Goodbye to Staff -Humans of TAMS Special Edition

This year, TAMS is saying bye to seven amazing staff members. The RAs, PAs, front desk clerks, and hall directors all contribute to making TAMS a more welcoming, inclusive, and amazing place- they are our TAMS moms, our mentors, our guardians, and our friends. Although seven of them are moving on from their time in McConnell Hall, we’ll always remember them, and ION wanted to create this special edition of Humans of TAMS to commemorate their time with us.

Why did you get a job at McConnell? How did you hear about it? What were your initial thoughts about getting a job at McConnell/the TAMS dormitory?

“I had just graduated with my bachelor of arts in creative writing, and I had moved into a friend of a friend’s attic, making rent by waiting tables, with no idea what to do. The woman whose family owned the house I was living in at the time was a front desk clerk at McConnell, who was leaving to have a baby. Since I graduated from the Texas Academy of Leadership in the Humanities, a sort of sister school to TAMS, I knew a bit about the program, and with her recommendation, I went ahead and applied.”-Carol

***

“The reason I became an RA in the first place was because I had a mission when I began college that I didn’t want to put more of a financial burden on my parents then there already was. They had just finished paying for my sister to go to UT Austin. I became an RA for the housing payments. When combined with the scholarships that I got I am thankfully graduating debt free from college. I am very happy about that. That is the main reason I became an RA, also I loved programming and that was one of the fun things that I got to do when I was part of a hall association. I was just happy that I was chosen for a job. I interviewed at a lot of different halls and McConnell chose me and I was very happy about it. I was kind of excited to work with high schoolers just because I miss my siblings very much and they are much younger than me. I was searching for a kind of placebo effect to fill that up. But the main point is that I was very excited.”-Saul

***

“My friend Hannah used to work here and I came to visit a lot. I thought you guys were a pretty funny group of people. One time I came and they were doing a Thanksgiving dinner and this girl walked banana pudding down the stairs and wasn’t holding it from the bottom and she dropped it and it exploded all over the stairs and it just smelled like bananas. I thought it was the funniest thing. I was like ‘These kids are little idiot geniuses and I want to know more of them. I was pumped! I was excited! I had only applied to McConnell. I only wanted to work here. People who are older than me stress me out and I couldn’t be in charge of people who are older than me. Where is a place guaranteed that no one is older than me? And it was here. Also you guys have no sense of how old anyone is people thought I was like 25…no. I was 19 when I started working here so I was like not very old.”-Savanna

***

“I wanted to be an RA just so that I could get that feel of what it’s like to create an positive environment for others. When I found out about TAMS I just thought it was really cool because I want to be teacher, so living with younger students and hanging with them prior to me going off and becoming a history teacher would be a great experience. I wanted to be an RA anyways but when I got the interivew to be a TAMS RA, I just really loved the environment. Prior to actually going into the interview, when I listed off the places that I wanted to possibly work like Victory and Kerr Hall, I had no idea where McConnell was to begin with. Alot of people were like ‘thats where the TAMS kids are, you’re gonna have to do room checks and all this other stuff’, and I was kind of hesitant and nervous because of all negativity I was hearing from other people. I remember thinking, ‘do I really want to work here?’. But once I got into that interview, I just thought that this was a cool spot to be. And all those rules and requirements like room checks, well that when you really get to know your students. And the drivings, well sometimes they’re a pain but, I mean, you’re helping kids help other people whenever you drop them off at volunteering. So at the end of the day it’s a good feeling.”-Manny

***

“I actually didn’t know about McConnell until I got a job here. I applied overall to be an RA and got a job here and that’s when I found out about everything. And it was great.”-Erica

***

“I applied to be an RA in main housing because my dad was an RA and he was a hall director in college. And so he was like, “it’s really fun! Also, you get a huge discount” and I don’t have to pay a lot of money, so I was like, “hmm, pretty cool.” I applied through main housing, but I didn’t know what TAMS was because in the main housing application you just apply and then it says at the very bottom, “do you want to be considered for TAMS?” I was like, “I don’t know what that is,” so I didn’t check off the box. I applied for a lot of different places and I guess someone had approached Josh, who was the hall director [of McConnell] at that time, and had said, “I think Sydney would do really well here [in TAMS].” So they called me and they were like, “Do you want to work at TAMS?” and I said, “Yes! Also, what is TAMS.?” Because you have to say ‘yes’ to whatever job you get and then you can transfer, but I was like, “Yes!” Once I found out [about TAMS] and came here to be interviewed, it was very fun. My sister is y’alls age. She’s a senior right now in high school, so I kind of was like, a little relieved I guess. I was looking more forward to it because I was nervous about interacting with normal college students because I don’t want to doc’ them for stuff. I think that would be weird. Or they don’t want to talk to me and so that’ll be weird, but “Okay, Dad I’ll apply to this job.” When I found out that you guys are high schoolers – juniors and seniors – and that there are all of these clubs and it was kind of like this mini high school, I was like, “okay cool. I just came from that. I know what this is.” So I was very excited about it.”-Sydney

