One in 2000: Dan Perttu

Dorm: Currier

Major: Music, Psychology

Hometown: Brecksville, OH

Hometown hero: My town doesn’t have any heroes.

Favorite color: Blue

Motto: Live on the edge.

Favorite unprintable curse word: [bejeebers!]

Favorite five CDs: Mahler’s Ninth, Mahler’s Sixth, Mahler’s Second, Sibelius’s Second, Dvorak’s Ninth

I know it’s only been a month, but what do you miss the most about the ’90s?

Well, the ’90s wasn’t really a decade defined by much, so there’s not much to miss.

What do you expect will set this next century apart from the one we just finished up?

The Internet, cell phones, rapid communication that will make everyone pretty impatient and expectant of immediate results, instant gratification. As if that wasn’t a problem before. It will become even worse, I think. Other than that, on the bright side, I think a lot of the technology will be useful, and people will be happier and live longer.

Here you are, a student at an elite college; what do you think we need to learn in order to meet the challenges of the next century?

We should all learn yoga. It has a calming influence.

Do you think that Williams is doing enough to prepare us to face the 21st century?

I think that the high-stress environment of Williams can be detrimental, but it’s probably good to prepare us for dealing with stresses later on in life.

You think that Williams is a pretty high-stress environment?

It’s not unbearable, but it could stand to lose some of the stress.

Why did you come to college?

I couldn’t imagine not coming to college. It’s the thing to do, I guess. It’s certainly important for my future. It’ll help me to get a good job, I hope, and help me to lead a fulfilling life. I certainly don’t want to have a boring job that I hate.

Speaking of jobs, what would your dream job be, Dan?

A cognitive musicologist, or a musical psychologist, or something that combines music and psychology.

If you could change one thing about your college experience so far, what would it be?

Date a lot more during freshman year.

How do you feel about Winter Study? In terms of enriching your life, would you say that January is equally valuable, more valuable or less valuable than any other month of the school year?

It’s good to step back and take a breather. I personally have had some really good Winter Study classes. Sometimes it feels like I’m just sort of frittering my time away. But on the other hand, it’s better to feel like that than to have a completely stressful life in January.

What are the core values by which you govern your life?

To do my best at love and work because those are the two aspects of life that are most important.

Do you think of Youth as an ethical commitment? That is, do you personify through your own actions the maxim that age is in fact more than accumulation of years, but a mode of being, a state of mind?

I don’t know. That’s a hard question for me to answer because people tell me that I act like I’m 50 at 20, so I’m not sure what kind of a perspective that puts on things. I guess the good side of that is that as I get older I tend to get younger.

Do you think that the juvenilization of American culture can be seen as evidence that we are, as a collective people, growing up earlier? That, in fact, because fewer and fewer people are willing to make that ethical commitment to youth, and to the embrace of uncertainty and insecurity entailed therein, we turn to younger celebrities as symbols of the innocence and freedom that we have so readily traded away in the battle against discomfort?

It sounds like you’re making an eloquent speech. I think it really depends on certain social circles. A lot of my friends, in high school especially, were so work-driven and so ambitious and worried about the future that they found it very difficult to try to loosen up and to have fun in the same way that I think people in earlier generations were able to do. Of course, there are many people out there who don’t want to grow up, and that’s OK. I’m not entirely sure that the cultural trends necessarily affect everyone on an individual level.

Or do you think that trends such as the juvenilization of American culture are inventions of a news-starved media trying desperately to break through to an anesthetized population with an ever-shrinking attention span?

Yes. And I’m sure it’s effective for a lot of people. I don’t personally feel affected by it.

Do you have any final words of wisdom you’d like to share with the Williams community?

Just be.

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