The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

12 Questions in 12 Hours with William Butler

William Butler ’26 answered 12 questions in 12 hours. Courtesy William Butler.

In this article, I will be asking 12 questions to William Butler (sophomore, philosophy major, education minor) over the course of 12 hours, one per hour (roughly) starting bright and early at 9:00 a.m. Some of these I came up with, some were ideas from other people, some were pulled straight off of Teen Vogue’s “151 Actually-Interesting Questions to Get to Know Someone.” Understanding is such a critical component of a fulfilling relationship, and I hope that after reading this article you feel a little more connected to your fellow community members. I encourage you all to ponder or talk about any of these questions that pique your interest, because knowing yourself and the people around you is one of the great pleasures of life.


Question 1 (9:00 a.m.) 

  1. There is a donkey placed between two bushels of equally scrumptious and appealing piles of hay. Neither has an advantage over the other, so the donkey will not be able to make a choice. If you were the donkey, how would you choose which bushel to eat?
  2. What was your first thought as you awoke from your deep slumber on this fine autumnal day?



  1. The one on the left has better vibes. There’s no difference between the two piles in any way, so I’m going for the one I feel weirdly drawn to. 
  2. I woke up right before my alarm, which made me think of this interview, so technically “interview” was my first thought. And so, my first fully formed thought was “I wonder what Patrick is up to?”

(I was up to meticulously crafting silly Instagram comments in my bed.)


Question 2 (10:00am)

Describe, in detail, what you see when looking at this image:

William: The first thing I think of is a flayed insect. The parts that are sticking out look like legs. Then when I look at it for longer, I see two faces staring at each other. If you look at the top thirds, it kind of gives the impression of a side profile.

(The Rorschach test, commonly known as the inkblot test, was developed in the 1960s and used to examine a person’s personality characteristics and emotional functioning. 

It has been the focus of substantial criticism.)


Question 3 (11:00 a.m.)

How do you feel like you connect best with people?

William: Just working towards a common goal. That could be a sports team, assembling a puzzle, or even a group project. I feel like in working towards a common goal, you figure out the ways you relate to or differ from other people. That makes me feel like I understand them better, which is when I really feel a connection. 

Follow-up question: What do you think is the ideal number of close friends for you?

William: Great question, but also a very hard question. I’m close to different people in different ways, and even though I have some friends who I don’t talk to with much regularity, I’d say they are much closer to me than people I talk to everyday. What even defines closeness in a friendship? If we are looking at a scale of friendship-closeness, I’m imagining “best” as the highest category, then “close,” and then “good.” So, for close friends, I feel like 10-15 is a pretty ideal number. I personally believe you can have multiple best friends, and for that I’d say five is about right. 


Question 4 (12:00 p.m.)

What is the item that has been on your bucket list the longest?

William: I don’t have a formal bucket list, which makes answering this question pretty hard. I know I used to, but I don’t remember when I stopped keeping track of it. (He thought for a solid seven minutes trying to remember the list he wrote down in a “fuzzy blue notebook.”) Going to the Galápagos Islands has probably been on my bucket list for the longest. I was fascinated by the nature there when I was younger, and I still think about it now. I would like to go before I die.

(This is not because he learned about Darwin’s research in the Galápagos in the ecology section of a Biology class. He simply loves turtles and iguanas.)


Question 5 (1:00pm)

You are given the option to press a red or a blue button, and everyone else in the world is given the same choice. If more than half the population chooses the red button, everyone who chose the blue button will die. If more than half the population chooses the blue button, everyone will live. What choice would you make?

(This question provoked some discussion. This is a summary of WB’s thoughts on the matter.)

William: Blue button. I have 100% faith that the majority of the world would choose to save each other. The argument for red is selfish self-preservation, and picking red is only “safer” if you assume everyone will pick red. Obviously, there is never going to be a reality in which nobody picks blue, thus by knowing this and picking red you are potentially condemning people to die for your own existence, which doesn’t really sit right with me. A bunch of people will be aiming to save everybody without risking killing millions of people, like myself. I’m generally thinking “don’t get super technical, just pick the button that won’t kill people!”


Question 6 (2:00 p.m.)

What is the best compliment you’ve ever received?

William: Another great question! For me, I feel like the best compliment I ever received was “I like your shirt!” A good friend of mine in high school was just walking past me on the stairs and offhandedly remarked that. They said “Oh hey, Will! I like your shirt!” Now obviously not the most insightful thing, but I would say it was the best compliment I ever received because of when it was said. I was in this really sucky state of mind, and I had been struggling to get out of it for weeks. I was just not having a great time, but that compliment made me smile. I realized I was smiling, and I went “Huh, things always get better.” And I was pretty much out of the “funk” after that. To me, great compliments are the ones that are super perceptive (like when people recognize the effort you have been putting into something even though you didn’t tell them), but the best compliments are the ones that are told at the right time.