***

“I first applied to housing to be an RA overall and during the interview process, we went around and talked to the hall directors. When I talked to the hall director for McConnell at the time, he explained all about the TAMS program, which I had never heard about before. I ended up researching TAMS more and just falling in love with it. When I got hired, I was really excited. “-Ash

What did you think of the job/TAMS residency life when you first started?

“I was twenty when I first started working at TAMS, and all of the RAs that year were older than me. Because I was still so young myself, I worried that the students would think I was mean if I told them they were too loud in the lobby or if I was assertive in anyway. It was a bit of a clunky start because of my age and lack of experience, but I ended up learning a lot of important skills.”-Carol

***

“I knew it was going to be interesting the second I went to Summer O because, if I remember correctly it was either Jewon or David and I remember talking to them and I was blown away at the fact that I could talk to them at my own level, yet they were so young. I remember our small groups where we had to read the mindset book. That was interesting because I knew nobody read it. And honestly I hadn’t really read it either. It was a lot of fun to be able to meet that and I knew that it was going to be interesting and it was going to be something that definitely impacted me.”-Saul

***

“I thought that you guys were crazy, but it was so fun. It’s still so fun. You guys teach me stuff everyday and hopefully I teach you guys stuff too.”-Savanna

***

“There were actually a lot of new RAs that came in with me–for the guy RAs, there were only two that had been here the semester before. So all of us were new, but that helped us get closer and by the time TAMS started we were all joking around like friends. At summer orientation there was this one senior TAMS student, Tre Stewart, and he seemed very outgoing and very fun. I scared him so bad on the first day I was here, because he was walking around and he wasn’t paying attention so I made it seem like he hit my shoulder and I fell down and I overreacted as if he had hurt me. He got so scared, because he knew that I was an RA and he was like ‘Oh my gosh!!’. He completely freaked out, but then I started laughing so hard and he realized that I was messing with him. I remember thinking, ‘this is going to be fun, I can joke around with the TAMS kids like they’re my friends’, and at that point I realized that this was definitely a place I wanted to be at.”-Manny

***

“That was so long ago… I started in 2014. Well, because I had the whole negative connotation of TAMS in the beginning, because of the other people and what they had told me, I obviously kind of created a negative opinion about it without getting to know it. Before I started the job, I came for a staff meeting. It was their last staff meeting, and everyone was so welcoming and so nice and so sweet. And I got home and I was like ‘you know what? I’m ready for this.’ It’s nothing like they’re saying and so I got it and here I am.”-Erica

***

“I was surprised that you guys didn’t sleep a lot. I was surprised about how many things you guys didn’t know about. I had a resident one time who wanted to warm up a piece of bread just to have warm bread and put it in the microwave for two minutes. It caught on fire, so just like little things. But then you guys know organic chemistry and stuff. I definitely stayed up way later my first semester I had juniors and I was like, “This is cool. We’re like all staying up together and doing homework.” And then I was like, “never again” after that. You guys are very good at staying up late.”-Sydney

***

“I felt very overwhelmed because it was my first time in a position like this. I had juniors though, so we were learning about TAMS together and growing together, which was super awesome.”-Ash

What are some things you enjoyed doing/experiencing as a McConnell staff member?

