I have now finished my first semester at TAMS! Time goes by quickly 🙂 I felt like it was just yesterday that I was sitting in a lecture hall for the first time, ready to listen to a lecture about chemistry. I was wondering who this cat-loving Dr. Marty Schwartz was and what he looked like. Or even my calculus professor Dr. Kallman (man that was a surprise lol).
This semester, I began an exciting journey as a high school student in college. Living in a dorm has so far been the most momentous change of my life. Getting acclimated to college life was actually surprisingly easy and quite enjoyable.
Academics at TAMS are actually quite rigorous, but this is compensated with less class time and more time to relax and do homework. I believe that I have learned a lot more in my calculus class than if I had stayed at my former high school. The rigor of college classes, even at UNT, is quite appeasing to high schoolers like us TAMSters, and I enjoy the experience in hindsight. My favorite part: there’s no “block” schedule to follow. Next semester, I can wake up on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 9:30am, grab a quick bite, and walk about 500m to my 10am Calculus II class. (Unfortunately, my English professor was only able to teach an 8am Tuesday/Thursday section, so I’m sticking with her in exchange for less sleep on Monday and Wednesday nights.)
Because of the, umm, academic reputation of UNT students, the grading system is simply a letter grade, which is super easy. There is no plus/minus system. Coming from McKinney ISD, where each and every single point mattered towards counting my weighted GPA, the letter grade system puts significantly less stress on me. I can get a low A and not feel bad about it. It wouldn’t have made a difference if I got a 90 or a 100 in a class. In fact, I am expecting all A’s, which means a 4.0 GPA. Apparently, that’s not very common at UNT 🙄. (Granted, our unweighted GPA was also on this system, but our weighted GPA was NOT and resulted in lots of stress.)
In terms of student life, I am truly amazed at the sheer enthusiasm of all of the clubs and organizations here. All of the clubs have passionate officers who truly believe in their cause. Additionally, I have had a blast volunteering at all of the amazing opportunities that TAMS offers. Vans drop us off and pick us up at our volunteering locations. There are even opportunities to volunteer within TAMS or UNT. The free time that we have during the day allows for us to use that time for good and I truly do appreciate this. (I’ve racked up a lot of volunteer hours, but I really didn’t do it for hours—I volunteered at each and every venue because I felt it would be fun. Seriously. I’m not BSing this.)
Furthermore, TAMS is full of amazing people that I am so happy to have met and gotten to known better. I’m so happy to know like-minded individuals to go to class together with, to study with, to do activities with, and to be friends with. With the fact that TAMS sets us in a college environment, we get to bond more than just in class. We also get to stay in one dorm, eat at the questionable cafeteria next door, and have fun whenever we want. (I know two people who took showers together at 3am until that was banned a month or two ago. Yes, it goes deep.)
All of this being said, I still miss my friends back at Boyd and my family at home. I am hoping winter break will be a good time to catch up; not to mention I’ll have two extra weeks of winter break!! Omg I’m so happy! Just kidding, I’m going to have to use it for SAT and ACT studying. Hooray?
But seriously though, it was a very difficult decision to leave my friends and family for college. Do I regret it? No. Would I have regretted staying? No. To be honest, I think each path of life would have its benefits and drawbacks. Unfortunately, I can’t have it all. With that being said, I want to focus on my choice and try my best to stay in touch with my former school, because I still care about both sides. Hoping for a great spring semester!