Question 7 (3:00 p.m.) 

If you could go back in time to any point and give yourself a piece of advice, when would it be and what would you say?

William: Really depends on how long the piece of advice can be, but assuming it can only be a couple words, I’d go back to the summer of 2019 and tell myself to be more honest, but I’m honestly unsure if the advice would help. At the moment I was telling myself to speak my mind, and I still wasn’t, so even if I went back, I’m not sure it would change anything. I still think it’s good advice, I’m just not sure past me would really be able to internalize it. 


Question 8 (4:00pm)

What is your favorite memory?

William: Firstly, let me say thank you for asking, because now I’m filled with appreciation for life after reflecting on my happiest moments. 

The first thing I think of is this memory of playing video games with a childhood friend. We were playing this bike racing game on his Xbox, and there was this glitch in the game where one of the bikes (a unicorn) was running on its butt rather than its legs. We just thought it was the funniest thing. We were laughing so much. And it wasn’t just laughter it was that infectious, constantly flowing, full chested laughter where you start crying and you can’t breathe. We just kept laughing and laughing, and whenever we tried resuming the game, the glitch would happen again, and we would break down again and just be convulsing on the floor. I can still remember how the carpet felt, but they got rid of that a couple years ago. For me that’s a quintessential childhood memory, definitely a favorite.


Question 9 (5:00 p.m.)

What do you look for when finding new friends?

William: Kindness, probably. 

I wouldn’t say I necessarily have qualities I look for when making friends. I definitely have qualities I avoid, but I generally don’t think too much about what a person is doing and just try to get to know them in the moment. 

That being said, if I’ve hung around a person for a while, and they show a consistent, underlying kindness in the way that they act/talk, I definitely feel more enthusiastic about being friends with them. I would say I’m more immediately drawn to people when they are witty, but when I see that there’s this one person in a group that’s always offering to get people a refill of their drink, I definitely want to get to know them better.


Question 10 (6:00 p.m.) 

What is something about you that you think goes against people’s perception of you?

William: I’m quite flexible. Since I’m so lanky I think people might assume I’m very rigid, but I’m actually pretty flexible. Not as much right now since I haven’t been exercising regularly, but I could definitely put my leg behind my head.

(I am personally quite surprised.)


Question 11 (7:00 p.m.) 

What is one thing you think most people have and never appreciate enough?

William: Great question again, Patrick. Honestly so many things, but I’m going to say clear nostrils. And I don’t mean like a clean noise clear of any acne, but like a non-stuffy nose. Kind of a basic answer, but people really don’t appreciate how easy it can be to breathe sometimes. I’m also tempted to say time or electricity, but I’m going to stick with clear nostrils.


Question 12 (8:00 p.m.) 

Describe your perfect day.

William: When imagining my ideal day, I’m back at my home in Connecticut. Even though I’m picturing myself in Connecticut, when I talk about friends, I’m imagining lots of my friends from out of state being there as well. 

I wake up at 9 a.m., lay in my bed for a bit doing whatever (phone probably), get dressed, and brush my teeth. 

At like 9:45 I eat breakfast (both sweet and savory food options). 

After breakfast I have free time to do whatever I want. I’d spend most of the time reading, but I would also play with my dog or maybe a video game. 

Then at like 12:30 I’d go out for lunch with friends. We would finish eating/talking around 2-2:15, and I would head back home. 

I’d lay down after lunch, but I wouldn’t take a nap. I’d either watch TV or find something to watch on my phone (YouTube, TikTok). 

At like 3 or 3:15 I’d go for a run. I’d want the weather to be around 70 degrees with a gentle breeze. The run would end at around 4. 

Back at home, I would shower and then read some more until dinner at 6. My whole family would be there, and we’d be eating a home cooked meal. For dessert, my mom would have made chocolate chip cookies. We’d play a card game or two and then everyone would go do their own thing around 7:30. 

I’d drive over to a friend’s house where my friends are all gathered. We’d talk, play games, go downtown – a variety of things. I imagine it getting to be around 1:30 a.m. when I’d finally head back home. 

I’d go upstairs, make sure my parents know I’m back, say goodnight to Oscar (my dog), and slowly walk up to my room.

I’d brush my teeth and go to bed feeling clean, very tired, but super content. I’d dream I was flying.



If you see Patrick around, say hi, and tell him how grateful you are for your potentially clear noses. For other people too, I encourage you all to ask questions about the people in your life. Never take any question for granted, because that is your chance to express how you think, and always strive to be an active participant in your relationships.


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