“The best part of working here is the dialogue that occurs. I’m always at the center, the hub of the building, and that means I’m always having deep conversations with students and other staff. I really getting to engage my own mind while helping others engage theirs.”-Carol

***

“Watching everyone grow up and mature. Watching David Terry turn from a real life golden retriever into the great young man that he is today. Watching Eric Zhu come out of his shell and become this meme lord that I enjoy working with every single day. Just watching everyone grow up is one of my favorite experiences about TAMS. Getting to talk to everyone and getting to meet new people. That is one of the things that I think was extremely unique and fascinating about the McConnell experience.”-Saul

***

“I really liked room checks and I would tell a joke every night when I was an RA and now I am a PA so I don’t do that as much. But I am still just as funny so it all works out. I just like hanging out with everyone. I love being able to go downstairs and there are people around and they are like ‘oh what are you doing?’ I like to talk a lot.”-Savanna

***

“I like the events that we have here, and I love seeing all these kids showcase their talents. When I see my residents performing I think like ‘wow they’re so great’ and its like ‘gosh, the only times I see you guys is at 11:00 sometimes, and you’re all half asleep or doing homework assignments that are due at midnight, and so when they’re actually out there doing what they love, it makes me happy. I like seeing them when they’re happy and expressing themselves–I know that they have so much work with those math and science courses, and when you see them out there being happy and free, it’s so great to see. That’s one of the things I love about TAMS, just seeing these kids express themselves whether it’s with the concerts for Dull Roar, or the the art auction, its like ‘wow, these kids are very talented, and its just amazing to see them grow. Or when it’s at SLAMT and you see them all get hyped…those are the things I enjoy the most as a staff member here.”-Manny

***

“Actually it’s really fun to tell people that I’m a TAMS RA. Some of the things that got me really excited when I found about TAMS when I was getting interviewed were that you guys had Prom and Homecoming and Senior day and all that stuff. There are a lot of things in high school that I didn’t really get to enjoy. For instance, prom. I missed it because, I, like you guys are known for, being a geek in high school. So I was at a competition and prom was the same weekend, so I missed it. It was really exciting to me to know that I had a chance to kinda redo it, from a different perspective. That was really nice. Also, the connection that I have with my residents, and not only my current residents, but my former residents, is just so awesome. I feel like a lot of them look up to me and that’s really awesome to have someone younger than you looking up to you. And I don’t know, it’s a really cool connection. It’s kind of undescribable but it’s awesome, and I love it. I think that’s probably what I’m going to miss the most.”-Erica

***

“I like going to programs where I see you guys doing things that aren’t math and science. I really like going to all the coffee houses and the art auction is my favorite program of the whole year. I just think it’s so cool to see all of the other talents you guys have because I’m proud of all of your Siemens Awards and National Honors everything, but it makes me happy to see you guys enjoy other things outside of that too.”-Sydney

***

“My favorite thing has been getting to connect with the students and learn more about them.”-Ash

What are some things that you had to do as a TAMS staff member that were difficult?

“I actually find it really hard to dock students for PDA because it’s awkward. On a more serious note, it’s hard to say goodbye. There’s a fast turnover of both students and staff, and you get so close to them, in a very camp-like way, but all too quickly, everyone is moving on. Every year, I go through a grieving process as people I’ve become close to leave.’-Carol

***

“During the housing process there is a question that they ask at every single hall, but at this hall it means a little bit more. And the question is ‘Would you rather be well liked or respected?’ Everyone always goes for respected, but in reality all of our answers are that we want to be well liked. And for me one of the difficult things being a staff member was having that line of separation between well liked and respected. I had to be constant with it. I had to be resolute in the fact that if I was going to doc someone I was going to doc them for this reason and this reason and I was going to stick to that. I was going to hold everyone to the same level. I think one of the tough things about that was that in the end you want to be friends with your residents. You want them to be comfortable with you and joke with you and come to you if they have any problems. And having to hold that line of upholding policy and making sure that everyone is treated fairly. It hasn’t escaped me that I have been labeled the strict RA. I feel that it is accurate, yes. But I do it for a reason and the hardest thing was staying resolute in that fact. As much as I wanted to let people go and be the fun RA, but I think that in the long run having someone in your life that is like that really helps out in the end.”-Saul

***

“Contrary to popular belief, RAs and PAs do not like to document people. It really isn’t very fun at all, and you guys go through so much. I forget how much teeenagers feel all the time and you guys remind me and sometimes that is hard to have to be like ‘It’s ok. It’s going to be ok.’”-Savanna

