Melanie Che (Class of 2019)

The best thing that I’ve learned from my experience at TAMS is to be your own person. Find what you love to do and pursue it. Ultimately, you’ll be so much happier and fulfilled than if you chose to check off boxes from a cliche list of accomplishments. Live your life!! #YOLO #swag mic drop melanballs out 😫👌

What are some fun facts about you?

"Fun facts? You know, I feel like an open book. A lot of people know about the quirky things about me already. I really love avocados. I have a very strange fascination with stationery. I feel like a lot of people have that, but I just really love pens and pencils and erasers and certain tools and there have been times where I’ve just spent a couple hours browsing through online reviews of various pens and pencils. I also used to be a very intense and obsessive One Direction fan. What else. I’ve made multiple Tik-Toks and I’m very proud of them, including the Pie the President video. Oh, my fastest typing speed was 158 words per minute with 100% accuracy. Pretty impressive right? And finally, I like cats.”

What clubs are you a part of? How are they going?

“So I’m involved in Girl Up, Driving Tomorrow, Yearbook, and then I also volunteer under the FACES and Teach and Learn committee for ESL. They’re going really great. So a lot of my time at TAMS these past two years has been spent volunteering and working with the community and I think it’s also a really great way to better understand the North Texas community especially because I come from Houston so I don’t really know anything about the people here and so really being able to connect to them like Girl Up and volunteering at the local schools and also through Driving Tomorrow has been a really great experience. And of course the people who I volunteer with, both Juniors and Seniors, have just been amazing and I’m glad I got to know them.”

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

"Sleep well. Don’t over-stress yourself. I think it’s easy to become concerned with certain things like college application and maintaining your GPA and making sure you’re perfect, but it can be really hard to do that and maintain a healthy social life, and I think that having friends around with you and hanging out with people rather than simply focusing on academic things is really important to make sure that your high school experience is good because when you look back, you don’t want to think ‘oh what was I doing to be that perfect student to get into that amazing college.’ You’ll really look back and think about the good memories where you’re doing things with friends at 2 AM.”

What do you think the best and worst things are about TAMS?

“Well, for the best thing about TAMS, I really like the environment of students. Everyone is really inspiring, so I feel like rather than a competitive, toxic environment, it’s a very stimulating one. So for example, when I see people doing amazing things, there won’t be students that are like ‘oh I need to do that too’, rather they’ll be like ‘that’s incredible’ and congratulate them on that and continue doing the things they’re passionate about, so I really like how people know what they want to do and do it rather than trying to model other people. I guess what I don’t like about TAMS is that sometimes there’s this mentality that you can do something in one night, so it’s like ‘I can study for this exam until 3 AM, I’ll have plenty of time tomorrow to relax and make up for that sleep’ but that’s really not how it should work. Also everyone sees stress as a status quo, like something that’s really ordinary, and I feel like that shouldn’t be accepted and that people should care a lot more for their mental and physical well-being rather than simply saying ‘oh all my friends are going through this as well, we’re all having the same sort of awful journey’, but I don’t think that’s how life should be or how we should be as 15- to 18-year-olds. I really wish most TAMS students didn’t see being stressed and sleeping very little as normal and it’s almost romanticized in a way like you’ll see a lot of memes and jokes and people just laughing at it. I’ve definitely joked about it and I’ve definitely been someone who has not maintained my health that well these past two years, but it definitely shouldn’t be on a pedestal as it is now.”

If there was one thing you could redo at TAMS, what would it be?

“I think my experience at TAMS overall has been very good and I’ve been able to accomplish my goals academically, extracurricularly, and socially, but maybe I do wish I could have branched out more Junior year. I think I’ve always been a very talkative and social person who isn’t afraid to reach out to others, but I think it would have been nice to talk more to the people who I wouldn’t have conventionally seen, like people who were quieter because there were even Seniors in my own grade that I didn’t know until this year which I think is pretty crazy especially because there are so few of us, but it can be hard to contact them when you don’t have classes or clubs with them. But all in all, I do wish that I reached out to more people.”

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

“I think I’m really happy with the work I’ve been able to accomplish with my clubs and that definitely works I couldn’t have accomplished by myself. I’m so thankful for the Driving Tomorrow execs, the people I work with in Girl Up, and the Juniors and Seniors who are so involved at TAMS and make it the environment that we want it to be in terms of being collaborative and supportive, and so I would say that I’m really proud of the community service efforts I’ve been able to help out with as well as maybe increasing the voice for activism in TAMS which I felt like wasn’t really present before, but ultimately I was only able to accomplish those things because of others, and so I don’t really want to say it’s my biggest accomplishment but rather our biggest accomplishment.”

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