Katerina (Year 2)
What did you wish you knew before going to your university? What made you choose this institution over all others? What are advantages and disadvantages of your institution or campus? List any advice for incoming first-year students about your university.
What made me choose this institution is the resources that my particular campus offers. UofT has a large research output and there are many opportunities to get involved in research on-campus. One advantage of the campus is that since it is in the middle of the city, there are many things to do and explore. One disadvantage is that the environment is highly competitive, and you can find yourself constantly comparing yourself with other students. The nickname UofTears is real, however, I don't see it as a bad thing as the whole experience has made me stronger as a person.
What did you wish you knew before choosing your specific program? What are the advantages and disadvantages of your program? List any advice for incoming first-year students about your program of study.
What I wish I knew before choosing my program is that there are specific enrolment types. For instance, Bioethics is a type 1 program which means you can automatically enrol. However, for Health Studies that is not the case. You need to take certain prerequisites and stay within the grade range which is required in order to enrol as it is a type 2 program. There are also type 3 programs which have prerequisites, grade ranges, and additional information such as an essay.
What was your favourite university experience?
My best experience at University was Orientation week. I got to meet a lot of new people from various different backgrounds from my college and explore the campus together. I also got to mingle with people from other colleges and speak to them as well. I met some of my best University friends at Orientation so I would highly recommend going if you can.
What was your least favourite university experience?
My worst University experience was when I got my first bad grade. I had been told that first-year was the hardest year and it didn't hit me until I got that grade back. It was a philosophy essay that I had felt so confident in and I felt crushed. I felt like I was stupid and didn't belong in such a prestigious University and that this ONE grade was going to ruin my GPA and chance to go to graduate school. Once I mustered up the courage to go to the T.A who had marked my paper he went over my paper with me and encouraged me to come to him next time I was in progress of writing another philosophy paper. I followed his advice and I saw my marks significantly improve. I learned that criticism needs to be taken in order to make you be better at whatever you are doing, and you shouldn't be afraid of it.
What is the hardest part about your program and what were the steps that you took to overcome any difficulties?
The hardest part about my program and any program for that manner is finding motivation. The material for the courses I was taking seemed easy on paper however actually memorizing the material (which is strongly discouraged in University) and applying it on an exam proved to be much more difficult. If you get easily distracted like I do when studying, I would recommend the Pomodoro method. It works on a per-hour basis where you spend 50 minutes studying and get 10 minutes to rest. I would also recommend trying active recall, where instead of simply rereading your notes, you are constantly formulating questions to ask yourself.
If you were able to take electives, what was your favourite elective? If you were not able to take electives, what was your favourite course and why?
My favourite course was SOC100 which I took in first semester with Professor Latouche. This course covered a variety of topics as an introduction to Sociology as a good foundation for those with not much knowledge of Sociological concepts. Professor Latouche made this course exciting and thought-provoking as she always brought a new perspective as she engaged with the textbook through her lectures. Also a shoutout to Sol Underwood who was an amazing T.A and contributed immensely to my enjoyment in this course.