One in 2000: Hilary Williams

Major: Studio Art, Environmental Studies Concentration

Hometown: Yarmouth, ME

Hometown Hero: A guy from my school came to Williams and was an Olympic skier

Place of Residence: Morgan East

Favorite color of beverage: Yellow

Favorite unprintable curse word: [shucks!]

Seven word motto: I’m looking for a few good men

Favorite Book: Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger

Favorite five albums: Dar Williams, End of the Summer; U2, The Joshua Tree; Rusted Root, When I Woke; Ben Harper, Welcome to The Cruel World;U2, Achtung Baby

At Williams, you may have noticed this, we tend to think of our college experience as fundamentally unique. From the JA system to the party policy, we don’t do things the way other schools do them. What are some things that you see as being central to your college experience, and do you think these things are unique to Williams?

I think that the entry system is a very unique thing, and that’s why I’m JA’ing. Nowhere else do you get that freshman experience. And I like the location, and the mountains. Another unique thing is I think a certain type of person comes to Williams. I don’t know if I can really describe it, but there’s a certain openness and friendliness. There’s a certain type of Williams person, and I’m not saying they all do the same things, but there’s a kind of characteristic.

Talk to me about being a JA. How’s that going so far?

Really good. I love having four JAs, and the kids are all so cool and they have so much to teach me. They might make me fail my classes, but we’ll see.

Why did you come to Williams?

I wanted a small liberal arts college—

Nestled in the scenic Berkshire valley…

No, no, no, within driving distance of home and where I could ski and hike. I decided I didn’t want frats, so I knocked Dartmouth off the list and decided I liked Williams.

Talk to me about the future. Do you think of the future as, say, a spring sunrise, resplendent with infinite opportunities and the hopefulness of possibility, or do you, instead, feel the pressure of “potential,” the expectations of friends, relatives, even yourself, as a great, crushing weight under which one can do naught but stagger shortsightedly?

I’ve kind of abandoned the career plan track, so now I want to do outdoor ed and teach and travel, so I have no sense of a big grand scheme.

But in terms of your subjective experience when you think of the future, is it exciting?

I think it’s hopeful and exciting. I want a lot of random experiences. I don’t want to go straight to grad school; I don’t want to fall into some job that I do forever; I want to try out a lot of different things.

So, what would you have to say about the validity of the American Dream?

I was very skeptical about America as a kid. I was very cynical, and I thought that America had too much and didn’t realize they had it.

Would you be argumentative in class?

No, I was just skeptical about the whole capitalist, being the top country in the world type of thing.

And this was when?

Like, middle school. I never said “God” in the pledge of allegiance. But I’ve come to realize that America has a lot of good stuff. I don’t know about the whole American dream.

I notice you’re wearing a red jacket. Is that a coincidence?

I like red.

You’re from the New England area.

I was born in Seattle, though. I moved when I was one.

So you’re used to these lovely fall days.

I kind of miss the ocean, though.

Do you find these Berkshire fall days overrated or constantly exhilarating?

I like it when I remember to look at it.

You’re here at Mountain Day, so you’ve kind of already answered the question, but do you find that you’ve been benefiting from our advantageous situation at the base of a mountain here in Williamstown?

I try.

Complete the following sentence: “Williams would be a better place if fewer students took for granted…”

Interactions with each other. People take for granted being in proximity to so many people. If everyone were to spend more time talking to people, I think it would be better.

Is there anything I’ve forgotten to ask that you want to tell the Williams campus?

[No.]