I first met Kendall as I moved into my sophomore residence in Mark Hopkins and immediately became fascinated by the baseball-loving Buffalo, N.Y. native and all of his endearing idiosyncrasies. I knew he would prove quite the Eph to feature this week.
Could tell us about the significance of your hometown, Buffalo, to you?
The great city of Buffalo, New York, or as I like to call it, “South Canada” – I absolutely love the place. My parents and their families have both been there a couple generations each, and I’m just pretty entrenched in the area. I absolutely love it – I love the fact that I can walk five minutes from my house and see Canada across the river. Canada’s kind of my favorite country. A lot of people say that [Buffalo] is a drinking city with a hockey problem – accurate, very accurate. Hockey is huge there, and hockey is something I love to do, love to watch. Anytime my team, the Buffalo Sabres, are on national TV, you can bet I’m watching.
I hear you like to take your interest in sports into your dormitory.
Indeed, indeed. So my favorite pastime, when I just need to get my mind out of work or whatever I’m doing, is taking a tennis ball and a hockey stick and hitting it down the hallway of my dorm. It had its roots last year in Mission [Park], actually, when the hallways were a lot bigger and you could really go HAM and [makes swishing noise]. It’s been a little limited living in Greylock Quad, but it’s still one of my favorite things to do, one of my favorite ways to blow off steam and just focus on something that gets my mind working in different ways.
Have any of your suitemates ever been personally victimized by these activities?
I cannot say they have, no. Not physically, anyway. Mentally, yeah, probably. Most likely they have mentally wanted to take that hockey stick and shove it into one of my orifices at various times.
Today’s an almost spring-like day here in Williamstown, so I feel like you’re actually fairly justified in wearing a t-shirt and shorts, but even when the weather’s a little chillier, you seem to keep your fashion choices one and the same. How do you explain that?
One of my go-to lines when people ask me why I’m wearing shorts on a cold day is, “I like being cold because it makes the warmth of your personality seem so much warmer.” Why I actually do it? That’s up for debate, even with me personally. At least this year, I was wearing jeans all through Winter Study. We had one 50-degree day at the end of Winter Study, and I was just like, “You know, maybe today’s the day I swear off pants for the winter.” And so far it’s been a success.
You seem to drive off-campus a bunch now that you have your car here.
Oh yeah! People don’t realize that this place doesn’t end at North Adams. There’s a whole world east of there, a whole world north of there. People know Williamstown and North Adams and that there are things to do there, but what they don’t know is that there are all these rural backlands that are absolutely beautiful just a little north and a little east.
What trip would you say you’ve appreciated the most this year?
I don’t think you can really beat the peak foliage season autumn trip I made to the eastern part of Berkshire County and the western part of the next county over, Franklin County. Driving through some leaf-covered roads and getting completely lost – one of the things I realized on those trips is that, at least when you get into southern Vermont and the more rural parts of northwestern Massachusetts, where Google Maps says there’s a road, there’s not always a road. That can be a problem at times. At one point it gradually got to be less and less of a road, until I realized that for about half a mile I was driving on a rock hiking path. I later went on Google Maps and realized I had driven half a mile on the Appalachian Trail.
You love the outdoors. Why didn’t you do WOOLF (Williams Outdoor Orientation For Living as First-years)?
As a Type 1 diabetic, I told my mom I wanted to do WOOLF, and she was panicking about me going out on a hiking trip for four days with things I couldn’t carb count and a finite amount of insulin – if an insulin pen got broken, I would be totally screwed. I ended up doing Leading Minds, and that was every bit the experience I hoped for.
How has your Type 1 diabetes shaped your life thus far?
Type 1 diabetes is really an interesting thing for me because I can understand how it can be a huge obstacle for people to overcome if they’re diagnosed at age 12 or 14, but personally, having been diagnosed with it at the age of two and a half, it’s just something that’s always been a part of me. I’ve never been able to question: Why do I have this? Why do I have to do this every time I eat? It’s just life to me; it’s not like there was one part of my life where I was living without it and one part of my life where I was living with it. It’s always been that way, so I just see it as a thing I do.
What is your primary academic focus here at the College?
Coming into Williams, I really realized that academics would not be my number one priority. I didn’t come here to get a good GPA and get a good job or [get] into a good grad school. I came here to take advantage of everything this place has to offer and to develop as a human being, as a person, as a friend, as somebody who loves other people. So I’ve made that my first priority here over academics. I settled into psych as a major because one, it has a lot of real-world applications in how we can make the lives of others better, and two, because it’s not a time-intensive major and allows me to pursue things other than academics more than, say, a chemistry major would.
What do you like to do outside of the classroom?
I’ve been thinking about this with the things I’ve learned in the tutorial on happiness [that I’m currently taking], and what I’ve realized is that there are two main things that give my life happiness and meaning. One of them is something we talk about in philosophy, this idea called “flow,” which is the idea that athletes would often describe as being “in the zone” – it’s the idea that you have when you’re totally focused in the moment. I don’t know if you’ve ever had the experience where time seems to slow down when you’re doing something that either you’re really good at or you really enjoy. That’s the kind of stuff I like to do in my free time. That’s what playing the drums is for me a lot of the time, that is what looking at random things online can be for a me a lot of the time.
You do Call-In Walk-In with Peer Health, too.
Yeah, that’s the second part of [what makes me happy]. Half of it is flow, which is how I justify activities such as helping with the baseball team or drumming. The other idea, the one that I’ve found most central to my happiness, is helping other people find what makes them happy. That is something that’s really near and dear to me. That’s why I’m taking opportunities to join Peer Health. I’m hoping to get more involved with Mental Health Committee. I just have a love for seeing other people happy, that’s what I’m out to do.
Would you say that you find your own happiness in the happiness of others?
To a pretty good extent, yes. It’s really weird because you’re always told that you should find internal ways of defining happiness for yourself, and you should let happiness be this thing that comes from inside you. But what does it really mean to internally define happiness? I think that, at least for me, the only way I can really internally define happiness is if it’s somehow linked to the world as well, and I think that’s a major part of me.
What do you think you want to do after you graduate?
After I graduate it would be an absolute dream to stay on this campus and work either in the campus community or outside it at one of the elementary schools – it would be a dream to go into education, especially in this area, which I absolutely love. That’s probably what I’m looking at eventually, going into education, because it really gives me a platform to have a positive impact and spread the positive energy that I’m lucky to have in my life into the lives of others. Also working on campus in [the Office of] either Admissions or Alumni Relations would be cool just because I love this place so much, and I would be really happy to stay in the Berkshires for the rest of my life.