Olivia Zha – Humans of TAMS

How has TAMS impacted you?

TAMS has definitely helped me become a more independent person. It’s part of the reason I came to TAMS. I had to learn to make my own decisions wisely. We all kind of influence each other a lot. For example, everyone at TAMS sleeps really late. I try to keep my own principles. Coming to TAMS has helped me understand what I want to do with my day and not get too influenced by peer pressure.

Who is your favorite professor and what is you favorite class?

Dr. Kiko and Multivariable Calculus

She was really enthusiastic to teach us. It wasn’t just a normal lecture class like biology. She would write everything she wanted us to write on our notes on the board so everything was clear. She would tell funny stories. Her passion was infectious.

If you could go back and redo anything what would it be?

Stop taking the conventional path. I grew up in a Asian family and did a lot of things I thought would help me be successful. I do art, music and used to do basketball. I do all these things and I’m pretty good at all of them. But I started them because that’s what my parents wanted me to do. I wish I did more things because I truly wanted to without considering how it would impact my specs for college. I didn’t have the space or time to try to get really good at one thing I enjoyed. Now I’m having the problem where I don’t know what I want to do with my life, career-wise.

To juniors:  Nothing matters as much as you think it does in the long run. Stop worrying so much about doing competitions and activities because you think they are going to help you get into a good college. It’ll pay off in the end if you just do what you want to in the moment.

How do you fight the senioritis?

I don’t. I let it come over me. I go with the flow. All of today, I sat in my bed. I just started my lab report. I need to give some better advice…

Do you have a bucket list?

I have a lot of lists. For me, a bucket list is anything I want to do or get or have. I have so many lists on my notes. For example, there are things I want to start such as a youtube channel or learning a new language (Korean) or learning to play the guitar. I have a travel list, a books to-read list and movies to-watch list.

What are you favorite subjects as a photographer and artist?

I like to see things from a painting perspective.  I have a background in watercolor, sketching and oil painting. When I came to TAMS, I started to do more oil painting portraits.

I really like portraits, because not only do I get to express my own style of art, but I get to learn more about these people. I get to express the emotions of the person I am painting. It’s a conversation without talking. As for photography, I do like taking casual pictures of anything pretty. Follow @ontheolivetree on Instagram if you are curious.

What is your proudest moment from the past two years?

When I went two weeks without getting boba.

It was life changing for me. I get boba every weekend. Last week I got it three times. But I was really busy one week and then two weeks passed by and I didn’t get boba. I was fine. Nothing happened to me. I didn’t have withdrawals. It was pretty shocking. Unfortunately, I went back into my boba phase.

What is your favorite boba flavor and place?

I don’t really care about the place. I always get something with milk in it (matcha or normal). Sometimes, I’m like ‘I need to be healthy,’ even though I’m at the boba place. Then I get something tea flavored. I mean a lot people go to boba places and just get tea. I don’t understand that. I don’t feel satisfied. I need the milk. I drink a lot of milk. People keep telling me to drink milk because I’m short. I drink a cup of milk everyday, but I’m still 5 foot…3.

What was the most memorable TAMS social event and why?

Everything that happened the first week of junior year from club bonanza to frog night to everyone coming to Mac and playing games. It was overwhelming. It was a rush of adrenaline that died down after that week. It was fun because I got to meet everyone.

What will you miss the most about TAMS?

The sense of community. When I go college, I’m not going to be able to know all of my peers as well. Having this kind of environment, where we can easily go to each others’ room and everyone gets to know each other so well, is…something I am never going to have again. I really value that. There’s a lot of memories made here that I’m going to miss.

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