Arinze Appio-Riley (Class of 2020)


What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

“I guess I like filling up my free time with volunteering, sports practices, and last semester I also did dance too. Those things were pretty time consuming but I enjoyed all of them. In particular, when it comes to volunteering, I liked Aspire because my mentee was pretty fun. The thing is, I remember one time this semester, he was always talking about Fortnite and watched Fortnite videos right and then I find out that he doesn’t even play Fortnite! It was kind of weird, but I guess I like middle school and elementary school kids because they have a good vibe.”

How have you changed in the past semester?

“Coming from high school, I feel like I work a lot harder now. In retrospect, I feel like I’ve done a lot more in TAMS than I did in high school. During last semester, there were a lot of things that I had to improve on especially like Pre-Calculus, because adjusting to the new teacher’s teaching style actually took a lot of effort. I also feel like I’m a lot more involved in different clubs and extracurriculars because in high school, all I did was schoolwork pretty much. Now, and last semester, I danced for Aid the Cause, playing soccer and ultimate frisbee, and doing a lot more volunteering than I did in high school which is nice.”

What advice do you have for the incoming Juniors?

“So I guess the advice I would give is to join every single Facebook group that you can so you’re not in your second semester joining random things and joining volunteering just because your roommate was doing something. Also, volunteer for as much as you can first semester and then stick with it so you have a good record especially when it comes to exec season because that’s something you can talk about and have leverage too. And the ones that aren’t STEM-orientated should find something they’re passionate about and when they get to exec season, they should be the pioneers for creating a new TAMS environment for their following years.”

What was the happiest and saddest moment for you at TAMS?

“I think one of my happiest moment was at the end of the first semester, like at the end of classes and everything ended already and it was during the break. I didn’t know what I got on my Pre-Calculus exam but I had to get something like a 103 in order to get an A and there was a bonus, so I studied so hard for it and I don’t think I got it, but on the transcript it stated I got a B in Pre-Calculus, but then I asked my professor what I got on the exam and he said ‘oh you got a pretty high grade so I’m going to go ahead and bump you which made me pretty happy, but besides that, the happiest thing was just to hang out with friends in the TAMS environment. Something all my friends did together was Aid the Cause, at least most of them. Performing the dances with them was pretty fun and it was probably my happiest moment at TAMS"

As for my lowest point, was the beginning of the second semester. I was not on top of my work for English especially. I came from Ibarra’s class and he was very laid back and when it came to turning in DQ’s and pretty adjusting to Dr. Schoolfield’s class and her strict formats. The first couple of times, I forgot to print my DQ’s and then it wasn’t even the right format when I did turn in the DQ’s, and when I turned things in on Canvas those weren’t in the right format either. So I guess it was just the first couple of weeks getting back was just something I needed to get used to.”

What are some problems you’ve seen at TAMS?

“I guess the close-knit community at TAMS is a double-edged sword. You can go to someone’s room literally down the hall if you need help with math or something, but at the same time if something comes up and you have conflict with someone, you’re pretty much going to see them every day at any time too, so I guess that’s a downfall of TAMS. But more specifically seminar because we have seminar so many times, so it really interferes with your schedule sometimes because sometimes you plan to do some extra work or something but then you find out that there was actually seminar that day. I guess something else that applies to the Seniors was the UT CAP thing. That’s another TAMS problem too.”

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

“I guess I have two things, one more personal than the other. So at the end of last semester, being a Junior Blood Drive coordinator. I didn’t think I would get it when I sent my application because I only spent two hours or something on it, but I made sure to focus on the main part of it. So getting that was a pretty good experience and working with the board and then working with the HOPE execs was really nice. I guess the HOPE execs are kind of role models for a lot of the Juniors because they work really hard and they’re basically the face of TAMS. They foster a lot of the volunteer opportunities. And I guess something more personal was getting research. That was something I really wanted to do for a while, but I didn’t pursue it at the beginning of the first semester because I wanted to get adjusted, but then when I started looking, I sent out a ton of emails to professors. None of them responded though until one day I walked in my research professor’s lab and asked if he’s free. He said he had five minutes and we talked a little and he asked me to send him my CV. After I did, one of his post-Doctorates wanted to supervise me or something. Getting that opportunity was pretty big for me personally because I really wanted to do it for a while.”

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