William Dubbs ’14 wants to try everything. In his last year at Wesleyan, rather than working on a thesis or a final project, he plans to dive into every bit of campus life he’s always wanted but never had the time to try out. He hopes to make the most of his last year at the University, especially after taking a semester off in his junior year to work.
Dubbs talked to The Argus about his experience working for the Obama campaign in Florida, taking part in a New York theater festival, and his goals for this coming year.
The Argus: What makes you a WesCeleb?
William Dubbs: When you’re a freshman and you read the Argus and you see WesCelebs, I feel like everyone always wants to be a WesCeleb. It’s kind of like, the Wesleyan Dream is to be a WesCeleb. “What do I have to do to be a WesCeleb?” I guess I’m almost dumbfounded, I don’t even know.
A: What do you do around campus?
WD: I’m in a fraternity, AEPi, which is awesome—you meet a lot of great people through that. I’m involved in the theater community at Wesleyan. I’m doing a scene for a class and I did one two years ago, and I’m also writing one for the 24-hour plays this weekend, and I wrote a play that was in Second Stage freshman year. Government’s my major; I do a lot of Government-related things. I also am a TA for a QAC [Quantitative Analysis Center] class, and I guess I do pride myself in knowing a lot of people around campus, and I really like that.
A: Tell me about your theater interests. How’d you get into playwriting and involved with it on campus?
WD: When I was a freshman, I took an introduction to playwriting class. It was an amazing class and I met some of my best friends, some people I even live with, in that class. And we all had to write a play, and I did a lot of theater in high school, so I was just interested in seeing what playwriting was like, and I wrote this play and my teacher thought it was really good and encouraged me to do things with it.
I got invited to perform it in a tiny little theater in New York City that Wes students performed in and directed, and then it was performed again on Second Stage. The play was called “Dead Sharks,” and it was about a guy and a girl going on a date and what’s going through the guy’s mind on the date. It was a lot of fun to do, a lot of fun to write, and a lot of fun to be part of the process.
It was just in this tiny New York City theater—which is now a converted haunted house, I saw the other day, it was really funny. There’s this festival and I submitted to it and it got accepted, and it was an absolutely amazing experience. We sold out a couple of nights. It was a lot of fun.
A: And now you’re going to force yourself to write a play in a day?
WD: I’m going to force myself to write a play in a day. I’m very excited. It will involve probably a lot of energy drinks, which I’m thoroughly excited about. The 24-hour play process seems just like a really cool idea, and it’s really competitive to get a spot, you just have to be very good at sending emails very quickly. Luckily, I have that skill.
A: You’re a senior, so do you have any final year projects, theses, or anything you’re working towards or planning to do?
WD: Not really, and I think that’s the beautiful part of it. You see so many people do senior years where they have so many things on their bucket list. The thing is, I kind of have an idea of what job I’m going to do after college. Wesleyan is such a gift that I just want to make sure every single day I do something different and do something cool with it.
So I’ve been doing a lot of things that I’ve never done before, getting a part of clubs or classes or getting more involved in student leadership positions. Like getting trained to walk people from their car to an abortion clinic, so they don’t feel uncomfortable walking near protestors. I’m going to be pledge master for the fraternity, to help young kids grow into adults through the process. I’m taking film classes; I’ve never taken a film class at Wesleyan, I felt like it was time. I’m going to be part of this scene, playwriting, [which] I haven’t done since freshmen year.
I’m just trying to make the most of my senior year, because you see so many people going out of senior year and they’re like, “Fuck, I wish I could have done more. I just smoked pot all of senior year.”
A: You said you had an idea of what you wanted to do after college. What’s your plan?
WD: I want to go into political campaigns. I’m actually graduating in technically seven semesters, because I dropped out of school my junior fall, because that June, I moved to Florida to work for the Obama campaign. I worked for the campaign as a paid staffer, and I ran the voter turnout operation in this small city in Florida, which was a really incredible experience and something I found very fulfilling and found was a bunch of my interests. I’m going to try and continue doing political campaigns and specifically grassroots campaigning on the ground and engaging with communities.
A: Do you think your experience, putting everything into this campaigning, helped you figure out what you wanted to do and how to get there?
WD: I’m very lucky, at an early stage in my life, to have some sort of sense and find something that I really care about and really enjoy doing, and I get a sense of efficacy out of it. I did it, and it was just something I found I was good at and very much enjoyed, and it’s what I want to do after college.
Some people go abroad and it’s like, that’s [their] vacation; my vacation is Wesleyan. I came from a job, and [now] I get to relax and make the most of Wesleyan. It’s helped my Wesleyan experience as a whole.
A: How did you come across the job, and what did people think of it?
WD: I worked in New Hampshire as the equivalent of an intern the summer before, and I excelled at that…. I was recommended for a position as a field organizer, and they just said, “Apply.” So I applied and I got offers from Ohio, Colorado, Florida, and I decided on Florida. It was a tough decision. I love being at school more than anything ever, so it was very tough to turn that down and throw myself into another world, but it ended up okay.
A: What have you not yet done here that you’re looking forward to in your last year?
WD: I’ve always wanted to be part of a band, yet I have no musical talent, so I’m not really sure how that’s going to play out. We’ll see. It hasn’t stopped people before.
I’m also in a stand-up comedy group as well, called Punchline, so I definitely want to do more stand-up. I was actually thinking the other day that I have to do more stand-up. It’s really fun being part of this collective; you can just roll up to open mics and be like, “Okay, I’m gonna do some time.” It’s really fun. And, again, I have no musical talent, but I like to perform at open mics, so I’m not gonna be one of those kids with a guitar.
A: Anything else you want to say about yourself?
WD: Being a WesCeleb is like a dream come true, honestly. I don’t know if you want to hear a secret, but I was wait-listed at Wesleyan. I wrote a letter to the Dean of Admissions—Nancy, beautiful woman—and I wrote a letter to her being like, “If you don’t accept me to this school, I will go on a murder spree….” I don’t know what I said, actually. I was just like, “I need to go to this school. This is the school where I will become a real human being, a person that I want to be. And not going to this school is not in the cards, I don’t even accept that as a possibility.” And, thank god, I got accepted off the waitlist. So every day at Wesleyan, every single day, is like a goddamn gift for me.
All I want to do is make the most of every single minute I have here, because leaving here is going to suck. That’s why I love being a WesCeleb, because I feel like I really appreciate what Wesleyan has given me.