As the Class of 2020 mourns the loss of their Senior Spring and spends time in social isolation rather than celebrating with champagne, The Argus remains committed to highlighting the accomplishments of those graduating during this frightening and uncertain time. To do so, we will keep publishing WesCelebs, and we are continuing to take nominations. Nominate on, and we’ll continue to confer members of the Class of 2020 to eternal Argus glory.
A science person and a humanities person? A choreographer and an athlete? A German-speaking Russian House enthusiast? A future economist who loves the spirituality of a sunrise? I’m sure you’re thinking that such a person can’t exist. That is, unless you’ve already met Henrik Palmer. Henrik’s broad range of involvements and passions defy expectations, and he does it all with a humble, good natured laugh. The Argus called Henrik to talk about his past four years at Wes.
The Argus: Why do you think you were nominated?
Henrik Palmer: I guess I have had my toes in a bunch of different places throughout my four years at Wesleyan. Academically, I’ve been kind of all over the place with kind of random two majors. And then I’ve done a whole bunch of clubs. I guess that’s not really unique to me. I feel like everyone does a lot of things, but I don’t know. I just like people, so I like meeting new people.
A: What are your two “random” majors?
HP: I am CSS [College of Social Studies] and Physics.
A: Wow! Is it hard to do both? They both sound pretty intense.
HP: Yeah, they’re kinda intense, I don’t know. CSS was definitely a lot sophomore year, and then after that it’s not bad. I always felt like it was good for me to have one major that was humanities and one that was math-y.
A: You mentioned you had your toes in a bunch of different groups and clubs. What clubs have you been involved in?
HP: I have been a part of Throw Culture all four years, which has been a great way to meet people.
A: What is that?
HP: Throw is Wesleyan’s mixed frisbee team.
A: Oh! My roommate was on that. I heard Throat Culture instead of Throw Culture.
HP: There was some joke when everyone got sick once that it was Throat Culture, but I don’t know, maybe someone can start one that is Throat Culture.
A: That’s funny! Are you in any other clubs?
HP: Yeah, so I do Terp, I did Terp my first four semesters. Then, I choreographed a dance with two of my friends sophomore spring, to “Stacy’s Mom”. I also did Burlesque last year, and I was gonna do it again this year, but alas! Burlesque was sort of a more mature version.
A: Were you choreographing Burlesque, or dancing in it?
HP: No, I was dancing in it. I don’t know, I felt like it was just all the coolest people. I definitely felt a little bit of imposter syndrome, so it was a little bit intimidating!
A: What was your favorite Terp Dance that you were in?
HP: It was probably the one that I choreographed, with my friends Lily Davis ’20 and Sivan Piatigorsky-Roth ’20. And yeah I mean it was just so much fun getting together and coming up with these ridiculous movements to “Stacy’s Mom”, which is already a funny premise, I feel like…crushing on someone else’s mom. So that was fun.
A: That’s awesome. So Throw, Terp, and Burlesque are your main campus involvements, you would say?
HP: Yeah, I feel like throughout my time, I shifted around. Also I was the House Manager of Russian House two semesters, and I also worked in the Box Office for the first two years, but those are, I guess, less exciting involvements.
A: So do you speak Russian?
HP: I don’t speak Russian! I speak German fluently. I studied abroad there and really liked it. And I took a class [in] Russian history, so that got me interested in Eastern Europe. I guess I felt like a bit of an imposter there.
A: What do you think should be on everyone’s Wesleyan Bucket List.
HP: I would say that it’s….Everyone needs some sunrise moment on Foss. I feel like that’s gotta be on the bucket list. I feel like it’s just such a magical moment, like everything is quiet, and the sun on the grass is right in front of you, and then you see Michael Roth and his dog. But yeah, it feels almost spiritual.
A: That’s a really good one. Do you have a favorite Wesleyan memory?
HP: I had a really fun senior week last year, just living with one of my best friends. And there’s so much unstructured time…. It’s unlike the rest of your Wesleyan experience, so you have the opportunity to explore some of the things that you wouldn’t get to otherwise, not only just with other people, but also just geographically, exploring Middletown. So I had a really fun senior week last year. And then my other favorite memory was the post-comps frenzy, which was just so uplifting and joyous, to be finished with this kind of monumental thing.
A: Could you explain what “post-comps” is?
HP: Yeah, so at the end of sophomore year, CSS has comprehensive exams, which are four days of two essays per day.
A: Oh, God.
HP: So eight essays total over that span. And then that’s your whole grade for that year. So you’re just crammed into a hole somewhere with some other CSS people, or alone, and you’re just really in the depths, and then when you’re finished, it’s just amazing and it’s so nice to be with all your CSS peers, and we’re all free!
A: This is kind of a big question, but how would you like to be remembered by the Wes community?
HP: Hmm, I don’t know…It feels too egotistical to be like, “remember me for my kindness!”
A: If you could say anything to the Wesleyan community, what would you say?
HP: I guess just enjoy it while it lasts. Wesleyan is really special, and it only really exists for four years. So make the best of it.
A: Great message. I know everything is crazy right now, but do you have post-grad plans or ideas?
HP: Yeah! I’m moving to Boston for sure. I got a job there last semester. They said it would get started any time between September and March of next year. I’m hoping it starts before the winter so I don’t have to stay in my old 1800s farmhouse in the woods of Western Massachusetts.
A: What are you going to be doing?
HP: I am going to be doing economic consulting. I think I’ll be engaged and working hard, which I like. I’m not super thrilled about it as an institution, but also I have to pay off loans. At this time, it also feels good to have something secure.
A: Right. Well congratulations on your upcoming graduation! I’m sorry it has to be remote! Is there anything else you wanted to say?
HP: I don’t know how to say it in a not-cheesy way, but to everyone that I’ve met throughout my four years, thank you. Thank you to everyone who’s made it so special.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Nora Markey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org