Fred Wills ’19 may be humble, but he’s a star on campus, whether it’s on stage or in the admissions office. Beloved by many, he is best known for being a sincere and friendly face to all, for his hard work for the campus community, and for his talent as a dancer and singer. The Argus sat down with Wills this week to talk about his busy senior year, the biggest lessons he’s learned at Wes, and his love for WesRave.
The Argus: First of all, how is your senior year going so far?
FW: Senior year is tough, I’m not gonna lie. There’s so much social pressure and then academics and extracurriculars, and being in many performance groups, you have all that organizing, leadership, and responsibility that comes with it. Academically, classes are hard, but luckily I’ll be finished with my major this semester so next semester I can kind of chill out and fuck around a little bit—wait, can I curse? Sorry. Haha. And then, socially, I’m trying to connect with as many people as possible. In our last days as seniors, just get to know as many people as possible. You know, have real connections and have real moments. So you know, all that combined makes it hard, but… I’m enjoying it!
A: You’re super involved on campus. Tell us about some of the things you do!
FW: Well, I’m involved in four performance groups. Quasimodal and Slender James on the acapella side, and then X-tacy and Fusion on the dance side. All four amazing groups, amazing people, I’ve been involved in them since freshman year. So four years now, which has been wild and fun and emotional and everything that comes with being a part of a group for four years. I also pledged Psi U sophomore year, I help run Keg Coop this year with Jordan [White ’19] and Ellis [Richmond ’19], which has been super fun so far, and currently, I am a senior interviewer on campus, which I started this year. Amazing job. I’m getting to meet so many interesting high schoolers.
A: Do you have any weird stories? Can you talk about that?
FW: Without saying names or anything, I would say that one interviewee that stands out is this kid who literally went on a rant about his love of parkour. For maybe 15 minutes of this 30-40 minute interview. Honestly I loved it—I can’t say that I’m involved in parkour at all, but just the fact that he was so passionate about it, had so many amazing stories about his travels with it, how much he’s learned and grown from those experiences… That kid just always sticks out in my mind. So definitely the parkour kid.
A: You’ve done other work on campus with communications, planning Reunion & Commencement [R&C], and more. How’s that been for you?
FW: Yeah, so I’ve always sort of gravitated to the administrative jobs. Freshman year, I started off working the communications office, writing articles on different events on campus and interviewing alumni about what they’re doing in life now. So I did that freshman and sophomore year. And in the springtime, I started working with University Relations doing R&C work. I started off as a regular student worker, then I was bumped up to a lead my sophomore year. Which is lot of responsibility, and kind of stressful at times, but I really enjoyed it. And then last year, I got to be an intern which is the highest level you can go before a staff worker in University Relations. And what is say is that it was simultaneously the best and worst experience of my life. We were four interns in all, but it’s managing 150 student workers. So many events that happened throughout that weekend, plus 5000 alumni and guests and families and everything. So working through all of that, it’s a lot of nights with no sleep. But on top of that, also, trying to see friends, see my senior friends, party with them, chill with them, so it’s a lot of balancing that. But I would say those jobs have been what’s connected me to the university the most. I love seeing the inside workings of how an institution like Wesleyan works, what do you need to do to maintain that active alumni base and get money from donors and stuff like that. I think all these jobs that I’ve had help me knowing and understanding how a university works, and that’s where my real interest lies.
A: Are any of these things you’d want to continue doing after college? Do you have any exciting plans?
FW: In terms of the jobs I’ve had on campus, I think the one I’d most want to continue in an outside professional setting would be something with the senior interviewer role, so something that falls in the HR, recruiting side of things. I just think it’s so interesting getting to know someone’s experiences, what they’ve done with their lives, how it’s impacted them, and what they can add to the community, whatever community it might be.
That being said, my real interest lies in the media and entertainment world. I’m definitely still applying and going through an interviewing process but I really wanna join the media and entertainment industry within a corporate marketing role. I’ve interned a bunch in media companies in the past, and they’ve been amazing experiences, and that’s helped me narrow down what I want to do in the media industry. That’s my real focus in terms of jobs after college.
A: What have been some of your favorite moments at Wes?
FW: Hm, favorite moments… I dance a lot on campus. So obviously a lot of dance shows fall into that ‘favorite moments’ category. But I’d say more specifically, I have this weird attachment to WesRave. I don’t know why, but just the fact that classes are over, it’s right before finals season, everyone’s belligerent on Foss Hill to start it off and then running around campus—I always live for that day. So it’s definitely a favorite moment every spring semester. I also think senior week is cute, you know.
A: How are you feeling about our coming senior week?
FW: Oh my god [laughing]. I mean, I’m excited to be the one that people celebrate as a senior, people are here for you and here to celebrate your class and everything you’ve done. But it’s gonna be emotional as fuck. I’m just picturing the day before graduation when people stay up all night and watch the sunrise. I remember last year when I was on Foss with my friends, just seeing them cry and be really emotional, like, ‘oh my god, these are our last days of college.’ I can’t imagine that for us. I’m excited for it, but I know it’s gonna be tough, because I’ve made so many amazing friendships here that being apart from those people is going to be hard. But I’m also not thinking about senior week until it comes around.
A: What have you taken from and given to Wes?
FW: What I’ve taken from falls into that meaningful relationships category. The friendships I’ve made here are some of the most amazing and best parts of my Wesleyan experience. And I’ve found that through Psi U, through my dance groups, everything I’m involved in. But I would say one of the biggest lessons I’ve taken from Wesleyan and our general community is that it’s okay to ask for help, it’s okay to lean on people for emotional support, having that group of people to be there for you. Coming to college, I was very much the kid who did a lot and knew a lot of people, but I didn’t know how to open up to people and talk about myself. Throughout college, through different friendships I’ve made, they’ve taught me that it’s okay to do this, and it’s okay to, you know, be close to people. Very simply. I know it sounds weird to say, but like I said, coming to college I definitely did not talk about myself at all. I would say my housemates this year definitely helped me with that. I also have some people in my acapella group, Quasi, who have this weird way of pulling information out of me, and I’m so here for it, because it forces me to analyze my experiences and, I don’t know, just be open and emotionally there, if that makes sense. And then what I’ve given to Wesleyan … Ew. I don’t know. I mean, I feel like I’m known for my dancing on campus, so I would say my dance experiences, I guess. It sounds conceited.
A: No, it’s true! To go back to dance, do you think you’re gonna get to do anything with dance postgrad?
FW: That has been the question of my life. I knew coming to Wesleyan that I didn’t want to major in dance. To me, having dance in that academic setting would’ve almost ruined the experience for me. I wouldn’t want that. Plans right now in terms of postgrad dance opportunities are none. But I watch a shit ton of dance videos, there are so many amazing dance crews and dance groups. So I was thinking maybe it’d be fun to audition for one and see where it goes. But I don’t practice enough, I don’t know if I’d get into any. But the plan is to maybe audition for one of those.
A: Anything else you want to tell the people, tell your fans?
FW: Come to FXT on Friday! It’s a mix of Precision Troupe, Fusion, and X-tacy, all the hip-hop groups on campus. It’s at Eclectic. Come party. Then go to Psi U after for an amazing concert.
Nick Yeager can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.