Thomas Sanders (Class of 2017)

How was the transition to TAMS for you?

“Academically, it was a little rough cuz Sanger High School’s academics were not nearly as rigorous as the University of North Texas’, let alone the TAMS exclusive math classes that you start in if you took PreCal first. Those were very high level and I spent most of first semester transitioning, getting used to that.”

What about clubs and other things?

“The clubs at my old high school were kind of… shallow compared to the ones here. The TAMS clubs go quite above and beyond what my old high school did, especially as far as student leadership goes. I was kind of in awe of that at first, and I started working with Roy and Julian in the IT office with their club that they oversee, called Residential Computer Consultants (RCC). Fun fact, I came to TAMS thinking I was going into IT as a career. So I just spent a lot of time in their office watching what they do.”

“I sort of like became the lead RCC, if we want to call it that. Like junior year, I coordinated a lot of volunteering activities, for like… we set up office work stations in Sage Hall for some employees that got hired in Honors’ College. And we also did a lot of work in the TAMS lab when everything needed moving out of there, and carpet was put in. And everything was put back in, and we did that. We also changed the format of the lab. We even took all the computers apart and expanded their hard drive storage. That was another fun activity. Yeah, we did a bunch of stuff like that in RCC.

“The other club I’m a part of, or at least active in, is Ignite Bible Study. And so, in Ignite, we study the Bible. It is purely a Bible study club, and sometimes there’s worship songs, and prayer as well. A lot of like, “Christianity” today doesn’t read the Bible, so we end up with so many different variations of what people practice. I guess one of our goals in Ignite is to see what is actually said, you know, and not just rely on what’s taught. So that’s what we do in Ignite.”

“Those are my 2 main clubs that I have time for. I’m also in 2 research projects. The first one I’ve been on for a year with Dr. Weathers in the Physics Department. We’ve been working on this 1955 Van der Graff particle accelerator. We have like 4 or 5 operational accelerators under the Physics building basement. It’s kinda cool. So I’ve been working on one of those with Dr.Weathers for a year and then I’m with Dr.Roberts in the Physics Department also. He’s got a really neat astronomy project that he just wants someone to go back through the math with him on to check for mistakes and stuff. So that’s like, less involved.”

What do you like about TAMS?/What’s your favorite aspect of TAMS?

“This was actually on my TAMS application. It was something I observed as a spend a day before I applied. I really like the mature, academic atmosphere that you can’t find at high school. Like I wouldn’t be able to have half the conversations that I have here at my old high school because most people are just like ‘ugh, I don’t like to be here, can I just go home?’ you know? There’s no talk about academics, and extracurriculars are limited to like, staff sponsored events. There’s hardly any student-led stuff. I really like that here at TAMS people here are more outgoing, but also more academically-minded. I love being able to have academic conversations with people. Being able to talk about classes is one. Talking about research, nobody at my old high school, that I knew of, did research, or maybe half the people would’ve heard of research, this thing that I didn’t even think about until I came here. Research is a big one. We also have like some innovative thinkers here and being around them is fun. They’ll think outside of boxes, and that’s inspiring to be around.”

What is your greatest struggle at the moment?

“What if I don’t have one? I think it’s more of a mindset thing, I don’t let stuff bother me much.”

What do you like to do in your free time?

“Free time? About an hour a day, I love to study religious texts. I’ve even studied a little bit of the Quran and parts of the Torah. I read the English version. I know there are usually translation errors, I don’t take everything for what it says, because of that. I’m generally curious about other religions because i spend about an hour a day reading the Bible, but I’m around so many other people, even in TAMS. We have people who are Muslims, and we have Jewish people, and we have Christians, and there’s so many different denominations of Christians. And there’s Athiests. I like to read arguments and Apologetics and stuff like that in my free time. Apologetics are stuff like why would we believe in a God? Like what are some arguments? Or how would a Christian defend their faith, or maybe a Muslim? What are some arguments that you can use, some logical arguments you can use? It’s actually it’s own field. It’s interesting. Yeah, I love reading that kind of stuff. I used to play videogames but I quit.”

Any fun facts (about yourself)?

“I’ve only been a Christian since last May. I mean, I wanted to be a Christian, but I didn’t read the Bible and then I realized that what I grew up being taught didn’t actually line up with the scriptures. And so like my faith was kinda like, not even Biblical. [I went to Sunday School] and they taught things that you can’t find in the Bible. I was trying to be a Christian, but I didn’t know how to be one. I didn’t even know what the Gospel really was. Just contextual clues growing up from people who didn’t read it either. So I was poorly informed on something I wanted to pursue. Last year I started reading the Bible more seriously.”

Is there any events from your recent pasts that’s changed/shaped you as a person?

“May 25,2016, I was Baptized into Christ, which is what we’re told to do by the Early Apostles of the Early Christian Church. You can read about that in Chapter 2, Verse 38, if anyone is curious, I’m just going to cite that. We’re told to repent and be Baptized for the remission of sins. So that definitely changed my life, cuz I didn’t know about that until I read it, so I hadn’t really done that. Even if Christianity was true, I still wouldn’t have been a Christian anyways. So up until then I wasn’t really a Christian.”

What’s your favorite memory from TAMS so far?

“Last spring, I started getting together with a friend here at TAMS and we started holding each other accountable for studying the Bible. That was probably my favorite memory, and the thing I guess I’m most grateful for at TAMS also, that becoming a daily thing. His name is Gavin Buchanan. We started having like daily… we called it ‘Quiet time’ but that could mean a lot of different things to different people. Yeah, we’d just like sit together and study the Bible separately but hold each other accountable for it. So like, maybe I won’t pull out my phone and get away with it instead of read, which I’m most tempted to do I suppose.   

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