One in Two Thousand: Zoe Hoffmann Kamrat ’25

Izzy Polanco

(Photo courtesy of Zoe Hoffmann Kamrat.)

Each week, we randomly select a unix from a list of all current students at the College for our One in Two Thousand feature. As long as the owner of a selected unix is willing to be interviewed and is not a member of the Record board, that person becomes the subject of our interview. This week, the computer (using a script in R) chose Zoe Hoffmann Kamrat ’25, who discussed her take on the pre-med track, The Catcher in the Rye, and Snar smoothie spills. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Izzy Polanco (IP): We know each other from Sage 3 last year — the best entry, in my unbiased opinion. But what’s it like being a sophomore, and how do you find that it’s different from being a frosh?

Zoe Hoffmann Kamrat (ZHK): I feel like I know the school better for sure. I feel like I’m more comfortable getting around campus. My friends definitely changed from last year to this year, but the friends I have now — I really like them a lot. And I feel like that’s one of the biggest things: trying to figure out who my friends would be last year. And now this year, I feel like I’ve kind of figured it out.

IP: We’re also in the same Intro to Neuroscience class. But you’re on the pre-med track — and I’m definitely not. So tell me more about that.

ZHK: Yeah, pre-med is crazy. I have an extreme love-hate relationship with it — I would say more hate than love. [Laughs.] And it’s very overwhelming. Neuroscience is not actually one of the required courses for pre-med. I’m taking it because I’m just really interested in neuroscience. And I would say, because I’m just interested in it, it’s far better than the required classes — I don’t really want to take all of them. But, yeah, it’s a lot of science, for sure. 

IP: Is there a required class that you’ve particularly enjoyed taking?

ZHK: I really liked Bio 101. I really liked cell biology. I didn’t know that before, because I took AP Bio in high school and it was horrible. I hated it. So now I’m going to be a bio major — I think it was Bio 101, honestly. It was just a really well-designed class, and I really liked the lab. 

IP: You’re probably really busy with school because you’re on the pre-med track and a bio major. But what do you find yourself doing outside of school these days?

ZHK: I’m still in the process of figuring that out. I actually just went to a training intro session for the radio station here, and I’m starting my own show. I want to talk, not play music… I’m thinking maybe a late-night show on a Monday night or something. I don’t know what I’m talking about yet. So I’m gonna try to do that, which is one of the only non-science things I’m doing outside of school. 

I’m also working right now on starting a science journal club. The other things I’m doing are top secret pre-med things that I don’t want to tell other pre-meds because there’s competition. [Laughs.]

IP: If you could have one guest, dead or alive, on your radio show, who would you pick and why?

ZHK: Okay. I’m gonna say J.D. Salinger, who wrote The Catcher in the Rye, which is my all-time favorite book. I have a poster of it on my wall. 

Anyway, I would definitely invite him. I feel like he’s a very interesting person, and people don’t really know about him that much. He was kind of a hermit, I think. 

So it’d be interesting to hear what he has to say, since I don’t think he actually ever said that much to anyone. He’s kind of my idol, even though I don’t know anything about him.

IP: What draws you so much to The Catcher in the Rye specifically?

ZHK: I relate to Holden Caulfield, the main character, so much. I like reading, and I’ve read a lot of books, and I’ve resonated with a few characters, but I’ve never resonated with someone as much as him. And I read the book outside of school, so I think that helped a lot. 

I read it [when] I just started middle school, and that transition for me was really hard. Holden talked about that transition of starting to feel like you needed to be more mature and start growing up, but at the same time, really preserving that innocence and trying to figure out that transition. I think I read it at a critical time when that was my mindset as well.

IP: Have you brought any of those lessons about transitioning into new chapters, so to speak, to Williams?

ZHK: Last year was really hard for me. A lot of the transitions were definitely not smooth. But I do think of that a lot when transitions become hard. I think, for sure, that book has helped me a lot with transitions in general. 

IP: And where are you living this year?

ZHK: I live in West [College], and I am very happy about that. I picked it because it’s at the top of Science Quad, and I basically live in Science Quad. So I run late every single morning, and I literally have to just walk down the hill — it takes me less than a minute to get to class. I can be as late as I want and still get to class on time, which is really nice.

IP: Another thing that’s different between this year and last year is the expanded Snar menu. Do you have a new favorite Snar order?

ZHK: Honestly, I liked Snar much better last year. And I haven’t actually ever ordered anything from there [this year] because I feel rebellious against it. 

IP: What made you like Snar last year so much?

ZHK: I don’t know. It was kind of just casual. And you could just walk in with your friends and get what you wanted to get — I would always get those smoothies. And I was definitely one of the people who [dropped] them on the ground. [Laughs.] But now I feel like it’s not the same. You have to plan it out, and you can’t just walk in with your friends. It was a lot more inviting last year.

IP: Do you have a most disastrous smoothie spill story?

ZHK: Oh, yeah. I was on crutches last year because I broke my leg, and I decided that I was going to try to take a smoothie by myself without anyone helping me with my crutches. It was icy outside, and I fully slipped with my crutches, and the smoothie went flying in the air. And I also fell. I’d say that was probably my most crazy smoothie fail.