squishes,

Messays

Riddle of the Month

7. Our school founder’s last name

1. Game developer lingo, next _____ for short.

4. Day known as the Sabbath, day of _____

9. Pronoun that goes with “we”

2. Stag or doe, sans first initial of poet Cummings

5. Angry parents tell their children to go here. 4 letters.

8. Where many children go in the summer

6. Another name for a male child

3. Neither here nor there.

Capitalize all and finish the statement: “MORE 123456789”

Compliment Corner – Spring 2021

Editor’s Note: Thank you Jessie Potter for helping put this together!!!

Reid is such a wonderful and lovely person to talk to and work with

It’s been great having Arlene Keizer as the Sketch Model Creative in Reference this year.  I’ve loved the speakers and the workshops that she has shared with the community!

Shreya, thank you for showing me how to take time to slow down and learn. I admire how thoughtful you are in both in your role as an engineer and as a friend, and I appreciate you <3

Emma P, I am *so* glad I picked up helio and got to spend so much quality time with you out on the great lawn. I’m going to miss you next year!

Chris and Oscar Allum and de la Garza made this semester feel like real Olin again with the pool tourney. Thanks <3

Becca, you’re such a hard worker and I always appreciate seeing you around Zoomland

-points at clark pohl- this sparks joy

Reid Bowen, thank you for being such a strong, empathetic human in my life and the lives of others. You are so loved and appreciated.

Sherrie and Shashank are the best Advanced Algorithms co-instructors ever! I loved when we started a few of our meetings with important anime discussions

Jocelyn, thank you for coming to Olin. You had the perspective I gave you, and you still chose to come. Better yet, you made Olin an amazing place and were a fantastic MIX president. I love you so much and I am so so proud of you. You are such a kind person and help make space for others to exist and I wish the best for you. Please take care of yourself. You’re so 10/10 and I will miss you so much.

Chelsea, you are a ray of sunshine! Our SCOPE team wouldn’t be half as fun without you around to brighten up our meetings

Thank you Jordan for always helping me pack. 

Cara makes really good bread

Pickles E> was a really great suite and they really carried this year for me. I will miss you all greatly and wish you much love. 

Grant G just has really good vibes

CJ is unpredictable in the best way

Jordan is such a great person and has been extremely supportive of me during this past four years.

Zoie is always excited to do stuff and is hilarious to be around

Allison Li is a great friend and brings great energy to every interaction

Alli Busa and Aiden Carley-Clopton make really good orange chicken.

Shree is chill to be around and is really understanding and empathetic

Andrew C (when he doesn’t just repeat one-liners :P) is actually really funny but is still able to hold serious conversations when needed

Emma is an amazingly creative DM and is great at character voices

Sof’s laughter is contagious

Chase is a big pokemon nerd but he got our suite, our favorite pokemon plush as surprise easter gifts.

Han has a great sense of humor (when he isn’t repeating the same jokes on loop)

Arla brings amazingly positive energy wherever she goes

Nathan Estil knows how to make good mac and cheese and mashed potatoes from real potatoes that are a great consistency.  

Luke M is such a sweet bean

Maia Materman! Since you aren’t running Compliment Corner this time (thank you lovely Jessie!) you can’t delete this compliment about you :) Thank you for being such a loving, empathic human, I appreciate you greatly <3

Annie Tor! You’re such a wonderful person, and someone I’m very grateful to call a friend of mine. You’re always so hard working and selfless, I have no idea how you do it all!

Shree is just really easy to hang out with

Mark Goldwater is made out of seaweed but also kindness.

Sara Hendren has gone above and beyond to make UOCD viable this semester under incredibly challenging circumstances for that course.  We appreciate everything you’ve done!

Jason Woodard is the best presenter Olin has ever had.  His leadership on the Org&Culture team presentations has been a model for all of us to emulate.

Mark Somerville has helped us all survive this year.  Where would we be without him?

Sharon Breitbart did it again.  (And by “it,” I mean everything.)