***

“Last year I had a really crazy wing full of seniors, and just some of the stuff they said was funny, but as an RA you can’t laugh at it because of your position as a staff member. So having to be serious at times and knowing when to be serious and knowing when to joking around has always been the difficult part. You know you have to follow procedure or else everyone would go wild over here. Even when you know that your students are going through hard times, you still have to say, ‘hey, I know that you’re going through some hard stuff but you’re breaking the rules’, and that kind of thing is always difficult. You have to understand your students and what they’re going through, but also still be able to follow the rules and procedures–that part is always difficult for RAs to do. But that’s really the only hard part, room checks and stuff are cool and you get to talk to your residents and its usually pretty fun.”-Manny

***

“You know those vans out there? They’re very big and I’m very small. When I did my first driving I was freaking out and I was super scared. And then all these students came in the van and I’m like ok, well, it’s not just my life, it’s everyone else’s life. Ok I got it, the big tunnels freaked me out. And then I went to go pick them up. When I parked the van and everyone was getting out I was like ‘guys, just want to let you know, this was my first time ever driving a big van, well, I mean after training and stuff, with everyone inside.’ And they were like ‘Oh Erica you did good!’ and that was really nice to hear.”-Erica

***

“Knowing people personally, so if they’re going through something hard in their personal life or if you kind of see them going through a rough patch with school. Other RAs have a responsibility to help their residents out too, but I just feel like it’s hard to see you guys go through that and it’s hard to give advice because sometimes you want to take it from your RA and sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you’re like, you don’t know anything about this and I don’t want to come from this place of, “Listen, me as an old wise, four years older person,” but I do want to help you guys through that type of stuff. I guess as far as resident stuff, it’s hard to… Know you guys personally and see you guys go through a lot of personal stuff. One thing I do like about TAMS, is that even room checks, even at 11 pm when I don’t want to get out of bed – which is my fault, I shouldn’t be laying in bed ready to sleep at 10:58, but once I get up and realize that this is a really cool opportunity. I get to talk to them every night and that if there is something they want to talk to me be about, very often they will bring it up then. When at another hall, they would have to catch me in the hallway or at Bruce or something. It’s kind of weird.”-Sydney

***

“One thing I found difficult at first was managing my life in McConnell, this new job with new coworkers and responsibilities, with my own academics and personal life. Overall, the thing I found most difficult consistently was going to bed so late—I like to sleep around 10pm and staying up for room checks really throws off my daily schedule. It’s definitely worth it though.”-Ash

What are some things you think you’ll miss when you graduate and leave McConnell?

“I’ll miss the familiarity of it all. I’ve made so many memories here, like meeting my husband for the first time, and I know that if I come back, it won’t be the same.”-Carol

***

“The community. TAMS has taken up a huge majority of my collegiate career and it has come to the fact that I know every inch of this building. I could walk it backwards and forwards, and blindfolded. I think the difficult part about it is understanding that it is time to move on. It is time to carry on and move on to bigger and better things, a new chapter. But I will definitely miss the community, the people, my old residents, and my new residents. That is absolutely going to be the most difficult part.”-Saul

***

“I have said multiple times that I don’t think I will ever work in a place like this ever again. It just won’t be the same. I will miss coming down to the desk and listening to Beyonce with Derek, or saying hi to Aparna, or eating baked goods for the fundraiser of the day.”-Savanna

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“I’m going to miss my fellow staff members. When you work together and deal with situations together you grow tight and you make good friends. Its not like they’re just my co-workers, its like they’re my best friends kinda thing, so I’m definitely going to miss that. And of course I’m going to miss all of these students, this is my second year where I’m just seeing them all leave and its so tough, because this time I’m leaving with them. Seeing them grow as people has been amazing. When they come in as little juniors and they’re all quiet, and by the time they’re seniors they’re the ones you have to go tell everytime ‘hey, its quiet hours, be quiet’. It’s stuff like that that I’ll miss, just seeing all these kids grow from what they were junior year to what they are now. And with my staff members, we’ve gone through some stuff together and we made it through together, so I’m gonna miss those two things the most. We’ve always got eachother’s back and try to help eachother out, like whenever an RA is going through tough life situations we all get together and just try to help. Its stuff like that that has allowed us to become close.”-Manny

