With the new year ready to kick off, lots of the focus will be on the juniors. Fall orientation, first day of Crossley, first day of Schwartz/Acree, you name it. All these important life events define the junior TAMS experience. But what about us seniors? Don’t we have some important life events, too? Nah, applying to college isn’t that big of a deal…
Here, the Class of 2016’s Randy Michnovicz has offered up some advice from his own senior experience. I hope you walk away feeling enlightened about “that other year” at TAMS.
I hope I don’t sound pretentious, it’s just a bunch of stuff I learned the harder way :p
General Senior Year and Exec Tips
- Cars are a blessing and a curse
- Just kidding, cars are amazing
- Parking Permits
- Parking on Oak and Hickory is FREEEEE (although not as well lit)
- All the free parking and decent G parking fills up during the day on weekdays, so if you use your car during normal school hours, you might find yourself parking in Denton, at Victory, Near IHOP, or in the parking garage if you don’t have an R permit
- The parking lot on the Southwest corner of Hickory and North Texas Blvd always has open spots (this).The walk to McConnell is the same distance as Cury Hall, so it’s not too bad.
- UNT parking tickets are always cheaper than getting towed from an apartment complex, but even when in a hurry, always avoid A lots, HD spots, and service vehicle spots.
- Beg and plead your parents to let you have a car and an R permit if you value your freedom
- Help kids and clubs in need by driving them when van reservations get messed up (pretty often)
- See http://transportation.unt.edu/permitRates.html for all the parking info you could want
- Meet your new best friend, Ben today! Ben will invites YOU to walk in his office like you own the place, maybe knocking first if the door’s closed and he’s not talking with someone. Same for Kade in Conference.
- You’ll probably end up talking to Ben if you want to do anything with your club besides buying cheap toys and junk food from Wal-Mart.
- There’s three times in the week that matter in at TAMS: 12 PM (noon) on Monday is purchase request deadline, 12 PM Wednesday is when you’re supposed to have van requests, and the 3:30 PM staff meeting is where they pass out all the wing announcements and decide the drivings for the following weekend.
- Most of TAMS policy on club stuff isn’t actually written, so keep tabs with admins on what you’re doing to avoid conflicts. You can expect some confrontations logistics planning with admin if you do anything involving kids missing classes and they don’t know who exactly is coming a well in advance.
- Make sure kids have academic approval to miss classes for competitions before you turn in their money for that competition.
- Ask recent alumni about Dr. Duban (the research competitions admin) if you need him.
- Sharon Vann’s walk-in office hours are MTThF 1-3 PM, but you can walk in at other times and she’ll often be able to help you.
- You can ask Sam and Wendy for help, too.
- (I wrote this like 3 months ago sorry) What’s easy to start before August 1st are the ApplyTexas Essays and the Common App main essay. Last year, you had to do all 3 ApplyTexas essays if you applied to both UT and Texas A&M. You only have to choose 1 of the common app essay prompts, and 85% of institutions believe the common app essay prompts “should be interpreted broadly.” (Source: a blog post with last year’s prompts: https://blog.commonapp.org/2015/03/31/2015-2016-essay-prompts/) ApplyTexas essays can be really long (but going over 1000 words will probably annoy admissions officers), while the Common App essay is 650 words.
- Apply to UT and Texas A&M in or before the first few days of October. TAMU engineering is heavily skewed in favor of the first apps that come in: according the an academic counselor at an on-campus visit last year, TAMU admits automatically get into engineering until it’s at 85% capacity, then the rest of engineering applications are held back until December when they choose applicants to fill the final 15%.
- Ask teachers for recommendations early, and make sure you know which email they use with Common App (this matters for Sharon Vann and Brand) so you can invite them soon after they say yes
- The UNT writing lab is a really chill room, and about half of the people working there are talented at correcting essays. Don’t be too surprised if your first experience is a little disappointing; do make sure you come in with specific questions. You can ask them to help you start an essay, but I never did that, I just asked for corrections and other help. The best people there are definitely the cute guys.
- For UT, make sure you’ve taken 2 years of a foreign language or have credits for 2 semesters at UNT. If not, get studying for that placement test!
- Ask seniors that actually got into private schools questions about those lol
Running a club/committee:
- Every single volunteer event I’ve ever been to has had kids flake within 24 hours of the event. Providing a way to bail and a way for to people to replace them (“Comment here to flake, reply to their comment to replace them!”) worked pretty well the one time I tried it.
- If your volunteering operation can go somewhere, but you can’t personally, you can just have a friend or junior lead it.
- 18+ events generally don’t go too well lol
- Having “mandatory” GAs for anything besides competitions is pretty rude, imo. Juniors have to budget their time a lot already, and some are struggling hard. Just make a half-decent powerpoint and post it online.
- Know when Bio and Chem tests are, maybe make a calendar with other club’s major events, and schedule stuff around them.
- If a junior approaches you about wanting to do something with your club, just make a committee for them to do that thing. There are no TAMS rules about making committees; just let juniors live out their ambitions, and don’t worry that they might decide it’s not worth it. You can invite them to exec meetings (esp. if they want money) or give them your password to the calendar if you trust them at all.
- You can give your club funds to other clubs. There’s probably someone that needs it more than you if you’re going to spend your money on food GAs.
- For music at events and dances, you want songs kids know, not songs that are good. I recommend you spend a bit of time throwing together a Spotify playlist modeled off this with a few ultra-popular Bollywood songs thrown in: https://play.spotify.com/user/121410021/playlist/4FO2WXjS922s0RheaTYPZK
- If it’s a senior heavy event, you know most kids have heard Dhoom Again, Sheila Ki Jawani, Desi Girl, and It G Ma.
- If everyone on your exec board installs Facebook Messenger, you may get answers to your questions quickly.
- If you take TAs for classes (2 out of 3 of the TAs I had were better than the “normal” TAMS professors, the third was still decent, but others have had bad experiences), know when the other sections are and be ready to switch if your TA is terrible.
- For Physics, Lin has fantastic powerpoints, especially if you can find someone with the answers to the questions.
- On Physics lab practice quizes, you can skip to the end starting on the second question by changing the “&question_num_2” in the URL to “&question_num_40”. This way, you can just see the answers without clicking through all 40 questions.