One in Two Thousand: Maile Ruiz ’26

Noor Naseer

Photo courtesy of Maile Ruiz

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, Maile Ruiz ’26 discussed astrophysics, living in Tyler Annex, and her Winter Study class — Ultimate Wellness. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Noor Naseer (NN): What are you thinking of majoring in? 

Maile Ruiz (MR): I’m thinking about majoring in astrophysics.

NN: Oh wow! Why that?

MR: I’m part Hawaiian, and part of [Hawaiian] culture, history, and ancestry is the wayfinders, who found their way across the ocean by using the stars, so I was inspired by that.

NN: Do you still have family in Hawaii?

MR: Yeah, I do have family in Hawaii. I don’t go often, but I feel very connected to Hawaiian culture.

NN: I know that you’re from California — where specifically in California are you from? 

MR: I’m from San Diego County — a little town called La Mesa.

NN: What is La Mesa like?

MR: It was [incorporated] in 1912, so it has that turn-of-the-century vibe. It’s a very friendly town.

NN: What was the biggest change you’ve experienced between La Mesa and Williamstown?

MR: Everyone here is really, really, really nice. In California, I feel like people are polite, but they’re not kind. Here, everyone feels a lot more kind. 

NN: What’s something you miss the most about La Mesa?

MR: The ocean for sure. 

NN: Do you surf?

MR: I don’t surf, but I did play water polo for six years.

NN: Oh, cool. Do you play here?

MR: I do play a little bit on the club team.

NN: How’s that been?

MR: It’s been really nice. The club team has a really chill, supportive, fun environment.

NN: We’re in the same entry. What was your initial impression of Tyler Annex?

MR: I thought it was like a fun little cabin prison in the woods, which is nice. I love the deer and the common room. The second floor common room [is] fun. 

NN: Where did you rank Tannex?

MR: I ranked it third, but if I’d known that I would have no roommate, I would have put it first. I really like Tyler Annex.

NN: What specifically do you like about it?

MR: I like how the entire building is one entry, I like our five JAs, and I really like the people in our entry.

NN: How was your freshman fall?

MR: It was very good. My classes were very interesting, and I made lots of good friends. I had really cool professors, and my academic advisor was very cool too. 

NN: How does spring semester feel different?

MR: I don’t have three problem sets per week any more. I’m taking a history class and a sociology and [science and technology studies] class. Both are really, really interesting, and they’re both very interdisciplinary — very liberal arts. And I like [the] physics class that I’m taking a lot more than my physics [class] in the fall. 

NN: Why do you like this physics class more? 

MR: It feels more intuitive to me, strangely, even though it’s [about] special relativity … but it’s cool.

NN: What did you do over Winter Study?

MR: Oh, I did so many things. Outside of my class I did [alpine] skiing PE and a bunch of [other] things. I went to Mass MoCA twice. I’ve seen all of Mass MoCA now. And I baked.

NN: What was your Winter Study class?

MR: Ultimate Wellness, so I learned how to eat well and be mindful. 

NN: Do you have any one piece of advice for those who want to focus on their wellness?

MR: I would say the biggest thing I took out of the class was chew your food. One thing we learned was you should drink your food and chew your drink, [which] means appreciating your food more. So chew your food enough that you’re able to swallow it, and swish [around] your beverage more.

NN: If you could give your First Days self some advice, what would it be?

MR: Don’t do the problem sets by yourself — try to find friends to do the problems with. 

NN: That’s good advice. Now for a few rapid fire questions: What is your favorite Spring Street establishment?

MR: Probably the ABC [Clothing Store].

NN: Why?

MR: I just love secondhand clothing. That’s what my mom dressed me in when I was little.

NN: What’s your favorite dining hall?

MR: Probably Driscoll.

NN: Why? The food or the vibes?

MR: Probably the food. The vibes are good too. 

NN: What’s your favorite place to study on campus?

MR: I don’t want to give it away, but [on] the third floor of [Thompson Chemistry Lab], there’s a table that’s almost always empty, and there are blackboards there.