I wish I could think about tricky things the way Deb Chachra does!

Caitrin Lynch has chaired every committee about everything this semester.  Is there anything she can’t do astoundingly well?  I doubt it.

I can’t even believe how lucky I have been to have the eight stellar members of my lab this semester.  Libby, Eamon, Alison, Micah, Ava, Bill, Liv, and Ally  – you all rock!  I am so, so grateful to get to play with you all and wish it would never end! – Jon Adler 

Sherrie makes really good food and always shares her creatures just when I need them

Prisha, I know you don’t like people saying nice things about you, but I just wanted to say, I really appreciate how caring and selfless of a person you are. I know lots of people look up to you and you’re just a great human who deserves the world

Stephanie Milton was a pleasure to have at Olin and I will miss her terribly.

Adva has been our emotional rock this semester.  That wasn’t a fair thing of us to ask of her, but we are eternally grateful for her persistence, strength, and grace. 

Rick O and the whole IT team have done astounding gymnastics this year to keep us all connected in the ether and we’re so, so thankful!

I have no idea how Jason Woodard does everything he does, and does it so well.

I wouldn’t have graduated without my tutors. Thank you Kyle Combes, Emily Kohler, Vivien Chen (x2 semesters), Anil Patel, Katya Donovan, Onur Tolu, Emma Westeroff, Mark Goldwater, Nathaniel Tan, Brandon Zhang, Quinn Kelley, and Abigail Fry (x6 semesters). 

Maia Matterman – I love your bubbly energy but also your compassion for valuing the health and wellbeing of those around you! <3

Micah – you’re so cool and down to earth! Go you!

Gail – thank you for all the love and generosity and fun times!

Melissa – you always bring a smile on my face :)

Sam Coleman – you make Olin special and you are so loyal and trustworthy!

Shreya – you are so compassionate and such a great leader for the Olin community and class of ’22

Sam D. – thank you for being such a rockstar and role model for our community <3

Katie Foster – I always love talking to you and you’re so fun and kind!

Mika is the goth bitch of my (platonic) dreams, love you!!

Emma Pan – You’re so thoughtful, and I always love hanging out with you!

Ricky has great vibes

Melissa Anthony is incredibly kind and understanding, and is one of the frankliest speakers I know (in a good way). Thank you for the jokes and bits, and for never giving up on what’s really important.

Olin students are amazing!

Sam Daitzman, you’re great! I would love to get to know you better, because you’re such a cool person!

Adva is a dear and I love her.

Shreya is one of the most caring, kind people I know! I’m so glad that I’m friends with her <3 

Maeve makes me feel seen and affirmed 1,000,000 times over

Thank you to the Olin OPEN leadership team for taking over and doing an amazing job. Glad you all are kind, compassionate, and dedicated leaders. This include you Melissa <3

If I ever become 5% as cool as Emma Pan I’ll be satisfied with my life

Will Fairman has huge biceps 

Meg Ku you are a rockstar and an inspiring leader! Keep up the awesome work :)

Nathan W, you are so incredibly smart!

I love whoever designed the senior class tshirt. It’s amazing and fantastic.

Anusha- Thanks for the incredible work you do for our class! 

Flynn-  I really miss seeing you around campus! You are such a light. 

Shout out to [brand name] for being extremely chaotic but giving me a project I enjoy to this day. 

Callan- Thank you for the passion and hard work you put into the Olin library! You make everything more fun and engaging. 

Joanne P- Thanks for all the amazing support throughout the years! Loved getting to ninja for you for some of them! 

Tim S- Thank you for bringing so much joy and spirit to each and every conversation and design critique. You are truly one of a kind and I am in awe of the fact that I even get to know you! 

Thank you to my Sibb Dylan for being fantastic and always having great hair. I love you tons and I enjoyed working with you this semester.

Dylan M- You are so giving, kind, and strong. I know this was an unbelievably hard semester, but you powered through it with grace and dedication.

Jax the cat- Sad I haven’t met you in person, but please know I literally cheer out loud every time I see you through the window.

