One in 2000: Will Walker ’17

Jennifer Mastrianni/Staff Photographer.
Jennifer Mastrianni/Staff Photographer.

Self-described as “disarmingly good-looking” (which was confirmed upon his entrance to the room), Will Walker ’17 is a man of many aspirations: from religion major to religious cult leader and from astronaut to The Bachelor. Before he graces our TVs either on the moon or in a rose ceremony, though, one can find him on campus by his graceful strut. We sat down with Will to hear about all this and more, and what you have here is but a fraction of his tales. Go see the man himself if you want to hear how he blogged for The New York Times and why he is WOC’s most wanted.  

Tell us your recent adventures. What were you up to this summer?

Nothing. I worked for a travel blog because I couldn’t work at a real job. Like, I wanted to dip ice cream and they were like, you are not qualified. I applied to Taco Bell. I was rejected from Taco Bell. I tried to get on Big Brother, but I couldn’t because I’m not 21.

I’d love to see you on reality TV.

Yeah, right? I really want to be the ‘Bachelor.’ The first episode of The Bachelor, they always tell the girls who the ‘Bachelor’ is. “This year it’s Juan Pablo!” And they’re all like, “Oh my God!” I’d love them to just be like, “This year… it’s Will Walker.” And they’d all be like, “Oh… okay… So if he proposes, do I have to say yes?” They just get out of the limo and they’re like, “Oh, ooh, I left something at my house.” But, I have to be 21 for that, too, so we’ll see. It’d be good for my brand.

So what are your post-graduate plans, brand-wise?

I definitely see myself having a job… um… somewhere. I’d like to be an astronaut, but I’m a religion major and 6’1”.

Are astronauts supposed to be especially tiny?

Yeah, like real small. They have to fit in that tiny, little spaceship.

So your dreams of being an astronaut were thwarted by your height?

I can’t do science at all or math of any type, so I don’t think they’d really even care about me being tall. They’d be like, “Oh, Will, the ship broke down!” And I’d be like, “What would Kant say? Is it really a ship or just an idea of a ship?” And then I’d just be dead. [Laughs.] But I’d be the only astronaut who was a ‘Bachelor!’ So people would care! “The Bachelor in space with Will Walker.”

I’d really rather see you as a contestant on The Bachelorette.

Ooh, I think I’d be screwed on The Bachelorette. I think they would just not have it. I can’t see that there’d be any way that, like, “Courtney” would be like, “Wow, I really had a connection with Will. I really liked when he told me he was too tall to be an astronaut.”

[Laughs.] So, with all of these space-travelling ambitions, why the decision to be a religion major?

Because I’m just super existential and deep. I needed a vent for all my deep thoughts. Nah, I actually really like it, because everything else, you can make a case that it isn’t really important. But I feel with religion you can’t do that.

Valid point. So, Will, I want to hear your origin story. As in your family, background, etc…

Well, I have a little sister, which is important, because it’s like that moment in The Catcher and the Rye where you’re like, “I hate Holden,” but then you’re like, “But, oh, he has a sister.” In my narrative, you have to be like, ah, but he likes his sister so he’s not bad. Yeah, she’s nine, she’s 10 years younger than me. My parents, I guess… I don’t know what was going on. They just popped one out at 45.

[Laughs.] Were you excited to have a little sister?

No, man, I was rattled! I was like, you’re old! What?! We crossed this bridge when I was five and I was like, I want a little sibling. When they said no,  I was like, okay, that ship has clearly sailed because my parents are, like, artifacts. And then they squeezed out a baby. But it’s good now, because if she were too old it would be not as good. Yeah, I took her out when she came to visit. We went to Goff’s. No, obviously. I took her to Meadow. [Laughs.]

[Laughs.] She’d be scarred. I feel like just growing up with you would be a little traumatic, though.

Oh, yeah, absolutely. I do this thing with my cheeks, I put really big objects in my cheeks and they’re, like, stretchy as hell. So I taught her how to stretch out her cheeks, so she too could attain that power. I think now that I’m gone it’s gonna be a little like Stockholm Syndrome, so she’s gonna be like, “Wha- who was that guy that lived down the hall? Like, what was he up to, Mom?” And my mom’s just gonna be like, “I- I dunno.” Yeah, she’s definitely up a creek, 100 percent.

Moving on through your origin story, tell us some tales from high school. 

One time in high school, I thought I was going to have to fight this guy, so I tried to dig a tiger trap. So I could put him in a hole. I was dating my girlfriend in high school. We were going in to this party, and she was like, “Just so you know the guy I used to be involved with is going to be here. He is Australian and a little scary, but it should be fine.” Then I see this guy and, because I have my arm out, he says, [imitating an Australian accent] “‘Ey, Will, I like your watch.” I was like, “Thanks, Liam.” And he was like, “Maybe I should take it from you because you took somethin’ of mine.” So, I got my boys together because I knew there was going to be a battle. Liam had four friends with him who went to one of the schools around us. This one guy was named Biceps Bryan, literally the size of a humvee. We were like, we can take Liam and company, but not Biceps Bryan. But, we have superior guile and cunning, so we have to use that to our advantage. We’re digging this hole, and so, like in the movies, we’re trying to lure him out with steak or something But, it turned out to be pretty difficult digging a hole, so I think we just pooped on his car.

What an unsettling end to that story. Always some poop in these interviews. Side note: I feel like you would make a great tour guide. Are you one?

No, but I would love to be. When I applied, they were like, tell us a story of one of the buildings on campus. I told this story that was true. Last year, it was like 4 a.m. on a Tuesday, and obviously Will Walker, the religion major who doesn’t have to go to class the next day, was just up all night with his entry. And so we were like, “Let’s explore.” So we went to Thompson chapel and there was this hella creepy music playing, like devil worship music, like [singing in a low-resonant pitch] “hoinga hoinga goina” in Latin. So we knocked on the door, then this massive guy in a robe came out. We ran back immediately. So on my tour guide application, I was like, yeah, let me tell you the story about the time I found the cult at Williams in Thompson Chapel. Then they were like, I don’t think so.

Will, now I really want to let you take over one of my tours.

I would love that. Just bat-phone me in, I’ll slide down the flagpole. “Hi, I’m Will. Let me tell you about how I found a cult and how I was an astronaut.”

“I know what you’re thinking: I seem too tall.” Are there any other tidbits we should know about?

I used to do ballet as a kid because I heard that football players do ballet. I was the slowest in the mile, but I was like, well, if I do ballet, then I can be the star quarterback. So I was like, Ma! I need lessons. I danced total maybe five weeks.

Did you retain any of the grace?

I think we both know the answer to that question is, yes. Have you seen me walk? I’m like a panther. I lope around.

Any other critical tales from the life and times of Will Walker?

You know, I think we’ve covered all the bases. We’ve had adventure, conflict, romance, a little poop, not too much, but enough. Come introduce yourself to me though, people, and you can get the real stories.