Sage Advice from Your Seniors

TAMS may seem like a daunting experience for incoming juniors. You’re going to live far from home. You’re going to meet all new people. You’re going to study more than you ever have before. Never fear. We have collected some sage advice from your seniors to help you succeed. Class of 2016, we look forward to meeting you all!  [tabs tab1=”Academics” tab2=”Friends” tab3=”Roommates” tab4=”Extracurriculars” tab5=”Research”] [tab] Achieving academic excellence is probably the biggest fear for any incoming junior. Contrary to popular belief, great grades are certainly achievable for everyone.

“The reality is that if you put at least a little bit of effort everyday for your classes and practice good time management, you will already be on the pathway to success,” says Lucille Tang.

Terrance Alexander offers some specific advice. “Stress out and study hard only for the first two tests in each subject. After you get the momentum of the game, you can relax since you’ll know how the tests are formatted. Also, don’t hesitate to ask questions and get help. Your professors are being paid to teach this stuff to you, so LEARN it!” he urges.

“Students often go to the library, BLB, and environmental science building to find quiet places where they can review over notes, finish homework, and study with friends. I personally have a “secret spot” at the library where I spend chunks of my time before major tests,” says Cecilia Zhou. “Keeping a to-do list is essential to doing well: procrastination is your worst enemy. Make sure to take advantage of the great number of academic resources that TAMS has to offer: go to office hours to clear up any questions, visit the Math Lab and Chemistry Lab (free tutoring by UNT students who major in the subject) for additional help.”

Minkang Shon says, “I feared I would actually fail out of TAMS because it will be hard to maintain grades. Be confident with yourself and manage your time very well because there are distractions everywhere. Be smart with your choices.”

“Play hard, study harder,” Chris Shen succinctly states.

For many, biology is the quintessential “scary” TAMS course. It is probably everyone’s most time-consuming class. However, most students do very well.

Caroline Zhu offers up some advice for acing your biology exams. “Pace yourselves with the chapters and give yourselves plenty of time to work through each one,” she says.

Anushree Agrawal continues, “Some people think no one gets an A in bio. That’s false. Just don’t procrastinate.”

[/tab] [tab] Maybe your three best friends since 4th grade are coming to TAMS with you. Maybe you’re the first person from your school to ever come here. Regardless, you will have no problem making and maintaining friendships.

Nina Kupra asserts, “Just talk to a bunch of people, anybody you see especially in the first couple of weeks. It’s not awkward to ask people their name!”

“I feared that I wouldn’t be able to fit in, but everyone fits somewhere,” adds Youkang Shon. “I advise the juniors to be active and not to stay in the dorms all day. Participate in a lot of events to find the group of friends that you belong to.”

“Living far from home isn’t a big deal honestly. It’s just like having an oversized family in the dorms,” says Laura Pang. “Keep in touch with your old friends, but always reach out to your new ones too. In one year of TAMS I made more meaningful bonds than with most of my high school friends.”

Louisa Xie assures, “It’s ridiculously easy to make friends. Just talk to everyone and anyone.”

Make sure to spend time with people who will positively influence you; a large part of your TAMS experience will depend on the people you choose to interact with,” warns Cecilia Zhou.

[/tab] [tab] You may know your roommate from your old high school. You may have met him/her during Summer O. There’s even a chance you don’t know who he/she is yet. That’s all okay. Living with another person can be daunting-whether you knew him/her before TAMS or not-but it almost always works out.

”I know I was pretty scared about living with a roommate in such close quarters, and I thought we might fight a lot or not get along. But I loved it, and a lot of other people learned to love it. And if you don’t love it, you’ll be able to live with it,” assures Brittney Thornton. [/tab] [tab]

It’s a myth that TAMSters study nonstop and never have any fun. Academics are indeed a large part of our lives, but everyone has some time for enjoyable activities. TAMS offers a wide breadth of clubs and organizations that cater to almost any interest.

Tiffany Jiang, an avid flautist and exec for Dull Roar, manages to keep up with her music here. She says, “It is easy to get carried away with the TAMS hustle-and-bustle. Not all your students will appreciate what you do. So long as you plan ahead, you can continue your musical pursuits with lots of fun. There’s an incredibly supportive music community at TAMS and (obviously) UNT. It’s up to you to keep dedicated; we’re here to support you every step of the way!”

“Don’t be afraid to try something that is new to you–for example, I was not particularly interested in engineering or robotics when I came to TAMS, so I never thought that JETS (Junior Engineering Technical Society) would be “for me”. However, after I joined, I realized how much I really loved doing the science demos and other activities within JETS. You don’t have to stick to things that you’re completely used to; go out and try new things!” advises Michelle Yang. [/tab] [tab]

Participating in research is perhaps the biggest mystery for incoming TAMS students. However, it isn’t hard to find a professor to work with. Many students consider research to be incredibly rewarding and often qualify for the Texas state science fair and even ISEF.

Salma Elkhaoudi offers some sage advice for getting a research position you enjoy. “I think that with research, the best thing to do is to just dive in. Find that professor you want, do an hour of reading on his research and publications, throw to gather a quick resume, and just send a frank email letting them know you’re interested in working specifically with them. Professors like to feel important,” she says. “As soon as you have the email ready, send it out and wait for like 2 or 3 days. If you really want to research with them, drop by their office during office hours and introduce yourself again. If not, redo the process with a different professor. The important thing to remember is don’t get discouraged and don’t overestimate yourself. If you have the time, research away. If you don’t, pace yourself. Take it easy. And remember to have fun!”

“Since I never participated in research prior to TAMS I thought I wouldn’t stand a chance against the more experienced students. But in the end, passion for my project brought me success,” says Jae Sohn.

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