Hareem (Year 2)
What made you choose this institution over all others? Did the university exceed your expectations?
The University of Toronto is a top 20 institution in the world and number 1 in Canada. They have a good criminology program which was essential for me. Moreover, I wanted to be at the St. George campus due to its downtown location. The university is located in a great environment and there are many opportunities outside of school. I absolutely loved being downtown almost every day and the open campus felt refreshing. The buildings have historical context, in addition, they are updated for contemporary use.
Do you have any lingering thoughts or regrets in your year as a whole (ex; application process, mistakes going into first year). If so, describe them.
In terms of any major regrets, I don't have any. I had a detailed plan heading into my first year and it went rather smoothly.
Briefly describe the academic rigour of your program (in terms of competitiveness, courses, professors, etc.)
For my program, it does not begin until my second year, however I can describe my experience with my breath courses I took. Undoubtedly, UofT is a more challenging institution compared to others, but don't let that discourage you! I don't consider myself an academic genius, yet with a proper work ethic and eagerness to do well, I managed to receive better grades compared to high school. The general rule of thumb is if you do your work well, you'll get good grades. Put in that extra effort and you'll get great grades. In terms of professors, in only my first year I've encountered many different ones. Certain of them were very organized in their lecture plans, provided PowerPoints slides, handouts, allowed questions during class and created a very engaging environment.
However, I did have one professor who seemed all over the place, disorganized, didn't know how to use technology very well and failed to make the class entertaining (note that I still received a grade of A, proving it's more about the student than the professor). Overall, most of them were highly qualified with a few bad apples here and there.
Describe the social life at your campus based on your own experiences (making friends, clubs + extracurriculars, party culture etc.)
If you're looking for an engaging social life, I can say that UofT St. George will not disappoint. It attracts people of all backgrounds to create a truly multicultural environment. The campus houses many clubs around a broad range of subjects, sororities, sports teams and many other extracurricular activities. I had no issues finding new people to interact with and made some good friends along the way. No doubt, you'll find something that appeals to you at this campus.
What are some of the best and worst parts of your university experience so far?
Hands down the best part of my year was finishing with a great GPA and getting accepted into my program of choice. No matter what I heard people say about UofT being difficult, I managed through it and still had time to explore and have fun. What more could I ask for!
List three effective study techniques and/or habits:
Time management- Use your time wisely. If you're being lazy and not doing your work and receive bad grades, that's on you and not the university.
Creativity - this was important in terms of essay writing. In high school they tell you what to write and how exactly to write it. In university, that's all gone, you can write in your style. This gives the paper a more professional and flowing feel. (Read scholarly papers and compare it to your high school ones to see the big difference).
Enjoy your time - remember to have fun and enjoy your experience! If you time manage and work hard, you'll have free time to enjoy the life of a university student.
List three pieces of advice for first-year students:
My only advice and this applies to not just University, but to life in general. Stop complaining about things you can't change (like exams, assignments....) and just do them with a positive mindset. If you know you have to do it eventually, there is no point in complaining about it.
There are many opportunities that are available, but it is up to you to actively seek them!
Lastly, at UofT we have had a number of student suicides so please if you need help, please seek mental health services either though the university or other means. You're never alone and someone will always help you. Professors, TA's, guidance helpers are very understanding so never shy away from asking for help.