I had the pleasure of meeting Raja Singh ’16 in an economics class in the fall of 2014, instantly realizing that he was someone I wanted to become friends with. After hanging out with him a few times, it became obvious that his involvement in different realms of campus life, as well as a handful of unusual experiences, make him not only an interesting guy but also an unbelievably entertaining personality.
So I hear you recently went skydiving. How exactly did that come about?
Yeah! So basically every First Days my friend group comes up early and tries to do fun stuff before school starts. This year I was on WOOLF [Williams Outdoor Orientation for Living as First-Years] staff, so I came a solid week or two early. One night out, someone came up to my friend and [me] and was like, “Oh, want to go skydiving?” So the next morning, another one of our friends just comes and knocks on our window and asks, “Want to go skydiving?” We were like, “Yeah, absolutely! Let’s go,” and so we went to this place in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. It’s such an awesome experience; it’s something that’s really hyped up, and we had a great time. The place we went to was pretty crazy too. The plane was basically held together by duck tape. It was safe, but they were like, “Don’t touch the metal on certain parts of the plane, it’ll break off.”
What else did you and your friends do during First Days? Didn’t you go to a concert?
Yeah, we went to a Zac Brown Band concert. So again during First Days this year we did a lot of fun stuff. A lot of people were going, and I’d never been to a concert outside Williams before actually, and I’m a pretty big fan of Zac Brown Band. “Beautiful Drug,” crazy, powerful song. But yeah, we went, and it was an awesome time. It was up in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., which seems like a great place. Seems like a lot of stuff goes on up there.
While we’re on the topic of music, how do you feel about Justin Bieber?
My favorite song is definitely “What Do You Mean?” That song is just, the first time I heard it, I was just like “Wow, who is this?” And before that I was just like, “Ah, Bieber sucks,” but then I heard it and thought, “Wow, who’s singing this? This is awesome!” And when I found out it was Bieber, it kind of changed my mind. Also, one thing I would recommend for all Williams students is, if you really want good music, you should follow Jack Bissel’s [’16] “Eveybody For $enior Y€ar” playlist on Spotify. Incredible. Just put it on shuffle and you’ll discover jams on jams. It’s just like, it’s kind of everything. It’s between rage and chill. It’s good for hanging out and grilling but also all other settings too, like studying.
And you mentioned you worked on WOOLF staff at the begninng of the year. How was that?
It’s too much fun. It’s incredible. I’ve always been pretty involved with WOOLF. I’ve started and ended every year so far with it. I went as a [first-year], then I was a leader, then I was a training trip instructor, and then I came up as part of staff. It’s a lot of great people and we did a lot of hanging out. I was a rover with two of my friends, so as rovers we basically helped anyone in WOOLF who needed help with pretty much anything.
What’s it like being involved in the Williams Outing Club (WOC), especially during Mountain Day?
We’re actually not really involved in the decision about when Mountain Day is. It’s the WOC presidents, Scott Lewis and I’m guessing [President] Adam Falk is probably involved in it somehow, too – they all make the decision on when it is. They let us know the night before though, just because we have to get up early and do stuff to help get ready. You get a lot of texts from people who want to know if it’s going to happen or not.
Didn’t you learn to ski here at the College?
Yeah! So [my first] year, I came in [and] had never really done much hiking and stuff. I went on WOOLF and realized that the outdoors are pretty awesome, so I started doing a lot of stuff with the outing club. So that winter one of the WOC board people told me that if I wanted to learn skiing I should do it that winter at Jiminy [Peak] with some of the student instructors. I would ski three or four times a week and take lessons. I didn’t have any ski stuff then, so I would borrow ski jackets, goggles and skis from friends all the time.
Now that you’re in your senior year, do you have any recommendations?
Yeah, I have tons of recommendations. I would just say, first off, First Days: I definitely recommend coming early and just trying to do fun stuff before school starts. Then in general, I feel like a lot of alumni I’ve talked to really say that you have to do senior year right, and what I take that to mean is just to do a lot of the stuff that you’re not going to be able to do once you’re out working and have a job. So this past weekend, a friend and I got up early and went out and hiked Pine Cobble, which is a great way to start the day. When you’re living in a city you can’t just go for a hike on a mountain that’s conveniently right next to your building, so I’m trying to get in as much of that now as I can. I also recommend driving up [Mount] Greylock – it’s great. I feel like there must have been some movie filmed up there, it’s so beautiful. Overall, I would say not to stress too much about next year [after college]. The crazy thing is once you graduate, accessibility is going to be so different in terms of friends. Right now, I wake up and can go grab any of my friends and get lunch or hang out. Next year we’ll all be spread out, and that won’t be as easy. [Singh looks outside and notices how beautiful the sky looks at that moment and gets excited.] Wait, also, another thing for senior year, or any year really, is appreciating how beautiful this place is. It’s gorgeous. I’ve taken so many panoramas of the views here, I’m definitely going to print some of them out and put them up in my room next year. Cities are beautiful in their own way, but I always forget how amazing the nature is here. Like, people come all the way out to this area in the fall just to see how pretty it is. I’m always just like, “Oh, I have a test tomorrow” when I should be looking at all the trees and how beautiful they are. Except the tree in front of Sawyer. There’s that one tree between Paresky [Center] and Stetson that’s just like a lone tree, right in the middle that messes up the view.
What’s your favorite class you’ve taken here at the College?
That’s a tough one. I’ve loved a lot of my economics classes, but I’m actually in an espionage class with [Willmott Family Third Century Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs Robert] Jackall right now, and it’s a really cool class. And not just because it’s like, oh James Bond, but we’re learning about the CIA. We’ve had some pretty cool guests. People who have been pretty high up in the CIA have come and talked to us, and we’ve had the opportunity to ask them questions, and it was awesome. I highly recommend taking a class with Jackall; it’s been great. He’s incredible.