Credit: Andrew Zhou
Will Bloxham is a on a quest to discover uncharted territory. Maybe that’s why the San Francisco-based student is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Psychology at John F. Kennedy University and has a healthy case of wanderlust. Bloxham’s Instagram sees him traveling to Ensenada, Tahoe, Mt. Baldy, and around his foggy Northern California hometown, with a psychology research presentation thrown in every once in a while for good measure.
In addition to being a doctoral candidate, Bloxham quenches his thirst to discover and learn with his simultaneous occupations as a model, rapper, skateboarder, and legal assistant. The astute student also happens to be a longtime beard grower (pre-beard craze) who enjoys rocking the long beard in all its glory.
We caught up with this multitalented man to talk doctorates, one of his favorite trips ever, and how Ricki Hall factored into his decision to grow a beard.
1. Describe yourself in as many words as you want.
Just your ordinary, bearded man about town, enjoying life as much as possible while attempting to maintain a facade of responsibility. I work sometimes, but prefer to venture to previously unexplored locales to broaden my cultural horizons in local dive bars and other liquor serving establishments.
2. Where do you live?
I live in the East San Francisco Bay Area in California. Walnut Creek to be exact.
3. What is your occupation?
I’m currently employed as a legal assistant at the family law office, but I’m not really interested in law much so I’m working on getting my doctorate in Psychology. I have about three more years before I get to make all my friends call me doctor. That’ll be the day…
Credit: John Thatcher
4. What made you decide to pursue a doctorate?
You gotta grow up sometime right? It only took me 29 years. I didn’t want to be an attorney and I couldn’t support myself through skateboarding like some of my friends could. I wished I could, but after 15 years I realized the skateboarding thing wasn’t going to happen for me. Honestly though, I’ve always found psychology interesting and figured if I was going to go back to grad school I might as well make it worth my time and do something that maximizes my opportunities when I graduate.
There’s a large and diverse job market for people with graduate degrees in psychology, so I will have plenty of time to figure out where my passion lies as a PsyD. Plus, I figure I’ll still be pretty young for a doctor when I graduate, so I can potentially have 2 or 3 different careers in the field. Right now I’m pretty interested in doing research, but who knows what I’ll be into 3 years from now? It’s an exciting time to be alive for me. I’m very grateful to have the opportunities I do.
5. What is one interesting thing about yourself?
Just one? Hmm, that’s tough. One thing most people don’t expect and I don’t talk about much is that I have a rap group with a few of my buddies. It's called the Come Up and we’re trying to release a new album for fun pretty soon. It’s nothing too serious because I don’t have much time to devote to the project due to work, school, and trying to model a bit. But it’s fun. It will be our second album and hopefully it will be more honest and thoughtful than the first one. It’ll probably end up on Soundcloud at some point if anyone wants to hear a bunch of white kids rapping.
6. What is your greatest fear and have you conquered it?
My greatest fear is not being able to take care of the people I love. It’s really difficult for me to see my friends and family struggling, which is part of the reason I am drawn to psychology. I love to help people and do my best to see them smile. As a doctor I hope to be able to support my family monetarily if I have to, but it’s also important to support them emotionally.
I don’t know if that’s a fear I’ll ever conquer or even if it’s one that I want to. I’m motivated to help people, and I like that about myself. I definitely could cut myself a little more slack now and then though because I know that you can’t help everyone all the time. I get pretty hard on myself when I feel like I miss my mark.
7. Would you call yourself a creative and why?
I think everyone is a creative in some way or another. Even if you work a mundane job and make weird paper clip art, I think that’s creative. I don’t think you necessarily have to call yourself an artist. Personally, I like to think creatively. I like to construct interesting sentences, rhymes, turns of phrase, and words in creative ways. I also like to travel and live as creatively as I can.
It’s hard to do when you’re a broke grad student, but when I had time and money I took a month off and drove to 42 different states in a 1989 Cadillac El Dorado. I don’t know if you’ve ever ridden in a car like that before, but it isn’t the most comfortable sleeping situation, especially when your girlfriend is traveling with you. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life though. You never know what you might find when you drop all expectations and plans and wander aimlessly throughout your home country. I saw so many things I would never have had the opportunity to see otherwise and developed a respect for the natural beauty of my country.
I think a lot of people believe you have to travel to Europe, Asia, or some faraway place to see something beautiful, but they could just wander around in their own backyard and find things equally as majestic or interesting.
But to answer your question, no, I probably would not call myself a creative. To me, it sounds a little douchy to say something like that about yourself. My policy is to be cool and nice enough to other people so they say things like that for you. It’s better that way.
Credit: John Thatcher
8. On your Instagram you're always traveling and adventuring outdoors. What’s your favorite place to travel to?
Like I said above, I love to travel a lot. I’ll go pretty much anywhere I haven’t been before. I wouldn’t say I have one favorite place that I travel to over and over. I think part of the fun of traveling is seeing something new and unknown; having a new adventure rather than trying to recreate old ones. That’s what I prefer to do if I can. With that being said though, in my area, one of my favorite places to go recently has been the Marin headlands. The fog rolls in so cool there and it just makes everything seem ethereal. It also makes for great pictures.
9. Where do you see yourself in the next year?
In the next year, I see school easing up slightly before I have to go to my next internship. I also have some trips planned to Las Vegas, New Orleans, and Austin that I’m excited for. I’m hoping to present some research that some colleagues and I have been working on at a psychology conference in Austin, so that should be really interesting.
I hope to keep modeling and get some higher profile shoots to step up my Instagram game a notch or two. Other than that, it will probably be business as usual trying to convince people I’m smart enough to not get kicked out of grad school.
10. What influenced you to grow your beard? And how long have you had a beard?
Well I had a beard three or four years before it got really popular. I grew it for six months before I got over it and shaved it off. Years later, my friend, John Thatcher, who takes a lot of my photos, picked up a camera and suggested I regrow it. I was like, “nah,” but my girlfriend at the time thought it was a great idea because she was into that Ricki Hall look and thought I would look good with a beard, too. I was pretty much "whatever" about it at first because I had been there before, but as it grew, the idea grew on me more and more. Eventually she and I broke up, but by then I had a great beard that I wasn’t about to get rid of.
Plus Instagram was starting to show me some love, so I figured I’d just roll with it. It’s been two years now and I have no regrets, except that I need to order more of that Zeus Beard Conditioner and Shampoo. That stuff is pure magic. It smells great and makes my beard so soft.
Follow Will on Instagram @suckafreewillieb.