Emmy and Jack served as editors-in-chief of the 2017 Record Board. I sat down with them to discuss their time on the Record, their favorite professors and their future plans. I thanked them for their graceful leadership and wished them the best as they prepare to graduate.
Why did you decide to join the Record?
JG: I went to the first meeting of the Record and found out that there is a pretty consistent commitment that you have. You see a tangible product each week that the community ends up depending on because it has the circulation that it does, and people are excited to get the paper each week. There was something exciting about being part of something continuous where there would be consistent expectations set for me.
EM: For me, I was on the paper in high school, and I really liked it. I was also looking for different activities to do in college, and my JA [Junior Advisor], Jace [Forbes-Cockell ’16], was on the Record. He had great things to say about it, so that’s why I applied, and I haven’t regretted it since!
What is the best section of the paper and why?
EM: Opinions – my completely unbiased answer. I was opinions editor, but setting that aside, I think the opinions section is really important because it’s the only place where you really get to hear directly from people in the community. Thinking about how I’ll read the paper as an alum, I think it will be really interesting to see students’ viewpoints about various things.
JG: Arts because it’s the only section never defiled by my writing. But sports really is the best!
Were there any particular highs or lows during your tenures?
JG: A lot of highs and a lot of lows. In terms of the challenges, I had a good sense of the work that would be involved – having to edit every single article and being the public face and liaison for the paper. The one thing I didn’t anticipate so much, and the one thing I ended up getting the most from, was the leadership dimension of it. Definitely keeping everyone on the same page, keeping everyone motivated and being able to work with all of the different interests on the board was more of a challenge than I anticipated. But at the end of the day, it taught me so much about teamwork, leadership and myself that will really be valuable in the years to come.
EM: It was a lot harder than I expected. For me, what was hardest about it was that even when you weren’t actually doing work for it, there was always something you were worrying about or that was going on. It taught me a lot about leadership and how to manage everything because nothing you decide is ever going to make everybody happy. Coming to terms with that was a good lesson.
What are your favorite things about the College in general?
EM: Top two are definitely the community and the faculty here. Generally, everybody is so approachable here and so willing to interact and engage with people around them. Everyone cares so much about one another here. As a pre-frosh on a tour, that was what I was hoping Williams would be like, and it has definitely proven to be true. And the professors do really want to get to know you and engage with you. That’s been so meaningful to me. Also, tomato basil bisque!
JG: Chinese donuts at Chopsticks. But seriously, similar to Emmy, you’re at a place where you have people who wake up every morning and think about how they can make your life better and make your community stronger, and that’s a really rare thing.
What were your favorite classes, and who are your favorite professors?
JG: I was signed up for a tutorial my sophomore spring, but I wanted to take a break, so I emailed and said, “I don’t think I can take this tutorial.” I got a response saying, “Jack, your responsibility at Williams is to make the most of the opportunities that you have here and that will allow you the most personal and professional development, and accordingly, I don’t think I can let you drop out of this tutorial.” That was the start of my relationship with [Associate Professor of Political Science] Justin Crowe ’03. That intense faith that he had in me in that moment set up a host of opportunities down the road for me. I took that tutorial sophomore spring, I was a TA [teaching assistant] for him twice, he was my thesis advisor and he wrote my recommendations for graduate school. In so many ways, he has carved out the trajectory of my life.
EM: One of the professors whom I have gotten to work with closely is Jim Shepard. I have taken two fiction workshops and done a thesis with him, and I’m currently in an independent study with him. Those classes were some of my favorites here. I’ve always loved to write fiction, and I didn’t realize that it was something you could do as an academic pursuit, so it was exciting to come to College and get to do that. I’ve also gotten to take a few tutorials here, and I love those. They’ve really helped me grow as a writer and taught me to defend my points in a classroom setting.
Emmy, I know you completed a creative writing thesis, and Jack, you are finishing up a political science thesis. What were those experiences like?
EM: I’m so glad I did it. The creative writing thesis was one of my favorite things I’ve done here, if not my favorite thing. I loved being able to dedicate a big chunk of my time to working on a project that really interested me and getting to write all the time.
JG: Similar vibes as Emmy. The one thing that I found at times a little bit lacking at Williams, which definitely isn’t true to this place alone, is that we don’t necessarily create a lot of outlets for what I would term “obsession.” If there is something you are singularly dedicated to, we don’t necessarily afford you the outlet to throw yourself into it because you have a lot of competing priorities. But there were moments with my thesis where I got a sense of depth and fulfillment from being able to solely focus on the topic that I was writing about. For me, that was a really exciting and liberating thing.
What are your favorite snack bar orders?
EM: Nachos with barbecue sauce, smoked mozzarella and caramelized onions.
JG: Honeybun pancakes at Lee.
What are your plans for next year and beyond?
JG: I’m getting my Ph.D. in political science at Yale, which is a long dream come true for me. I’m from just outside of New Haven, so it’s really exciting to be close to home for the next five years. Political science is something that I have gotten so much fulfillment out of at Williams. Politics, specifically politics in the United States, are what I wake up to every morning and go to bed every night thinking about. I really relish the opportunity to focus on [politics] for the next five years and ultimately have a career teaching politics.
EM: I will be in Boston next year. I know it’s shocking. I’ll be back in two years, New York! I’ll be working as a paralegal in a small law firm in Boston. Hopefully after, I’ll go to law school – we’ll see. I am really excited about working as a paralegal because I hope it will confirm that I want to go to law school before I spend a lot of money on it.
Do you have any parting words to give?
JG: Thank you for creating a space where I could be myself and become a better version of myself.
EM: That was really well said. I don’t even know what to say. I’m so sad to leave this place. Thank you does not begin to cover it, but thank you to Williams and everyone here for four wonderful years.