Summer O was exhilarating, right? Your first taste of life inside McConnell Hall, and more importantly, of freedom. That freedom can feel unlimited at first, but you have to remember that you do still have responsibilities to keep your grades up and be a mature student. This might sound difficult to get used to, but luckily, HOPE has some handy dandy tips for getting adjusted to life at TAMS!
1. Branch out
Whenever TAMS seniors are asked the question, "What was your favorite part about TAMS?" 9 times out of 10, they will include something about the friends they made. It can be hard in the beginning, I know from experience, but it's incredibly important to get to know as many people as possible. The best way to do so is to start early and to be nice to everyone. Introduce yourself to a fellow junior, say hi to a senior, converse with Sam or Wendy whenever you see them, high five an RA, chat with the front desk workers. There are a lot of diverse and interesting people at TAMS, so don't worry if you don't click with someone right away, you will find your people, it just takes time and effort. Even if you already know people coming into TAMS, still try to branch out because every friendship will become invaluable to you.
2. Work hard, play hard
The first few weeks of TAMS may feel like a dream come true: only a few hours in class per day, living surrounded by friends with no parents in sight, unlimited food... TAMS really can be all that, but don't let your dream turn into a nightmare when you arrive at your first bio exam and realize that the one hour of studying you did the night before was not enough. It's a hard reality to face, but TAMS will be harder than your old high school, and therefore will require more effort on your part in order to succeed. Spread out the workload and set reasonable goals. Reward yourself with a break to see friends or an episode of your favorite show on Netflix after you've studied for a few hours or completed a difficult assignment. The key to getting the most out of your two years at TAMS is to find the right balance between your academic and social lives. It's important to stay on top of your work, but be sure to find the time to have fun with your friends.
3. Love thy teacher
Oh no! It's 2 AM, the night before your first English paper is due, and your printer has suddenly stopped working! Everyone you know with a printer has already gone to bed, and you won't have time to go to Willis Library before your 8 AM class. You decide to send your teacher an e-mail explaining your problem, hoping that maybe she can help. Chances are, if you've built a rapport with that teacher, she will be more understanding of your situation and will be more likely to help you resolve it. The relationship you build with your teacher can also help when you need a college recommendation from any of your teachers, because some will only write rec letters for a select number of students, so it's never a bad idea to get to know them.
4. Clubs, clubs, and more clubs
There are so many different clubs at TAMS that it can seem overwhelming at first. You may be asking yourself the following questions, "Which clubs should I join? How many do I actually have time for? Why should I join any clubs at all???" Don't panic, there is an easy solution to answering all of these questions for yourself: join all of the clubs that you want. Seriously. Go to a few GA's for each club and find out what is really interesting to you and what you're willing to commit yourself to. There's no contract or agreement that forces you to stay in any club, it's entirely up to your preferences and schedule, so explore all of your options. Being a part of a club is a great way to meet new people, especially the senior execs who will be choosing the execs for next year (hint, hint).
5. Facebook daily
As you may have already figured out, Facebook is the biggest form of mass communication at TAMS. The Class of 2018 page will be your hub for all sorts of information including, but not limited to, lost and found items, homework questions, generous food offerings, GA reminders, the occasional meme or troll post, class cancellation celebrations, and motivational pick-me-ups. Pretty much every club and HOPE committee also has their own page to provide all of the necessary information about when they meet, what they do, and who to contact for more information. If you don't already have the Facebook and/or Facebook Messenger apps for your phone, I highly suggest that you download both of them immediately, as this will help to prevent you from missing important information.
Hopefully these tips will help you to figure out what to expect from TAMS and how to better prepare for your first year. The TAMS community is very loving, and we will welcome you with open arms. Your seniors will gladly help you if you ever need anything, so never hesitate to ask. HOPE is very excited to see what you guys have to offer and to show you what we have in store for this year!