***

“I think I will miss my residents the most. I know this is weird, but I think I’m gonna miss room checks a lot. I have complained multiple times about room checks just like many RA’s have because sometimes you’re doing something or you just want to go to bed early or sometimes you want to go out and not do room checks. But honestly, I love the fact that I get to see your faces every day and I love the fact that I get to hear about your days and just act crazy some nights just because my crazy energy. I think it’s just awesome to have that connection and I will miss that the most. My mom actually told me ‘yeah, you’re gonna miss your girls so much’ and I was like ‘no I’ll be fine’ and now I’m thinking about it and I’m like yes, you were right mom. So I think that’s what I’m going to miss the most, my girls, my residents. Also the cool events we have here and the opportunities. Maybe the staff. Yeah, I’ll miss the staff as well. You live with them so you have complete different relationship with some staff members as opposed to a different job, like an office job. In an office job, you each go your separate ways after 5 o’clock. Here, at 2 in the morning, you have deep conversations about potatoes in the den. Sometimes I walk in and people are having this deep conversation about life and I just join in and I’m like ‘ok let’s do this.’ Yeah it’s awesome, it’s great, I love it.”-Erica

***

“The lobby area is one thing that a lot of RAs who leave are always like, “ugh, get me out of here this place is nuts!” Which it is, but then when they leave they’re like, “listen, it’s weird going to an apartment and pretty much being by yourself. You don’t know anyone there and there is no lobby for you to be like, ‘I’m done with my homework, it’s 10 o’clock and I’m going to go chill someone will be there for me to talk to.’” The den we have for the RAs, literally at any point, there’s someone there – you could just go. There’s usually food. You could just do your homework back there. Having that option of just hanging out whenever you want. I think the living situation will be different. I was realizing the other day that I kind of like driving you guys around, but I think I maybe had my last one. I think it’s fun, but I won’t say that if I’m stuck in traffic.”-Sydney

***

“Of course, I’ll miss the students. Nightly room checks build a connection that doesn’t really exist for other RAs.”-Ash

Do you have any funny and/or memorable stories about your time here as staff that you’d like to share?

“There’s the banana pudding story. Academy Players was doing a bake sale, and one of the students had a made a gigantic pan of banana pudding with vanilla wafers and the whole nine yards. Well he put it in one of the bendable aluminum pans and tried to come down the stairs with it. Naturally, like any comical event, he slipped and the two sides of the pan slapped together, spraying banana pudding everywhere. The stairwell smelled like banana pudding for a solid month afterward, and we had to leave some on the ceiling because we couldn’t reach it.”-Carol

***

“My favorite story, this one I just really love to share. And they know who they are, I’m sure everyone knows who they are. I walked into their room and the resident was leaning on their arm off to the side talking to me. I remember their roommate saying that them leaning on their arm was the only arm workout they had done all day. I was like ‘Yeah I can tell.’ That resident gets up and walks over to me and is just like, ‘What Saul? What? You think I don’t lift?’ And I said ‘I know you don’t lift. And they were like ‘Bet.’ I said ‘Ok. So you are going to arm wrestle me at wing meeting. And he was like yeah. He held out his hand for me to shake it and so that he couldn’t take it back I kind of lashed out real quick and shook it and was like ‘Ok it’s done, we are doing this.’ It was the entire fact that he got up in my face to do it was just so extra. It is one of my favorite stories to tell.”-Saul

***

“I think it has been about a year now, but one of the first nights of my second year working here, the new junior class, the class of 2017 that just graduated. A large portion of them were in the Mac cafe and I could hear this chanting ‘EAT IT! EAT IT! EAT IT!’ And I said oh no. Nothing ends well with that phrase in front of it. So I walked in and they were playing this game that they later told me was ‘Baby Bird’ and apparently it was some sort of card game and it involved the winner chewing up corn chips and spitting them into the loser’s mouth. I shrieked and went ‘NO!’ And the kids didn’t realize who I was because I looked young. Because I am short and have good skin. So I walked to the lights of Mac Cafe and I flicked them on and off. Everyone turned around and looked at me. I said, ‘I don’t know what you are doing, but I know it is inappropriate so you guys can all calm down and leave, or stay and continue to be respectful, or I will document every single one of you and shutdown Mac Cafe.’ And they were all like ‘Uhhhhhhhhh’ and I go ‘By the way my name is Savanna and I work here.’ There were probably 100 people in Mac and they all left. It was so funny because it was so gross and dumb and I couldn’t believe it.”-Savanna

