Matthew (Year 3)
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.
Reputation was one of the main factors for choosing U of T over others. It is for one of the top engineering schools in Canada, and the fact that it was nearby made it a solid choice. A major advantage of U of T is the size of the institution, and all of the resources that you have access to. There are tons of extra curricular clubs that you can get involved in as well, so there is definitely something for everyone. Incoming students should know that you need to be prepared to put in a lot more time in studying/doing work than you did in high school. You can't study at the last moment and expect to do well like you could in high school.
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.
Some mistakes that I would have liked to correct are definitely my studying/work habits. Sometimes it was pretty difficult to be motivated to study, which led to procrastination and results below my own expectations. Another thing to note is that the period around midterms is heavily packed, especially in the second semester of second year. You will have to complete assignments, learn new material, and review older material for midterms simultaneously. Make sure you use reading week to your advantage, as it is very easy to waste time.
What was your favourite university experience?
My best experience at university was definitely finishing my last exam of every semester. You can finally relax.
What was your least favourite university experience?
Although the midterm period is very busy, I would say the finals period was worse for me. I found it very easy to lose motivation when studying for exams, especially since you have more content to review than you do for midterms. Finals are definitely more stressful as well, as they are weighted much heavier (sometimes 60%!!!)
What is the hardest part about your program and what were the steps that you took to overcome any difficulties?
In my experience, the hardest part is to stay motivated. Your motivation and energy levels will determine how well you do in classes, as well how happy you will be throughout the semesters. Eating well and having a consistent sleep schedule will also help with this, although the latter is much harder than it sounds. If you don't have motivation, you won't want to study, go to classes, put in effort, etc.
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?
I enjoyed Computer Organization (ECE243) a lot, which occurs in the second semester of second year. It's a course that studies the fundamentals of how computers work and the low level languages that interact with the hardware. You will study assembly (ARM) and also code your own CPU with your own instruction set, which was definitely one of my favourite labs.