You probably know Holly Wood as one of the founders of the all-things-Wesleyan blog, “Wesleying.” But these days, she’s spending much more quality time with helicopter parents than on the college blogosphere. Read on to find out more about Holly’s special relationship with overprotective parents and her pet hedgehog, Winston. Plus, you know you want to find out how she got her name (but were just afraid to ask).
Annalee: Before I ask you this first question, let me first apologize because I’m sure you get this from everyone you ever meet…but I have to know…your name. Were your parents big movie buffs or did they just like the name Holly?
Holly: No, my mom was not a movie buff, I’m from rural Pennsylvania. It was more of just a fact of my mom coming from a background where she wasn’t much of anything (and I hate to say that cause I adore my mother) and it was really important that I be something. So…when she married my father and my name was Wood, she was like, “Oh, this is obvious, I’m gonna have a girl…Holly Wood!”
A: How many times over the course of your lifetime do you think you’ve been asked a question similar to that?
H: If I had to estimate? Give or take eight million times.
A: A lot of people probably know you as one of the co-creators of Wesleying [along with Xue Sun ’08]. How did you guys come up with that idea?
H: It was mostly along the lines of, and I say this over and over again because it’s really how it happened, it was like three in the morning and I was like, “You know what Wesleyan doesn’t have?” And she was like, “What?” “A blog.” She was like, “Oh, okay. Let’s do it.” There was no planning, it was totally off the cuff. We were happy when we were getting 30 hits a day, now we’re getting 4,000. We’re really happy with how it’s come out.
A: Beyond your involvement with Wesleying, what would you like the people of Wesleyan to know about you? What do you do on Campus?
H: What do I do on campus? Nothing anymore. I’m not allowed to have any interest, personality, or hobbies until April 14th [Senior Thesis due date].
A: You’re writing your thesis about helicopter parents, right?
H: In essence, yeah. I’m actually, what I’m doing is writing about the role of parents in the college admissions process. And how it’s often overlooked by sociologists and educationalists in examining why so many low-income and working class students don’t end up at schools like Wesleyan and Harvard and Stanford and schools of the like.
A: I hear you have a pet hedgehog.
H: I do. He is not on campus right now and I cannot tell you where he is…because his position might be illegal in that place where he is…His name is Winston…like Dick Cheney, he’s staying in an undisclosed location for his own safety.
A: Where’d you get it?
H: I had to go to Massachusetts to go get it [laughs].
A: Like a hedgehog breeder?
H: Yeah, it was a hedgehog breeder. You can’t buy a hedgehog at a pet store. There have to be licensed breeders…it’s actually a lot like adopting a child because you have to basically say that you’re going to take care of it, that you have the means to take care of it, and that you’re not some horrible…I sincerely think they do background checks. Getting a hedgehog is a way, way big deal.
A: Wow. Has it been worth it?
H: No. I mean, he’s a cool guy, but he’s not a dog.
A: You knowing a lot about colleges and Wesleyan in particular, I have some important Wesleyan-related questions: if you were president of Wesleyan, for one day, what would you do?
H: Given my very one-tracked interest right now, admit a whole class of low-income kids…if I were the president, the first thing I would do would be tell the admissions office I wanted socio-economic diversity…I think that’s the biggest problem facing this college right now.
A: Okay, some non-Wesleyan questions: If you could have one super power, what would you have?
H: I guess it would be reading minds. That would be an incredibly useful talent. People say flying, but what the hell? That’s not gonna help you with day-to-day functioning!
A: If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you bring with you?
H: And I can’t bring a boat?
H: Let’s just be honest, if I was stranded on a desert island, I would die in a week. I’d step on something and just die [laughs]…What would I bring? I would need my laptop…hopefully a dog, I hate not having a dog, it makes me really unhappy. And I suppose I should say my boyfriend [laughs].
A: Describe yourself in two words.
H: [Laughs] “Anti-helicopter parent.” There you go.
A: Final question: What do you want your Wesleyan legacy to be? How do you want people to remember you?
H: The legacy that I would want to leave is making people realize that their heart might be in the right place, but unless we work towards ensuring all aspects of diversity, it’s just not gonna happen.