Whether you’ve seen him walking down the runway at Union Station, or standing tall on the pitcher’s mound at Stagg Field, or eating copious amounts of food at the Crown House table in Cathey, third year Nick Watson has an undeniably strong presence in many shapes and forms both on and off campus. Her Campus had the chance to talk to Nick about his various roles and interests.
HC: Since this is your first year as an RA, how have you been balancing RA stuff with baseball stuff? Are there any challenges that you didn’t foresee?
NW: It’s been pretty manageable for the most part. I’ve been forced to become an obsessive week planner – every Sunday I write down all of the time commitments I have for the upcoming week. It can be stressful to look at sometimes, but it’s been really fun and I feel like I’ve been able to do a good job overall. I spend a lot of time eating at the dining hall so that gives me valuable time to talk to my residents and teach them how to be great. “Be great” is my signature RA phrase. I use it frequently because it’s versatile. For example, if you’re blackout at 2am on a Tuesday, that’s not being great. Luckily, my residents are awesome and they know how to handle their endeavors. One unforeseen challenge was having 6am baseball practices during winter quarter. That was new for this year and there’s just no way around how much it sucked. Getting from South to Henry Crown that early in the morning felt like an arctic expedition. It’s very lonely and I wish I had a dog sled team to get me there faster and provide companionship.
HC: Comedy seems to be something you really enjoy, considering you interned for the Onion (during last school year), did a stand-up act at Kappa Alpha Theta’s Mr. University event, and recently “won” Overheard at UChicago with your hilarious walkthrough of what it’s like to be an econ major. Have you always had an interest in comedy/standup? Which comedians inspire you?
NW: When I was in middle school I checked out a book filled with old Onion articles from the library. I remember reading it alone and laughing out loud for hours. It was like comedic gospel to me. If you ever see me at the Reg laughing at my computer screen like an idiot, that’s what I’m doing. There’s something about Clickhole articles in particular (The Onion’ take on viral internet content from Buzzfeed/Upworthy) that makes me lose it. I think that’s always the goal for me when I write something. I don’t think, “Okay, time to write something really clever” even though my attendance at UChicago shows I’m an intense intellectual being. Instead I try to think of ideas that force me to laugh out loud to myself. My friends make fun of me for that sometimes, and rightly so.
I’ve always wanted to do stand up, and I decided to go for it with my Mr. U performance. I guess I had a lot of things I wanted to talk about, because when I was preparing for the show I timed what I had written and it was somewhere around 30 minutes. This was unfortunate since we were supposed to be done in 5 minutes. So I cut a lot of stuff out, but even then I went over time and they had to pull me off stage about half way through. It was a blast and it felt surprisingly easy. I’ve always liked talking in front of people, and it was especially cool to see people I knew in the crowd reacting to certain jokes. My favorite all-time comedian is Steve Martin, but I’ve recently really been into Kumail Nanjiani’s stand up.
Although I enjoy comedy, I genuinely enjoy the experience I’ve had with finance jobs and I’m working for the UChicago investment office this summer. I guess I’m a good econ major in that regard. I don’t feel like I’m repressing my creative side or anything like that because I legitimately like learning about finance. I don’t feel pressured to choose between one or the other at this point, I’m just thankful I have job opportunities in a field that I like. I’m a fairly low-stress person and I’m confident I’ll be able to feel out what’s right for me in the next couple of years.
HC: Did you expect your econ major post to be as big of a hit as it is? It seems like you spent a lot of time perfecting every detail, and it has certainly paid off; people are quoting it on Yik Yak!
NW: Appropriately, I wrote the entire text and story over the course of one econ class. It’s still there, right next to my subpar notes. The joke about getting a text from Lars Peter Hansen wanting to meet up and talk about elasticities was the first idea I had, and then everything stemmed from there. I originally wrote it without intending to share because I wasn’t sure how I would be able to make the actual clicking part work. But I was able to find a cool website that made the programming pretty easy, and from there it was great to see it come together. It’s been so cool to hear which parts people liked the most. I’ve never shared something I wrote with this wide of an audience. The most unexpected part was hearing about prominent members of the economics faculty taking the quiz. That was a bit uncomfortable to think about at first, but apparently they liked it, and I haven’t been kicked out yet. And yes, I do laugh to myself when I read through it, in case you were wondering.
HC: What is your favorite class that you’ve taken at UChicago so far?
NW: I would say my favorite class has been media aesthetics. I know that probably sounds like a joke but I absolutely loved it. I took all three quarters and finished by giving a presentation that used Nietzsche to analyze the rise of dance music. I got way too into it. There’s something special about playing club tunes in a UChicago classroom. I think half of the class was really feeling it and half wanted to leave.
HC: Any advice you’d like to leave for aspiring comedians, fashion models, RAs, econ majors, etc?
NW: Be great.