Brand new to McConnell Hall this year, Dallas-native Anjulie Van Sickle has made a quite smooth transition, and she can relate to our unique situation at TAMS more than you may have thought.
“I was homeschooled until junior year when I went to a community college down the road from me,” she says. “I took classes full-time. It’s what y’all are doing, essentially.”
Despite starting college two years early, Anjulie was never sure what career she wanted to pursue. “I changed [my mind] a lot,” she reminisces. “I started off wanting to be a creation scientist, but then I realized I didn’t like science. Then I wanted to be an architect, but I realized I didn’t like math or drawing, so that was a problem too,” she laughs. After several more shifts in career aspirations, she decided to become an English professor. “I had my whole life planned out: I wanted to go to UNT, major in English, get my masters, then go teach at a community college, then a university.”
Before long, her plan changed again. “I started working for The Etcetera, the paper at Eastfield College, and fell in love with journalism. I ran it for a year and moved up from staff writer to opinion writer to managing editor,” she recounts.
After transferring from Eastfield, Anjulie began her journey at UNT. She tested out both English and journalism and finally switched her major to technical communications. “It’s a lot of grammar and writing and editing and page design, which is really fun. I really enjoy page design,” she says.
Regardless of her major, Anjulie already knows that she will be trying out all of her interests at some point in her life. “I’ve decided that I don’t want to do anything for more than five years because I have a very short attention span. I think if I had one career for my entire life I would get really bored and just get tired of it,” she asserts. “So I’m keeping a running tab of all the things I want to do, and it keeps expanding.” For instance, Anjulie want to create a children’s book, be a writer for a small town newspaper, become a teacher, do magazines, and write a novel.
She explains her experience so far, regarding her many passions. “Coming to college I’ve realized how much I don’t know, which is pretty fun. Growing up I always thought I was a pretty smart kid, and now coming to college, there’s so much to learn! And [I’m] realizing that there’s not just one thing to do, because everyone’s like ‘what do you want to do when you’re done with school?’ I have no idea, and I’m okay with that, which I never would have said 4 years ago. I had to have everything planned out, down to the month; it was intense. This is a lot more fun.”
As far as finding her way to TAMS, it was a long and emotional process. Anjulie lived in West Hall her first year here and randomly decided to take a position in the hall association. “I was secretary my first semester and president my second semester,” she says. “I fell in love with housing and got pretty close to the small staff at West.”
She decided to try for an RA position and applied during her second semester of freshman year. “I was [expecting] to get a position at West. When the day came that the halls picked people, I didn’t get anyone. I didn’t get a job at all,” she recounts. “It was really hard – really crushing.”
However, that afternoon she received a call from TAMS. “It was weird. I was really confused because I was expecting a call from a hall but I was getting another interview. Then I realized I didn’t get hired and that’s why TAMS was calling,” she reflects. “[The other halls choose RAs before TAMS], and my hall director at the time gave my name to Josh, the current hall director here,” Anjulie explains.
“I ended up coming here for an interview the next week. It went really well, and I enjoyed it. A couple days later I got the call offering me a position here, so I took it. I was kind of nervous about it, like ‘I don’t know anything about this place, there’s a huge staff, what am I going to do?’” she says.
“And it turns out that this was the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”
Anjulie explains that the camaraderie and the social side of TAMS makes her job truly rewarding. “I like being able to talk about other people’s problems; I like taking on their burdens. That’s always brought me a lot of joy,” she explains earnestly. TAMS is the perfect dorm for her, as the staff are really able to bond with their residents. “I don’t know what I would do at any other hall, even West. Here you get to know people and at the other halls you don’t. It’s very impersonal [over there], and that would kill me,” she says.
As for the TAMS staff, Anjulie has nothing but kind words. “They’re just impeccable. We’re a special kind of staff: we’re all really cool and we all get along.”
When asked what advice she has for the TAMS student body, Anjulie reflects for a while before answering. “Don’t take life so seriously,” she replies thoughtfully. “Have fun aspirations and crazy dreams that may not come true. If you want to write a children’s book or travel somewhere, do that. I think you should take the chances you are given and make the most out of them.”
It’s safe to say that Anjulie has fallen in love with her new job here at TAMS. “I mean, I didn’t want TAMS and now here I am never wanting to leave. It’s the best thing ever; it’s so fun. I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” she gushes.
“I go back to West and it’s just a building. McConnell is my home.”