One in Two Thousand: Akira Eisenbeiss ’24

Kent Barbir

Photo courtesy of Akira Eisenbeiss.

Each week, the Record (using a script in R) randomly selects a student at the College for our One in Two Thousand feature, excluding current Record board members. This week, Akira Eisenbeiss ’24 discussed Olympic weightlifting, tuna melts, and traumatic childhood experiences with fans. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Kent Barbir (KB): How’s your Winter Carnival weekend been so far?

Akira Eisenbeiss (AE): Pretty good. I haven’t really done much for Winter Carnival. I tend to be pretty active during Mountain Day — I go to all the events — but for Winter Carnival I’ve used that time to stay in, especially since the weather’s so warm. Usually, I’d use this opportunity to ski.

KB: You’re on ski patrol, right?

AE: Yeah, I am on ski patrol, but I wouldn’t say I’m a very active member.

KB: What other clubs are you involved in?

AE: It’s pretty much just club volleyball. I used to be involved with Mosaics [Multiracial Student Organization], but it doesn’t really exist anymore. 

KB: What would you say is your favorite thing about club volleyball?

AE: Definitely the people. I’m not very good at volleyball, to be honest. It’s nice that I still feel included on the team considering that we have some members who have been playing all throughout middle school and high school, and I’m still able to participate in that. 

KB: What position do you play?

AE: My entire time at Williams, I was middle blocker because we didn’t have that many people who were willing to play middle. I was finally able to get [out] of that position and now I’m playing opposite hitter. Middle is the position that blocks the most. It helps to be tall. You need to be able to jump high, you need to be agile and fast — many characteristics which I am not. [Laughs.] But our new middles are really good. 

KB: Speaking of jumping high, I heard from an unknown source that you’re on some sort of powerlifting training regimen?

AE: In my free time, I have been trying to work on powerlifting. During Winter Study, [we had] a group of guys do an unofficial powerlifting meet, but it’s just us. No judges.

KB: Is it a club?

AE: Not yet. But if there is one, I will be joining it. It’s inspiring, because some of those guys are really good at powerlifting and you can tell that they’ve been training for a while. And I’m new to the sport, so it’s fun to watch them lift a ton of weight. 

KB: Do you know your max bench?

AE: I tore my tricep recently, so I haven’t been able to test it out. I did like 275 or 280 [pounds] at the unofficial meet. So hopefully somewhere around there, maybe a little better.

KB: How’d you tear your tricep?

AE: Recently, I’ve been trying to learn Olympic weightlifting, because I see athletes doing it at the gym, and it seems to be a really interesting sport. But it’s very technique focused, and I don’t have the technique yet. And I’m not on a team, so I don’t have a coach. I was sort of testing out the waters, and I tried to hit a clean and jerk and tore my tricep.

KB: So you don’t know the form, but you’re tossing around hundreds of pounds?

AE: I’ve watched a lot of videos, and I’ve been asking [for pointers] pretty much anytime I see someone with good form in the gym. It’s been slowly but surely getting better, injury after injury.

KB: Sounds dangerous. How’s your tricep feeling now?

AE: I think we’re almost back.

KB: Let’s switch to academics. You’re majoring in physics and something else, right?

AE: I’m a physics and philosophy major.

KB: Oh, wow. What made you want to do that?

AE: Actually, when I applied to college, I applied to schools as a neurolinguistics major, and then I came to Williams and realized that neuroscience is only a concentration and there’s no linguistics department. So I thought, “What is the next best thing?” And for me, it’s physics. In high school, physics was one of those classes I had a love-hate relationship with — like you’re really interested in it, but you’re also terrible at it. So I decided to continue that trend for my college career.

KB: You also said you’re a philosophy major, right?

AE: Yeah. It wasn’t like physics, where I felt like I needed to do it — philosophy was just sort of on a whim. I knew that I wanted to keep working on my general writing skills, and I wasn’t sure exactly what major to do. I took a couple philosophy classes, and I was interested in how all the different philosophy classes are very different from each other. Some of those classes are cognitive science, some of them are linguistics. You’ve got ethics — you’ve got all sorts of different courses that are all under one department. So I felt like it was the major that would allow me to write about a wide array of topics while still refining my argumentative, analytical writing.

KB: You probably knew I was going to ask this, but I have to ask about your hair when’s the last time you cut it?

AE: Officially, I’m not sure. Probably in elementary or middle school. But it has been cut unofficially. I had a friend in eighth grade who stuck a portable fan into my hair, and that cut off a significant portion of it. But yeah, I haven’t had my hair cut [since then].

KB: What happened after? Were you like, “Oh wow, I’m missing a ton of hair?”

AE: Well, he stuck it in and it tangled up all the hair in the back. So, for maybe a year after that, my hair in the back was unnaturally short compared to the hair in the front.

KB: Like a reverse mullet, maybe?

AE: Yeah, like the opposite of a mullet.

KB: Did that leave you with a traumatic fear of fans or anything?

AE: I need a fan because my room is very hot. But I do make sure that I keep it either away from my head or on the opposite side of my body, so there’s no chance that it gets stuck.

KB: Do you have an end goal in sight in terms of your hair length, or are you just going to let it keep on growing?

AE: I don’t know. I feel like I sort of missed the opportunity to cut my hair, because I probably should have done it right before I came to college. I feel like now if I did it, all my friends would be really confused. But I don’t have an end goal. It sort of just happened naturally because my mom used to cut my hair, and I didn’t like the way she cut my hair when I was a kid. So I refused to get haircuts for a while, and then my hair became shoulder length and she basically said, “It looks terrible. The options are either let me cut the hair or grow it out.” And I decided that I would just let it keep growing.

KB: Fair enough. What’s your go-to Lee’s order?

AE: It might be the tuna melt.

KB: That’s a controversial choice.

AE: Yeah, I know. Actually, recently, I stopped eating meat besides fish. So I’ve sort of boxed myself in. It’s either that or the Beyond Burger. 

KB: If you could grab a meal with any person, dead or alive, who would it be?

AE: Honestly, probably one of my friends. Just a normal meal. I feel like the normal answer is a celebrity or a famous figure, but I’d be too intimidated to be able to eat and talk to them at the same time. So someone I’m familiar with.