Hello RPI! This is my first notebook and first semester of being an editor at the Poly. In addition, I’m a freshman. My experience at RPI is not what I expected. So far there has been much less work than I was used to in high school, which has allowed me to join many of RPI’s amazing clubs: The Polytechnic, Racquetball Club, and Embedded Hardware Club.
The Polytechnic takes the most time from me. You can usually find me in the Poly office on Sunday and Monday nights, and on Tuesday nights from 6 pm to 5 am. No, that was not a typo, The Poly usually closes around five ante meridiem. Luckily this semester, my first class on Wednesday starts at 11 am and not at 9 am.
My job as associate copy editor is to assist the copy editor in reading all the articles and check for the three parts of copy: grammar, style, and factuality. This ensures that all the articles in the newspaper make sense and are truthful. Come join me in the Copy Corner every Tuesday night—there will be free pizza!
Racquetball Club is my second most time-consuming club. There is technically practice Tuesdays through Thursdays, 7–10 pm, with cars leaving the Rensselaer Union front parking lot at 7:10 pm for the racquetball courts in Albany.
I’ve been to three tournaments so far, but have not done so well due to playing in brackets at a much higher skill level than I am at. This is the situation most of the current team is in. To remedy this, we are in need of more team members. In order to fill up the brackets, we need at least eight male players and eight female players. We are currently way below that membership objective.
One of the problems we are having with recruiting members is the lack of decent courts on campus. Currently, there are only two racquetball “courts” on campus. They are poorly maintained and are much smaller than a spec racquetball court. The incorrect size makes the on-campus courts unusable for practicing anything other than a kill shot. Hopefully in the future when RPI decides to add more athletic facilities, a few regulation racquetball courts will be given some consideration.
Even though the club is short on local resources, it is a lot of fun and I hope we get new members. I encourage you to join and try out the exciting sport, you may try out the club for a few weeks before paying membership dues. You can find more info at http://racquet.union.rpi.edu/.
The club I am least involved in at this point is the Embedded Hardware Club. I have learned a bunch from this club already. The club focuses on the programming and building of microcontrollers.
Last semester, I learned how to do surface mount soldering and built my own Arduino Nano. This semester is set to be much more exciting than the previous. On the schedule are three top-secret projects: a large Tricolor LED matrix with vision tracking, an unmanned aerial vehicle (aimed to be autonomous), and an RFID reader for our own personal use and hopefully for the future EHC lab. I’m very excited to start on the Tricolor LED matrix once we get the funding. We plan to have a weekend-long soldering session to assemble the large matrix, and will be creating a time lapse video of the build. I encourage you to join the club (and buy one of the club’s Arduino Nanos). More info about the club can be found at http://ehc.union.rpi.edu/.
Even if you can’t find yourself at home with any of these clubs, try to find a club at RPI that you enjoy. It is well worth your time and you will find yourself in contact with older students who will give you many helpful tips toward your future at RPI, as well as help you develop skills which you cannot learn just by taking courses.