When it seemed like all the senior interviewers at the Admissions Office around her had been nominated as a WesCeleb, Lakisha Gonsalves ’16 at last got her chance to sit with The Argus and chat about her time at the University, her favorite shows, and her plans after graduation.
The Argus: Why do you think you were nominated as a WesCeleb?
Lakisha Gonsalves: Honestly, I think I was nominated because a lot of other senior interviewers were nominated and I vocalized how jealous I was. I think one of them probably nominated me.
A: So what are some clubs you’re involved in on campus?
LG: One of my main commitments this year is being a senior interviewer. For the past two semesters, I’ve been interviewing from 80 to 100 incoming students. Some of them were transfers and I have given many information sessions to different families and prospective students, which are really fun. I’m also a dancer on campus and am a co-leader of a group called Collective Motion. It’s supposed to bridge the techniques of all these different students on campus. We have a lot of tap dancers, technical ballet background, some trained in modern, and we all come to create a final piece in the spring. We are having a show at the end of April which is very exciting. I’m also a tutor for a program called Let’s Get Ready. It works with students with a low economic background, primarily in the Connecticut area, so mainly Meriden and Middletown. It helps prepare them for the SATs and the college process. That’s something I’ve been doing since my sophomore year. I’m also a sister in Rho Epsilon Pi so that’s another pretty big commitment and a pretty significant part of my life.
A: As a senior interviewer, what’s one of the most memorable things you’ve heard from a prospective student?
LG: I’ve had good- and bad-memorable. The best is when students seem like they already belong on this campus. Some of them speak so eloquently and are very socially aware and conscious of what they could do on campus. It’s very exciting and sad because I know they are going to do great things if they come to this campus but I’m also not going to be here to see it. I’m excited to walk around WesFest and be like “I know you!” I don’t know how plausible that actually is. Some of the worst ones have been really weird statements. A lot of them like to talk about their families rather than talk about themselves. They will tell me funny stories about how their parents met on this campus instead of why they actually belong here. I always wonder why did you say that, that has nothing to do with you.
A: Are there things you know now as a senior that you wish you knew as an underclassman?
LG: Something I wish I knew is that no matter what you major in on this campus, you are going to be set to leave. I know that I got into huge fights with my parents as a freshman and when I was about to declare. I had to explain how the dance major and the sociology major would be useful for me in the real world. I also have to acknowledge the critical skills and the awareness that I gained from them, and being able to combine them in my own special way is something I learned through the openness of this curriculum. That’s definitely something that’s important to me. I also would have liked to know that this school is a lot hillier than I thought it was. My calves burn all the time and you would think that walking up Foss [Hill] all the time would be helpful but it’s not and I still can’t breathe on the top. Especially when it gets snowy. It’s really hard to cross campus.
A: What is your favorite class that you’ve taken at Wes?
LG: My favorite class is this mobilizing dance class that I took. It was a South Indian classical dance class mixed with film studies. It was taught by someone in the Dance Department, Hari Krishnan. I was the only dance major in it. It was me with a lot of anthropology and math majors. We watched a lot of Bollywood films and talked about bharata natyam, which is the classical Indian dance form which is also taught here as a technique. The class talked about how Western influences commodified it into something that could sell in film which was more accurately viewed as Bollywood. We watched a lot of videos and a lot of Bollywood movies. We were also able to make our own Bollywood dance based on a film we saw. It was the best of both worlds, taking theory and practice. Being able to do the readings and analyze the films and putting it into our own bodies was something that was really great for me.
A: You’re involved in so many things as a senior. If you have free time, what do you do?
LG: I sit on my bed and eat. I’m a huge binge television watcher. I am watching five different series right now. Every time a new episode comes up in one thing, I have 10 other shows I can watch. I sleep a lot and I have a lot more free time now. I also decided to try new things like trying to get into exercise. I signed up for a 9 a.m. step aerobics class for the first quarter of the semester. It was one of the most physically daunting and fun things to take. It’s a balance between being active, eating, and sleeping.
A: So what’s on your Netflix list?
LG: I’m a huge Shonda [Rhimes] fan, so I’m very into “How ro Get Away with Murder” and “Scandal.” It’s every Thursday at my house. My friends and I are also very into “The Bachelor” right now. We have a Monday night gathering and we figure out who is going to get that rose. I’m also very into “Married at First Sight” which is a show I started watching through one of my classes. It was my final essay prompt but now I’ve very into the series as a whole. It’s about three pairs of couples that are single and want to get married and they get married without ever meeting each other. I’m very interested in seeing how they actually relate and whether they are capable of forming a relationship in six weeks and whether they want to stay together or get divorced. I’m very much into that. Those are my top four right now.
A: What are your plans after graduation?
LG: I actually do have plans which is so exciting. I’m moving back home to New York and I’ll be working for a program called City Year which is an education enrichment program. I’m really excited to do that especially with all the work I’ve done with Let’s Get Ready. I want to do more outreach in my own community because I had so many people reach out to me when I was a child when I was young and didn’t really know why academics was so important. It’s working with students from underprivileged communities and neighborhoods and giving them one-on-one attention by hosting after-school programs. We work with their teachers to create a curriculum that’s most accurately [fitted] for them to succeed in school.
A: Is there anything you would change about your Wesleyan experience?
LG: Maybe the weather sometimes? It can get brutal. Something I would actually change is the amount of minors we have at this school. I was weirdly into Spanish when I first got here and thought I wanted to go abroad to Spain. I couldn’t keep it up once I realized I was more interested in dance and sociology. I speak Spanglish which is a pretty strong holding in my head right now. I wish there was a minor where I could continue my Spanish studies.
A: Is there anything not many people know about you?
LG: Something a lot of people don’t know about me on campus and they would randomly find out is that I play the violin. I’ve been playing since I was five. It’s been a huge part of my life and I haven’t been playing much here, but the one time many people saw me was during Burlesque. It’s such a weird intimate place to find me wearing no clothes and playing the violin. When I grew up, I got many opportunities to play the violin with different people. One of my biggest experiences and is my fun fact all the time is that I got to play with Alicia Keys when I was 12. I used to go to this private music school called Harlem School of the Arts. Many of the students and I got the opportunity to perform because of the Save The Music benefit that VH1 hosted. It was saving music in public schools and saying why the arts were really important. Playing with Alicia Keys was definitely one of the highlights of my 12-year-old career.
A: Any final thoughts?
LG: I am very much excited to leave Wes and get on to the real world. Wes has been one of the best places for me to have grown over the course of four years. I’m really sad to leave.