Welcome Wesleyan Class of 2013! This orientation series will profile a good cross-section of our incoming freshmen. I’m thrilled to be the one who finally gets to ask the questions after spending my summer writing them, revising them when my boss informed me that we’d be sued if we asked questions like that, and then scurrying away to wherever unpaid pseudo-journalists dwell (bedrooms, shady hideaways behind newsstands, other bedrooms).
Are these stock questions? Some of them, sure. But will this piece ever delve beneath the surface? Hopefully absolutely. I thought about writing an appropriately lofty introduction to this project like, “Since the dawn of time, man has always been fixated with who was moving into his neighborhood.” Omissions aside, the first profile will be a dear friend of mine from high school, and Westco Up 1’s first resident: Adam Hirschberg.
Anthony Smith: Name?
Adam Hirschberg: Adam Conrad Hirschberg
AH: September 27, 1990
AS: Favorite movie?
AH: ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’. No wait, ‘My Own Private Idaho.’ No wait, everyone here’s gonna say ‘My Own Private Idaho.’ What about ‘Wild Strawberries’? I love Bergman, don’t you?
AS: So your favorite band?
AH: I don’t listen to bands; I listen to jazz.
AS: If you could live anywhere in the world after college—
AS: So you’re an international student?
AH: Yeah, but hardly.
AS: Why hardly?
AH: I live abroad [in Bermuda], but my country isn’t as different from the United States as others. Plus I went to high school in the states. And my first language is English which, you know, it gives me an advantage in this country.
AS: How’s it been, then, being among the new students who may have less facility living here for reasons like culture shock or the language barrier?
AH: I actually really like it! I feel like sort of a liaison—like I have a sort of an inside scoop—but I can approach it as an outsider with outsiders.
AS: So how do people in Bermuda view Wesleyan?
AH: What do you mean?
AS: I mean, does it have the same reputation for being a— for lack of a better phrasing, a sort of alternative school with a thriving drug culture?
AH: No one in Bermuda has really heard of Wesleyan. My host family when I was abroad in China didn’t know it either. In my experience outside of the states, people only really talk about the Ivy Leagues, sadly. But for the ones who have heard of it, like my parents, they have an entirely different perception of it than what I have today. But they do know it as one of the “Little Ivies”, which is probably the most admirable of Wesleyan’s many reputations.
AS: So let’s talk about your high school.
AH: (Laughing) My high school?
AS: Okay, our high school. Talk about it, like, in terms of its sociopolitical atmosphere.
AH: It’s comparatively conservative. It’s one of the Mighty Seven, but it’s the only one not in New England, so I think it’s a little more down to earth and a little farther removed than some of the stuff that goes on there.
AS: What’s it like moving from a comparatively conservative school to a comparatively very liberal school?
AH: I haven’t really noticed a real transition yet. I think that’ll change, though. It’s not like I had a deep resentment for how conservative Lawrenceville was and wanted to go to a place to be among like-minded liberals.
AS: Politically, you are…
AS: Do you think that’ll change here?
AH: I feel like I’ll be forced to change here. I don’t know, I respect pragmatism more than anything, so wherever that puts me, that’s where I am.
AS: Anything you’re looking forward to this week?
AH: Getting to meet the people on my hallway is a biggy. And—can I say I’m looking forward to partying?
AS: Last question: Why Wesleyan?
AH: You. (He laughs) Just kidding, obviously. I loved it ever since I started visiting here, I had heard a lot about it in high school and I knew they had a really strong program in what I wanted to study, [East Asian Studies], and the icing on the cake was the cool campus and cool campus culture, I guess.
AS: Like Foss Hill, right?
AH: Yeah, sure. It was just very welcoming.
AS: So it wasn’t promises of counter-culture and candy?
AH: Ha-ha, No.
So that’s my first crack at this whole interviewing schpiel. Hope it was interesting. Stay tuned tomorrow for another rising frosh, as well as a little more on the less-reported goings on of O-Week.