Alex Battin (Class of 2019)

What is hell? I maintain that it is the suffering of being unable to love.
— Fyodor Dostoevsky

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

“So I enjoy doing quite a lot of things. For one, I spend a crazy amount of time in Robotics, and I do gain enjoyment from that. I also like reading. I read all sorts of articles, pieces, comments, really any sort of media that you can get. Basically all types, from the classics to the ‘now’. I also enjoy writing. It’s a good way of expressing yourself, so I spend my time replying to McConnell Q’ or really just talking through media. Other than that I just spend time with friends exploring some parts of the city that you may not normally see and going around parts of the country when I have the chance and visiting the world, seeing things that you may not normally see. But that’s not really something you can do normally. Also I just spend my time just talking to other people around. Maybe just talk to them and be there for them. I mean, there’s some other stuff I do, I mean you can talk about anything, like going shooting when I’m back home. You know, I make wooden bowls, but I guess those are the ones that come to mind.

You’re the a Robotics exec right? How the TAMS Robotics Team doing?

“I think that it is going well. It could go better, but everything could go better. I’m glad to see a large number of students involved still. Much enthusiasm. I’m glad to see so many people that want to continue in the future to be involved in the club. And while there have been mistakes that have been made and you could wish to go back and change the past, make it better, I wouldn’t say that I’m upset or bothered. I think the club is doing all right. Could go better, but everything could go better. I guess we’ll just see how we do at competition. There have been a lot of people working and putting in crazy amounts of time and it’s great and I’m really proud. I’m really appreciative of all the time they’ve spent. So we’ll see if that hard work and time pay off. Regardless, it’s interesting.”

Do you have any advice for the incoming Juniors and Seniors?

“Relax. I think people at TAMS are very focused on their future and very forward thinking and that’s great, but I think sometimes we just need to sit back, take a deep breath, and be okay with fate, especially with college apps. People were very much, I guess, on edge with UT and probably other schools. Everyone was very bothered with it. And I guess there’s a reason to be bothered with it, but at the end of the day, everyone at TAMS will be really successful and in their future careers, and I hope that everyone enjoys TAMS. So I think they need to relax and enjoy life. We’ll be alright. It’ll be fine.”

What’s were the happiest and saddest moment at TAMS?

“I think my happiest moment was in Junior year when we found out we were going to Worlds for Robotics. That’ll be the happiest moment for me just because it was very sudden and it was a nice surprise. I think the saddest moment for me was seeing some of my friends leave the Academy over the years especially when they’ve been with you for so long and you’ve grown accustomed to them. They’re you’re friends and they’re great people and you play games with them and they were great people. They still are, but you’re no longer with them and you kind of think back to yourself and think ‘whelp, maybe I should have encouraged them more to study for this test’ or ‘maybe I should have just push them a little more.’ You kind of have those regrets and you kind of doubt yourself. I also think you have to step back and say ‘could I have really done anything?’ Their behavior had to change and I really couldn’t change who they are. I think that’s the saddest moment at TAMS.”

If you could change anything at TAMS, what would it be?

“At TAMS? I guess, if anyone has seen my rambles, I have a couple of complaints. I’m going to go ahead and say two instead of one. I think the social dynamic at TAMS is somewhat toxic and I don’t think I’m faultless in that, but I think it is very much not cohesive to people from different locations, just like outsiders in general. Whether it’s outside of a friend group or whatnot. I mean, all the Allen kids are going to group up with the Allen kids and the Frisco kids with the Frisco kids and Jasper kids with Jasper kids and so and so on. I think that you sometimes have to leave some people out, like maybe there are people from your own school that just may not fit in and I don’t think the solution is to welcome everyone with open arms to your friend group, like some personalities just don’t mix well, but I think it’s just common decency, respect, and kindness go a long way. I think also a problem with TAMS in general, maybe not necessarily the students, is mental health and the awareness of that needs to emphasized. It’s one of the biggest issues here, especially since so many people go through it. It’s a weird combination of stress and high-achieving goals and various other dynamics that can lead to kind of a melting pot of issues. So I don’t think TAMS has done a bad job at handling this, but I think more can be done or at least it could be looked at with more focus. Maybe the stigma within the populace of TAMS could be counter balanced with counseling services or just other methods of support.”

What do you think your biggest achievement has been at TAMS?

“You know, I don’t really look at myself too much when I consider achievements. You know, I could say ‘oh we raised this much money for the Robotics team’ or ‘we’ve done this and this and this and this’ but I really don’t consider those to be my achievements. I consider those to be the team’s achievements. I don’t talk about those. But I think when it comes to personal achievements, there’s two types. I think you could talk about DECA and all that and I guess that’s the biggest achievement I’ve had on paper, but I think I have a personal achievement of changing perspectives and really just a change of mindset, and I think that’s the biggest achievement I’ve had. I mean, I came from a place that was not very diverse in just ideas and thoughts, and I think over the course of the years here at TAMS I have seen myself change in multiple ways for the better. So to summarize, I think my biggest achievement has been not necessarily a transformation but a modification of myself for the better.

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