Sarah Deng is the best SCOPE project owner. She taught me what I wanted in a team and helped our team keep it together when we fell apart several times this year.

Mark G- Thanks for always making me laugh!

Quinn Kelly is one of the reasons I wish I rejoined Baja. She’s extremely supportive and worth being friends with. She’s up for random things and cares about the people around her. 

Adva- Thanks for really caring!

Mika- You are SO undeniably cool.

Meg Ku- our dedicated receipt wizard. Absolutely phenomenal. 

Grant G- You are so sweet and such a thoughtful listener. Thanks for being a bright spot in my senior year!

Lydia Hodges is extremely funny and made SCOPE and BMDD worth it.

Madi- You are so inclusive and kind. I’ve appreciated your Mel and life updates, and the passion you bring to discussions.

Mika Notermann has the best memes

Loren- So so kind and always says hello. Genuinely spreads cheer to those around him wherever he goes!

Thank you to the BMDD class and Alisha for keeping it real.

David F- Miss seeing this sweet human so much! So incredibly selfless and giving.

Katie Thai-Tang has the coolest style and always shares her smile to those around her.

Sabrina- You are so much fun to be around and have such a good heart. Also- your sense of style is impeccable!

Alisha, I can’t thank you enough for teaching a class in the accessibility space without being ableist. Thank you for calling out the ableism from our clients and ourselves. Thank you for being inclusive in the way you taught our class and not assuming all of us were able-bodied. I’m so proud of your for taking on your new role, but please know you were one of the most supportive professors I had that helped me get the most out the classes you thought. 

Micah- You are so real and rare. I am so lucky to have gotten to know you better sophomore year- you find the fun in situations and also strive to make things better.

Bahner- You are so easy to talk to and so considerate! Also, I really wish I had your dance moves. 

Noah- You have the most amazing sense of humor, but also you pay close attention to the world around you and care really deeply about things. I always really enjoy getting to see you! 

Robin- you have the best shenanigans and such a thoughtful heart. Thank you for always stopping to chat, and for your enthusiasm! 

JZ- You radiate positive vibes. Grateful for your passion for bad day cookies, big rock, Mariokart, and more. Thank you for being so passionate about Olin and its community.

Aaron. I know you are gone, and I regret not thanking you sooner, but thank you for keeping me real and pushing me to be my best even though it took me a while to get here. I wouldn’t have graduated without you. I am so grateful that you were my DesNat professor. Thank you for helping me see the people around me and making me aware of the tunnel vision I entered Olin with. 

Alison- You are such a good listener and someone that so many people feel safe going to. Thank you for all the work you’ve done to support others at Olin! 

Jamie- You have so much energy and make everything way more fun! You make conversations effortless, are always willing to go out of your way to make sure everyone is having a good time, and also are just very authentic and friendly. 

Koala Tea Friends- Wouldn’t have made it here without you! Please please please keep in touch. 

Kyle B- An incredible super-Mechy who comes up with so many brilliant solutions. Also incredibly good at so many board games. And a phenomenal baker. Seriously- your talent and dedication is unreal! 

Chase- One of my favorite peeps. So sweet, so altruistic, and you give such amazing hugs. Thanks for being a good friend, and for always going with the flow!

Amy- Is there anything you cannot do? Grateful for your dedication, thoughtful insights, willingness to try new things, and creativity. 

Ever- Miss you more than I have the words to say. You bring such warmth and comfort to those around you. I wish I had your ability to make people feel comfortable and cared for. You give the best hugs, and I know that with your kind heart and brilliant mind you are gonna make waves in the world!

Cali- Your enthusiasm and love for fun have made such an impact on my time at Olin. Thank you for the many pinterest messages, baking adventures, good show recommendations, and more. You are attentive to what others are saying, and contribute excellent thoughts and questions to discussions. You just make me so happy and see the best in others.

