Every person in TAMS staff holds a special place in our hearts and this semester we had to say goodbye to two RAs: Ricky Vela and Diana Castillo. So ion has made a special Humans of TAMS to commemorate their time.
Why did you get a job at McConnell?
Diana: “An Jimenez was in one of my Spanish classes and she introduced me to TAMS, she showed me around the building, and she is the one that suggested I become an RA. From then on it was just stuck in my head. The little world that you guys have is so exciting and I wanted to be a part of it. Also, my freshman year I lived at Crumley and started out as a guitar performance major, so I didn’t do anything except for music. I felt that me doing anything, but practicing, was me not being disciplined or committed. So I didn’t do anything and that is something that I kind of regret, so I was excited to motivate others.”
Ricky: “I got a job here because I really like working with students, I have a history of mentoring people outside of McConnell and that is why I wanted to be an RA. I ended up getting a job here because of Crystal. I heard about TAMS through Samir.”
How did you feel about working at a high school dorm?
Diana: “I loved it, I didn’t want to work anywhere else. I don’t know if I would have accepted an offer from anywhere else. First of all, you guys are fun, and you have the fun factor without the potential problems of another dorm. Secondly, my sister is a freshman this semester and I see all of you guys as my little brothers and sisters so it is really nice.”
Ricky: “I knew it was different compared to other dorms. I knew y’all were special and I was kind of worried because y’all are so smart and I thought I was going to have to tutor y’all everyday. I ended up enjoying it though because it is more of a community than other dorms.”
What did you think of TAMS during those first few weeks?
Diana: “It is exciting and kind of weird because you guys are so mature and so focused. I remember my first week people asking me if they could start a business and I was just like, “What?” I would think about how I would feel if I were you guys because you are so young, when the year started I had 15 year olds in my wing and it was crazy. To be able to make the huge jump from high school to college so young is amazing.”
Ricky: “I thought it was really fun, I liked being around the building and talking to me residents. I also came in mid-semester so I thought they wouldn’t like me, but they ended up being really cool.”
How long have you worked at TAMS?
Diana: “One semester”
Ricky: “A full year”
What are some things that you have enjoyed doing as a staff member?
Diana: “I love room checks. I think that is my favorite part. You get to talk to everyone at the end of the day and it’s just a sweet moment. I don’t know if its because it is at the end of the day and some of them are ready to go to sleep or if it because it is just a endearing moment. I don’t love working desk because of all of the phone calls and stuff, but I do love being at the desk and talking to people that come up. Also that is when I get to talk to the boys and I think they are all just precious. This is just such a nice place and everyone has a strong personality and I just love it.”
Ricky: “I like hanging out in the den with all of the RAs and PAs. I really like room checks when I can dedicate a lot of time to talking to residents. I also like playing frisbee, playing sports with residents, and just messing with residents.”
What are some things that you didn’t enjoy doing?
Diana: “I didn’t enjoy docking. That part sucks because you have to enforce rules, but I don’t like to tell them that they are going to get points. Sometimes it was tiring to have to stay up for room checks, but nothing pertaining to you guys was something that I didn’t enjoy.”
Ricky: “I never enjoyed docking because no one wants to get anyone in trouble, even if I have to.”
What are you going to miss when you leave TAMS?
Diana: “I am going to miss the residents because this family of people is such a unique experience. I am going to miss coming to the events that you guys have. I love how supportive you guys are for each other. I am especially going to miss my residents a lot.”
Ricky: “I am obviously going to miss all of the kids and living in a cool community where I get to see the same people everyday. I am going to miss wing meetings and telling my residents to be quiet all of the time, but also just hanging out with them.”
Do you have any funny or memorable stories about working at TAMS?
Diana: “There was one time when I opened my door and there was a tube like wrapping paper comes around and then there was a green balloon attached to it and it was supposed to be Shrek. The whole thing was standing by itself because they put it in a water bottle so it was just sitting and peeking its head out at me. All of my residents had their cameras out and were just filming me.”
Ricky: “ Well Daddy Sven for sure. Also fighting Fre’Daisa all of the time and just getting under her skin. Last year I had just finished room checks and I walked by one of the doors. It was really loud so I opened the door to tell them to be a little quieter and there was just a line of guys without their shirts on. So I walked in and saw that and then walked right out.”
Food: “Pad See Ew from Thai Square”
Dining Hall: “Bruce, solely because of the memories I have attached to that place”
Color: “Earthy Tones and Yellow”
Movie: “The Grinch”
Book: “Soldier X by Don Wolffson and The Giver by Lois Lowry”
Food: “I really like nachos. I also really like chicken because it can be made in so many ways.”
Dining Hall: “I like Kerr more than Bruce, but I go to Bruce more.”
Color: “Blue or Black”
Movie: “Beauty and the Beast – Live action version”
Book: “The one we had to read for TAMS”
What is your major?
Diana: “I will finish with a BA in Music and Spanish.”
Ricky: “Biomedical Engineering with a minor in Mechanical Engineering and Math.”
What are you planning on doing after you graduate?
Diana: “Sleeping. I don’t have super set plans, but I am excited to spend time with my family. Also, because I don’t have a specific plan it is kind of liberating because I have time to figure things out for myself. I can get rid of my college diet and exercise more. I will also be getting my teacher certification so I can teach little kids music.”
Ricky: “My plan is to go to grad school. Then work in a hospital and work my way up to eventually work with prosthetics. I also want to work with an engineering organization to help students succeed in general.”
How has working at TAMS impacted you?
Diana:“Well if I wanted to be a mom before, I want to be a mom now more than ever. I don’t know how to answer that question in words because I have met so many amazing people. I love having seen a little part of this world because I came here for music and this is a very different world, but seeing what you guys do it really inspiring. I get to see all of the dreams that you guys have and how hard you work and it really pushes me. I think that as I went through my own college experience I got more realistic, like I stopped dreaming, but you guys have made me start dreaming again.”
Ricky: “I think it has made me realize that I really enjoy living in a community. I have also realized that I want to work with students in general, even if it means coming back when I am older to work with kids.
We will end it all with a quote from Ricky, “I’ll miss y’all, stay groovy.”