One in 2000: Matt Hennessy ’17

Matt Hennessy
–Robert Yang/Executive Editor

How would you describe yourself?

Well I think a lot of people see me as … amusing. I get laughed at a lot [or] laughed with, something like that. Maybe people find me funny or interesting or quirky. I hope that’s why I was chosen [as One in 2000]!

One thing that’s immediately dis- arming about you in conversation is, of course, your accent. Hopefully the comments have gone away some.

I hope it doesn’t go away some! I like my English accent. It’s also very funny giving all of you the American accent impression.

Let’s hear it. Obviously we won’t be able to do this justice transcribed.

[In the most surfer-sounding rendition of American English imaginable] Dude, I could totally go for a cheeseburger right now. I need a cheeseburger right now [laughs].

On that note, let’s talk about some of the differences you’ve experienced between London and Williamstown. Have you experienced the whole culture shock deal?

Well, it’s obviously really different see- ing mountains instead of skyscrapers around you, but it wasn’t too huge for me because I’ve been coming here on vacation ever since I was a child to a lake about two hours from [the College], so it’s not completely foreign to me. What I think is gonna come as a real shock is to actually see a proper winter, a proper snow. That’ll be interesting.

How about dealing with Americans?

People are different; I’m not sure exactly how. The American population in general … the kids seem sometimes a bit less independent. In London, you have the public transport system and stuff, and I think you develop independence earlier, and I think that kind of affects how you become. But I think that stereotype doesn’t really hold at [the College], where it’s kind of an upper echelon, if you know what I mean.

Sure. How did you end up at the College, then, from across the pond?

I always wanted to go to a liberal arts school; I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, and in London you have to choose a subject when you’re very, very young. So I was always looking at America. At first I kind of wanted to choose a big name that everyone in England would recognize because all my friends were going to be the ones judging me…

You wanted to show off.

Yeah! That’s who I am, I guess. Both of my parents actually went to [the College]. They met in the same entry.

Cue the “oohs” and “awws.”

Yeah, right. No entry canoodling committed though, but they ended up together regardless and pointed me in this direction. And I definitely made the right choice.

What’s family life like back home?

It’s quite interesting because I’ve got a brother and a sister, both younger than me. We’re all so different. My sister and I are more similar, but my brother and I are completely different; we’ve got completely different visions, academic standards – just completely different people in general. But we get along re- ally well, maybe because of that. We’re going through a really interesting year because my sister’s moved to Philadelphia to go to high school in America. I think it’s a weird thought that she’s living on her own with my grandma there while the rest of the family’s home at London – the beginning of us moving back to the States.

How’ve your experiences compared?

Actually, she’s always complaining the boys are so immature, how they never behave well. She was expecting it to be better in America, which I find to be quite funny [laughs].

That’s not entirely surprising. How’s your experience been here socially? Hanging out and whatever?

Well, I hang out with kind of different people now. When I was in high school, I was involved more with the soccer players, and there was more going to clubs and bars because you can in England. Here, it’s a bit different. The drinking age is much stricter, which has been an adjustment and so forth. I’ve still got people here though, you know, to watch sport with here and stuff like I did in England a lot.

You’ve got that love-hate relationship with the Fulham Football Club, right? Kind of tragic.

Oh my – it is really tragic! Every entry snacks it’s come up, almost always my low. They’ll get better once they fire their manager. When they win occasionally it can really make my day!

Besides watching “sport,” what is keeping you busy on campus?

Well, I played JV [junior varsity soccer] for the first quarter or so for the semester, which was a ton of fun. I played keeper. I kind of like the pressure of it – you always have that potential to be a hero. I also loved playing outfield in our IM soccer games, which were just … magnificent. An unexpected high of the year, actually. I’ve also discovered swimming here as well – went along to the pool for fun with Ben [Lin ’17] on the swim team. I think he is fearful of my prowess [laughs].

Very good. So you’re keeping healthy.

All that and TV – I’ll get up on Saturday mornings to watch the Premier League in the entry. Oh, and WCFM! Very into the radio as well.

Tell us about some of the music you play. Everyone in the entry was kind of surprised by your music taste. What’s your favorite genre?

Actually, country! I remember three summers ago listening to a lot of American country music, so now whenever I hear it, it reminds me of my time in the U.S. I just get so into it! Whenever I play it in England – when I put the CD in my car – my girlfriend just hates it. I haven’t played it for my other friends back home. It’s more of a secret love, a forbidden passion [laughs].

Don’t hide it!

That’s why I have my radio show.

Good for you. How about future plans? Job-wise, major-wise, whatever?

Well, when I was 13, my teacher showed me Apollo 13 in class, so I kind of got really, really into astronauts [laughs] – like, I really, really wanted to be an astronaut.

Does England have a space program?

No [laughs]. It would have to be with NASA, but even they are cutting everything. There is the ESA [European Space Agency], but England never gives money to it. We’re not very liked in the EU [laughs]. So I wanted to be an astronaut, but that is quite unrealistic, and I’ve started to think more about money recently, and they get paid nothing at all. They hardly even really have astronauts now. I could go up with the Russians, my friends. The special relationship, you know [laughs]. Anyway, I’ve always had some interest in science, so I’ve done physics and math here, which I really like. See – I’m learning. “Math,” not “maths.”

You’re learning!

I’ve also really enjoyed my English class this year. I came here thinking I knew what I wanted to do, but have since realized I’ve had no idea. Which is good – exploring and whatnot. I’m doing a lot of that. I’m getting more and more intrigued by the idea of consulting or business like my dad does. I used to tell him I never wanted to be a businessman just because he did it – to make a point [laughs].

But now you’re going back to your roots.

Now I’m going back to my roots. You can come to my mansion someday … hopefully.