Ted Zhao- Humans of TAMS

What are some of your favorite memories from these past two years?

I really liked HOPE Auction and Aid the Cause last year. HOPE Auction was especially awesome because I was allowed to express myself through dancing even though I wasn’t good at dancing. At Aid the Cause I performed with DFC (Dancing for a Cause), now know as Vibe. But for HOPE Auction, I made my own group of seven guys and we all performed as the Powderpuff Boys. It was a really fun event. We prepared our entire dance in two days but it still came out really well, and later I got sold for $120. Those were probably two of my favorite memories. There’s a lot of other memories that stand out, like spending time with my girlfriend.

What are you looking forward to in the near future?

In the near future, I look forward to meeting all the juniors. Even though I know my entire wing, there’s still two hundred of y’all and everyone expects me to remember their names. I can’t do that; I suck with names. I don’t really want to go into the near future because I’m going to miss my own class. We’re all going to go to different places once TAMS ends, and we’re all going to do different things. I’m really going to miss the friends I’ve made here.

Has TAMS been what you expected it to be?

TAMS has actually been much more than what I expected it to be. Whenever I first came here, I actually only knew my roommate from last year—I didn’t know anyone else from TAMS. But after the first week of being here, I really felt like I fit in into this community. Even now, I don’t have my specific group of friends. I know my entire class and the entire class of juniors know me, which is very surprising. It’s really exceeded my expectations.

What do you like about TAMS?/What’s your favorite aspect of TAMS?

What I like about TAMS is how we technically aren’t under any parental supervision besides the RAs, but we all have each other as a family. Me and Ajay are here for all the juniors in A300, and we get to really connect with them. Even though some of the guys talk more than others, we still have a strong connection with every single one of our juniors. I just want to be the person that my senior mentors were for me; they really built a really strong friendship with us, and I just felt at home here.

Are there any events from your recent past that’s changed/shaped you as a person?

Probably just HOPE Auction because I got to perform for my girlfriend. We were already in a long-distance relationship at that time and I didn’t get to see her at all second semester. HOPE Auction was the one event that she could come to and I got to perform for her; it was a big deal to me. Getting to know the guys in my dance group was also great. I felt like we were already really strong friends, but I got to bond with them even more because I had to teach them the dance moves in less than two days. 

How did you meet your girlfriend?

I met my girlfriend at Club Bonanza. She was running the Amnesty International booth, which is the one that I ran this year. It’s interesting because one of my mutual friends was there at the Amnesty booth, and I just went over there to talk to him. That’s when I got to meet her. We didn’t really talk formally or anything. I just kind of said, “Hi, my name is Ted.” I actually didn’t even know her name for the first two weeks, so every time I saw her I wouldn’t know what to call her. But then she kept in touch with me through snapchat and messenger. The thing that I really liked initially was that all our messenger conversations were Facebook stickers, especially the Pusheen stickers. Being in a relationship with her has been a really amazing experience and she has had a strong impact on me.

How is your long-distance relationship going with your girlfriend?

Long distance is hard. Honestly, it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever experienced. One of the reasons for this is because I’m a rather insecure person. Even though I know that Tara will always be there for me and that she’ll always be faithful to me, I always try especially hard to be there for her. I want to take care of her. That’s probably the worst thing about long distance, is that you have to live with that. It just depends on your personality. Like I said, it’s hard for me, but she’s really helped me through this period of long-distance. September 21st is our one-year anniversary and I did a special project for her. If you ever do a long-distance relationship, just be prepared for how hard it is, because its honestly just emotionally draining. Since we’re both at different colleges, we don’t have as much time as we used to for each other. I remember holding her hand everyday and giving her hugs everyday. Best time of my life, I think. The thing that’s the worst for me is that every time I video-call her, I can’t hug her. It sucks. It really sucks. In those moments that you do video-call each other, just make sure that you enjoy the moment. Enjoy the moments that you have together because once that one hour is up, then you have to go back to your own stuff and you have to accept the reality that you guys are separated. If you do go through a long-distance relationship, you can always talk to me. I’m going through it right now and I probably will go through it for a very long time.

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