Luis- We’ve come a long way from two first years trying to model Superman punching someone off the planet. You put a lot of thought into the things you do, and are somehow both the most calming presence in a room and the person with the best jokes to make someone snort with laughter. I appreciate your willingness to try anything, and to jump in and help others where you can.

Cassandra- You have no idea how relieved I am that you will be in New England for graduate school! You are brilliant and insightful. You give the most considerate, personalized gifts I’ve ever received, and you ALWAYS show up when I need a friend, despite your very busy and dedicated schedule. Thank you for making me laugh, sending me cute webtoon references, fangirling over the same characters with me, dancing to Taylor Swift music videos, finding photography and writing opportunities, and more. You are such an amazing person in every way, and I am so so lucky to have you in my life. 

Alison W- Thank you for being such an amazing and supportive adviser through my entire time at Olin! You bring so much joy and kindness wherever you go. 

Timmy’s Suite- Thank you for reaching out and helping me when I was at a low point. I will forever be grateful to you, and love how sweet and caring you are as a group! 

Emma P- You are so hardworking and really care about ethics in engineering in such an inspiring way. I wish I had half your creativity and skills! You are so fun to be around and come up with clever and unique activities to try!

Rob Martello, the great wizard of AHS- Thanks for being such a good sport about becoming everyone’s background, and for the energy you put into your classes! You respond so speedily and really support your students. I am grateful to have gotten to know you more over the past two years- you are a gem! 

Casey May- Gosh I miss you! In every situation, you somehow find the absolute kindest thing to say. You are an undeniable gem in the Olin Community. You make others feel valued and seen. You give the best movie reviews. Your future dog is going to be the most loved animal on the planet. You have mad computer skills. An amazing sense of humor. The list could go on forever! 

Anna G- your energy is contagious and you are so considerate! It always meant a lot when you invited me to things. You are so driven and dedicated, and I am amazed by the sheer amount of work you crank out, all while still keeping things fun and interesting! Thanks for being such a good sport about everything and spreading lots of cheer!

Ricky- you are not only HILARIOUS and incredibly cool, but you also have an undeniably kind heart. You are so accepting and really listen to what other people say. I really wish I spent more time with you over these past four years, but I’m beyond grateful for the conversations we did have!

Julian- You were someone I spent my whole time at Olin wishing to know better, and I’m so glad I got to see you quite a bit this year! Your references always make me smile, and you just do everything with so much joy. Whenever anything happens, I always feel like you have the best reactions, and you are a very sincere individual. I wish I had your energy, charisma, and excellent taste in music. 

Jason Woodard- the man, the myth, the legend! Thank you for all of your kindness and help. You were the best ModSim instructor, Mechanics buddy, P&M teaching team member, and SCOPE adviser I could ask for. You are generous, creative, hard working, and encourage those around you to be better. 

Serna- Very thoughtful and dedicated, and you’ve done an incredible job with Frankly Speaking! I love seeing your passions and creativity play out through your Olin projects, and now with your soap business! Can’t wait to see what the next few years will bring you! 

Class of 2021- I love you all. Please keep the group chat popping with the occasional life update or cursed image. 

Thank you all for generating over 9 Google docs pages of compliments! I am beyond grateful to have been a part of this community for the past four years. In the words of A.A. Milne, “how lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” 

You are motivated. You are strong. You seek the best in people. Thank you for generating some joy and kindness with this form. I know each of you will continue to fill the Olin community with love and shenanigans through the rest of your time here.

Reopening the Front Door

It’s cliche to say I didn’t realize the fall of 2019 would be my only “normal” Olin semester to date, but it’s true. I started my job at Olin in July of that year. The first day I rode my bike to work, I got a flat tire about six miles from campus, but a fellow commuter showed up out of the blue, gave me a spare tube, and helped me make it on my way. That week, Summer Sketch Model was happening, and the library was full of people both from campus and beyond. I marveled at how different this new job was from my last one in a busy system of public libraries less than ten miles away, and not just because there was free lunch. At the public libraries, I only knew the names of a handful of our regulars. It allowed for a sort of shallow memory that made it easy to empty out the contents of my brain at the end of a given day and make room for a new crop of strangers on the next one. At Olin, I didn’t know who anyone was, but I knew being successful at the job required quickly figuring it out. And there was not only a cast; there was also a script, a shared language with tons of jargon. I furiously took notes at an early orientation session where somebody patiently explained the most frequently used acronyms on campus. A few days later, I chuckled when I heard our pop-up campus coffee shop was called “ACRONYM.”