***

“My second semester here, I was with my senior wing upstairs and during room checks alot of my kids were like ‘hey Manny, just room check us really quick’ and I was like ‘oh ok whatever’.Then I saw them all go into the same room, and so I go and check in that room and hear them all in the restroom and I’m thinking ‘what is going on?’, so I open the door and I see one of my students in the bathtub, with half his head shaved off. They were trying to trim him up for prom or a prom ask and make him look a little bit crisper, and they messed up and made it way too short! They were like ‘we’re gonna try to fix it’ and they kept going until eventually they were like ‘we’re gonna have to make it bald’ and so they ended up shaving his head. I went in there and just started laughing, becuase I’m like, this is horrible… it wasn’t a good job, there were random patches of hair all over the place. It was probably my funnest moment here.”-Manny

***

“I do have a really special moment. When I was a junior RA, last year. So the semester started in August, almost the end of August. So my birthday is on October 2nd. The day of my birthday, it was a Friday, I was doing room checks and I had my senior mentors with me and I started where I usually start. Their door was locked and I was like ‘well, ok that’s weird’ and I was like ‘maybe they were asleep and forgot to unlock their doors.’ So I continued on and I was like ‘I’ll just get the master’s key later and key in’ and then I went to the next door and the next door was locked and the next door was locked and I was like ‘oh my gosh what’s going on?’ and I was freaking out. Then I went to one of the rooms where the girls are usually asleep and the lights were off and I was like ‘oh thank god at least these girls have their lives together and are here or whatever.’ So then I turned on the lights and all of them were in the room and they made a cake for me and they had this banner and they all signed it and it had glitter on it. They were singing happy birthday and it was the most amazing thing ever because it was just a sweet and kind thing to do. They hardly known me, because they had known me for like 2 months, if that. That was really sweet.”-Erica

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“A good memory that I have is my first year here. I had juniors, I was in C wing, and my room is at the very end of the hallway where the light came on at night. So a bunch of residents would go sit down there and study and I would always have my door open. I’d come out there and, especially my first semester before I became an old woman and started going to sleep at 9 o’clock pm, I would bring my tea out there and bring mugs and tea and everything and we would study together or I would be studying in my room. I would go check on them and be like, “Hey, how’s it going guys? Would you like more tea?” My first semester of doing that was fun. That was a sweet memory that I like. And then, pretty much any time that we’re at the front desk and I just see you guys come up with an exciting thing, “I just go into whatever or I just had this really cool test or I had lunch with someone who was really fun!” Just little things throughout the day – seeing you come up and share it with us, then leave and then someone else comes up and shares something. It’s nice.”-Sydney

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“One of my favorite programs was a Harry Potter event I organized with Jackie Peterson and Sydney Wilburn. The three of us got together and created a little mystery game. Everyone got involved, and it was just so much fun making wands and hanging out with each other.”-Ash

How has working at McConnell changed you?

“As a writer, I think you can’t write a memoir in the middle of an experience. It’s more reflective than that. I really look forward to the day when I can interpret my experience here, but what I can say is that these five years have been the perfect coming-of-age arch. I came in as an inexperienced twenty year old, and I’m leaving with a master’s degree, teaching experience at TWU, a three-year long marriage, and a nearly finished book. It’s been a real pleasure to grow up at the front desk.”-Carol

***

“Working at McConnell has made me so much more patient than I ever thought I would be in my whole life. I have always been a very head strong person that throws himself into stuff. I think that working with teenagers who do the same thing has made me more mature. It has made me think about my actions so that I can give advice to others. So I can be like, ‘Hey, I understand that you are really upset or excited right now, but maybe you should take a step back and process the situation.’ I think McConnell has just made me a more mature and better person.”-Saul

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“TAMS has made me more empathetic to other people. So like learning about you guys, and learning about myself made it easier to put myself in other people’s shoes and really identify with their experiences. Which I think will help me for my whole life long.”-Savanna

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“I feel like I have become way more understanding of how everyone’s life is different; not everyone comes from the same background. I learned that people go through stuff all the time but they don’t express it, or like they don’t show it in any form and they just deal with it and they just keep going. And then there are people who are like, ‘hey I need your help’ and you have to take responsiblity and be there for them. So the experiences I’ve had here have made me realize that there is alot of stuff going on in a person’s life that you don’t always see, and you just have to understand it and try to help in any way you can. In the end, this job has made me more willing to help people–like with our staff, we help eachother out with everything and we have a responsiblty to help TAMS students whenever they need us. Those are the two main things I’ve gotten from this job–becoming more understanding of people and being as helpful as I can to everyone.”-Manny

