Interview with TFS - Canada's International School Alum, Armaan Jain
Highlights from the interview
I think that I really appreciate the academic rigour that TFS has and puts you through. I think that it's very fair. And obviously in the moment you're like, this is so much it's too intense. But at the end of the day, now as a university student, I think the one thing that I appreciate the most is how well prepared I've been for that transition from high school to university. And whether it was dealing with this new type of workload where you're very independent, self regulated, while also trying to balance that social life extracurriculars, and really just finding a middle, I think that TFS have really well prepared all of us for that.
TFS is not a one size fits all. That’s what I learned over my 15 plus years of being there. I think that I had the opportunity to be part of the class that was only about 68 to 70 people. So really in that type of small community, you really are able to build unique relationships with all the teachers and even just other staff, whether it be the administration, whether it be the cafeteria staff, it's like you're really able to build these personal relationships with everyone in the community. And it really just makes the experience that more enjoyable.
I would say that the school is respectful. I think that they do a very good job. And I definitely saw that arc change as I was there starting back in 2005. It was definitely a different time, whether it be a political climate or just everyone's opinions. And I really saw the school change in the way that they treat their students and how well they're able to respect everyone's diversity. So respect would definitely be the first one. I think caring would be the second. I think that whenever there were difficult times, difficult situations, whether it was with myself, it was with my younger brother, who's also in TFS or with any of my peers. I think that in general, TFS did a very good job at making sure that they care about what's going on in your personal life, but also maintaining those respectful boundaries and maintaining your privacy and really just helping you accommodate you while you're at school.
I think the third word would be I'd say it's diverse. I think that would be the third word. And especially just tying back to respect and their arc of how they've been able to adapt to changing climates. I think that really ties into their diversity and how much they appreciate diversity and how much more it goes past than just English and French. Sorry, like Canada and France being the original main countries of TFS, but also really learning to appreciate the diversity in other countries that are all part of the TFS community. So those are the three words I think I'd describe TFS as it would be that look back onto that resume question. I think it would be that TFS created very diverse students and there are different versions of what it means to be diverse, but I think for the most part it was just diverse skill sets. So it was whether these students were bilingual, whether they were trilingual, whether they were athletes and also participated in clubs or they were athletes and had amazing academics, I think the main character trait would be diverse. I think the value of respect and diversity, those two, I guess they go hand in hand, were the ones that I really saw on a day to day basis.
I think that especially in my older years, just as I was able to appreciate those types of things more so than in my younger years. Right. When you're a kid, that's not something that you pay attention to. But diversity and respect were definitely something I saw, something that TFS was really trying to accomplish and make sure that their families knew about it. That the current students and staff knew and that no matter what your background, no matter what your skill level and what it could be that you're being respected and you're being treated as you should be.
I think that something that people might find surprising is just how tight of a community it actually is. And that even though you're in this building with so many other students, it's that you really feel like you're part of the community and that you belong and you start to recognize every face and every other face recognizes you. And I guess that ties back to being able to create relationships with teachers and you want to create relationships, but it's also big enough to the point where not everyone gets along. That's just life. And if you need that space from people and you don't want to have everyone in your face, you totally get that as well.
I think that the school really taught me the value of trying your hardest and just being prepared for what's to come. I think originally maybe I wasn't so prepared with things. And I really think just the way, whether it's academics are structured or just the teachers are there to support you. I think that it's really taught me how to manage problems. It's taught me how to manage busy workloads, and it's also taught me how to communicate. I have multiple different experiences or opportunities to communicate with different levels of people. I also had an opportunity to speak to the entire student body and administration while giving the valedictorian speech. So I think it really taught me how to present myself and how to just be confident in myself.
Originally, there wasn't much of a platform that could be used to really help students, like voice their opinions, voice their concerns. But I think that as I moved to my older years and I'm sure now over the last two years, it's only gotten better. It offers students more platform to voice their opinions to the administration and really get that ground level experience and tell them what's working, what's not working, and just hopefully then seeing that feedback in play. So I think that's one thing I'd like to see change, and I believe, fingers crossed, it's still going on.
So I think as a student, my perspective was mostly that, okay, I'm at TFS, and it's this academically strong school. It has sports, it has clubs, and it's a school. But then as I transitioned from student to alumni about two years ago, it's when I really had that or experienced that perspective change where I realised that, yes, TFS is this amazing academic school, but it's also this amazing networking tool of alumni who are still, whether it's me two years out or it's an alumni 20 years removed now, are still willing to help, whether it's current students or new grads, build a career. And that includes looking over your resume, having a coffee chat, or just wanting to chat about whatever industry they're in. So I think the biggest perspective change was learning that TFS has this huge networking facet that will last forever once you graduate.
I would say first that it's academically challenging. It's not this impossible academic feat by any means, but it prepares you well. It teaches you how to learn. It teaches you how to problem solve. And I think that it's a very well structured curriculum from when you start to when you finish they care a lot about their academics.
So it really gives you an opportunity to feel like you're becoming part of this community rather than just a transactional relationship between going to school, then coming home. I think the third reason would have to be that just the staff is great. I think that the higher ups of TFS do a really good job of hiring staff that cares. And I think that made a big difference and that there weren't too many circumstances where I was like, oh man, I wish I had a different teacher for the most part, especially in my later years where it really mattered. In the high school years.
I got along great with my teachers and I think that made a big difference in how I was able to perform. And looking back on my memories, they're good memories because of that. So those would have to be the three reasons I'd recommend TFS to prospective parents. I would say that there aren't many cons to TFS. I would say I think that the breadth of TFS offers is very wide, whether it be location, having them so the west campus available or the Toronto campus available.
I think that it just addresses so many needs and concerns that there's no going wrong with trying it out and just taking that leap of faith with TFS. I really think that as someone who spent my entire life there, and my brother who is going to finish up in two years and has spent his entire life there, that there weren't many things that came up that couldn't be addressed or couldn't be dealt with in a very meaningful manner. So I would say that that's the reason it would be to just take advantage of all the opportunities available and it would also be to take that step to create your own opportunities if that certain opportunity isn't available to you.
I think I'm a good example of that. I wanted to do this type of club that I saw at other schools but wasn't available at TFS at the time. And I took that step and I got nothing but support from my principal and my teachers who wanted to supervise. So it would be really just to take advantage of everything that's offered to you and really just do your best, try your best, and that's all you can ask for, right?
TFS, it really does offer it all. I think whether it be academics, whether it be sports extracurriculars and then when you graduate from this amazing alumni pool, I think that TFS it's a great choice. It's a great choice for private education for your kids. There's not much that can go wrong in choosing TFS.