That semester, I tried to make sense of the priorities for myself and the library while also grasping a better lay of the land. I took advantage of the course visitation program; that let me pop my head into classes offered at the time. I think most people in those classes were probably like, “who’s this lady with the unicorn hair?”, which is fine. I was included in a new faculty orientation pod, which helped me feel like I wasn’t alone in thinking of “The Raven” every time anyone said “POE.” I also conducted a community-driven strategic planning process that helped me put most of my assumptions aside and confirmed a few of the smarter ones, and also gave me much greater insight into the unique role the library plays on Olin’s campus. From September to December, we saw thousands of footfalls every week – library workers love to measure those entrances and exits – and it ticked up throughout the semester. We hosted everything from geodesic dome building to community breakfasts to guest speakers to final presentations. But what I liked the best were our casual gatherings, whether impromptu or part of an event, when we’d talk about anything, everything, and nothing. We made sense of the world in the library, whether we were seeking greater understanding or just trying to make each other laugh.

I won’t say it was a hard decision to close the library from March 2020 to May 2021. It wasn’t. We had the institutional support to do it (thanks, y’all). Over this past winter break period with cases spiking around the country, it didn’t seem appropriate to change our course. In the early days, when no one knew a thing about COVID, a huge amount of attention was placed on potential surface transmission. That was particularly the case in libraries, where the paranoia was kicked up by a series of talks and studies that meant well but led us to think we were all doomed. With a small staff and a very tactile work environment, it seemed impossible to find a way to keep up with quarantining and cleaning expectations, so we opted to move ourselves as much as we could online. I also was very concerned about the safety concerns spreading throughout the library field, especially given that most state-level guidance chose to pretend libraries don’t exist (or that, as one Johns Hopkins paper suggested last summer, libraries are “low risk,” even though the entire deal with libraries is you touch things other people can touch and you spend a ton of time breathing the same air as people you’ve never seen in your life and probably never will again). So we closed when the college did, and we decided to stay closed for this entire academic year.

Now, as we get ready to dip a toe into something resembling “normalcy” on campus, I find myself thinking about the folks who’ve told me their ability to socialize has diminished throughout the pandemic. I don’t know if I’m in that boat (I’m always awkward, so what’s a year of isolation gonna do?), but I’m not sure I remember how the fall of 2019 felt, either. And I’m cautious. I’m fully vaccinated, but I’ve still only gone to a restaurant in the Boston area once since March 2020. (It was Semolina in Medford – that place rules.) We’ve got a long way to go before we can even approximate what we were doing two years ago. I don’t think the before times are gone, but some of them have started to fade. I’m still new at Olin, though, and I’m still learning how to be a part of this place, and I’m trying to remember my glimpses of what it felt like in here before no one was around. One of my favorite memories of that time was when the library rats started showing up. There was one, and then there were dozens, and if you’re a first year or a new employee, you may have no clue what I’m talking about, but you will soon. (I feel an obligation to end this paragraph with “don’t worry, they aren’t actual rats.”)

This academic year has been tremendously hard, and we’re almost to the end of it. There were so many days when I wished we could be open like before, gathered around in a circle, sharing snacks and stories, finding a way to push through like we did on the day we found out we were all being sent home, eating Wegmans cake. One staff member said to me recently that they wouldn’t feel things were “normal” until they saw the library’s front doors opened. I can’t guarantee normalcy, but I do hope one thing that will help us soon in the future is the ability to return to a place where we can all come and process the world together, no matter how silly, tiresome, or abnormal it gets. I’ll prop the doors for you.