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“I think I became less of a judgemental person because as humans we judge a lot before getting to know about the person. After I became an RA, I give people the benefit of the doubt before I judge them. I still judge them, I think it’s kind of impossible not to as a person. I strive not to, but it’s really hard. I give them the benefit of the doubt, you never know what someone’s experiencing deep in their lives. That’s definitely something that changed me and I think kind of matured me as well.”-Erica

***

“I have learned to be more patient with a lot of things, both working with residents and my co-workers. I learned that there are a lot of different leadership styles…How has it changed me? I feel like that’s a different question from “what have you learned.” I have changed in that I am learning to be more open. There you go, that’s kind of answering your question while also answering my question. I’ve changed in that I am now more… not friendly, easier to talk to people now.”-Sydney

***

“Before working at McConnell, I didn’t know what kind of librarian I wanted to be. Working with the students has helped me really this is the age group I want to work with—I can help them do research and put on fun programs, all the things that a high school librarian does.”-Ash

What’s your major? What do you plan on doing after you graduate?

“I am currently researching MFA programs for creative writing. I think Dylan, [my husband], and I will move out of Texas. I also want a lot of kids, at least five—I’m planning to homeschool them because I want to instill the value of learning in my own kids. I just want a nice homestead with some vegetables, maybe a couple of goats.”-Carol

***

“My major is technically Radio, Television and Film. That is what I started off in. However halfway through my collegiate career they changed the name to Media Arts, which sounds super lame. I very much am a screenwriter at heart. I have several scripts that I am working on right now and after I graduate I am planning to just find a job to pay rent and I will be submitting those plays to film festivals. I am also going to be freelancing my camera work and my audio work. As of right now I am still working as an editor for a documentary with one of my professors. It is supposed to be released around the end of May. So editing, audio, writing, basically the works. I have no delusions about how hard the path is after graduation. I know it is going to be a long time or never before I hit that big break, but it is a chance that I am willing to take because film is an extremely diverse medium to reach so many people. It is an excellent way to talk about real life issues and things that are affecting the world and create a narrative for it. Film is something that I am very passionate about, it is something that I will continue to do and never give up on.”-Saul

***

“I have a double major in communications studies and political science. I am working as an assistant camp director for the summer in my hometown of The Colony, Texas. In August I am moving to Fort Collins, Colorado to attend Colorado State University and get my masters degree in communications studies. So hit me up if you are in Colorado.”-Savanna

***

“I’m a history major and I’m probably going to go into teaching, so that I can help as many kids as I can.”-Manny

***

“Marketing Major. I plan on getting a job that pays decently after I graduate. I like to do events, so event marketing would be ideal. Digital marketing is definitely what I’m focusing on.”-Erica

***

“I majored in journalism, but I’m not going to be a journalist. That’s my go-to answer, I love saying that. I am working with Americorps, I have a job. It’s like Peace Corps, but Americorps. With Peace Corps, you go out of the country for two years, with Americorps you stay in the country for one year. So I applied – you usually work with a nonprofit somewhere helping them in management stuff. I will start with a program at UT in July. I’ll go that for a year and then I’ll apply to grad school. Depending on how this Americorps thing goes, I’m thinking of doing nonprofit management. I’m excited. I’m glad I have a job after graduation of course, but also it’s giving me a trial run to let me decide, “Is this something I want to do?” I was worried that I don’t want to do journalism and now my whole four years have been a waste, but a lot of positions in Americorps were asking – basically, if you can write well, you can do a lot of jobs really well. A lot of people need grant writers in nonprofit work and I can do that. I took a grant writing class too, so it’s made me feel better about that [four years of journalism] hasn’t been a waste.”-Sydney

***

“I’m getting a bachelor of science in integrative studies with a concentration in English, history, and anthropology. I really thought they could help me with research and paper-writing when I went into grad school. I’m going to Simmons College in Boston for a master’s program in library science.”-Ash

Thank you to all the staff! You guys have devoted so much of yourselves to making our years at TAMS the very best they can be. You guys have had such an impact, and we know you will be successful in all of your future endeavors. 

The leaving staff (from left-right: Manny, Ash, Carol, Erica, Savanna, Sydney, and Saul)

    The leaving staff (from left-right: Manny, Ash,             Carol, Erica, Savanna, Sydney, and Saul)

 

 

 

 

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