Carlos (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.
Well for one the commute wasn't that bad compared to other unis that I applied to. Also didn't really want to shell money for residence for first year! UofT offers a lot of opportunities if you ACTIVELY search for it... and I believe it really does help you prepare for graduate studies and/or your profession. Number 1 tip - I know it's been said a lot, but really do manage your time. I like to finish my lab reports the week it's due and do the prelab in the same week so when I actually have the labs I won't have as much work to do!
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.
Frankly, I can't speak much about this since I haven't taken any Global Health/Pharma courses as of yet. I, however, did take some math courses so I can speak on the maths part of it. The stats department are apparently notoriously known for being disorganized with few good professors that teach in the field - so take that as you will! A stats background does help tremendously though.
What was your favourite university experience?
This is a subjective question as we all value things differently. I for one think the best experience at university was purely just hanging out, studying with my friends between classes or just simply going to the gym with them. There's definitely a good social life here if you, aforementioned, manage your time wisely.
What was your least favourite university experience?
To be frank, I don't think I have had much bad experiences with UofT thus far.. I've had a very pleasant first year - both socially and academically so I am happy.
What is the hardest part about your program and what were the steps that you took to overcome any difficulties?
Probably memorization and how those factors connect with one another. One difficult course that I found was MAT136. Note: 1st half was relatively straightforward, 2nd half was brutal. The professor tried her best at teaching the concepts, but imo it was all over the place and in her lectures we only got to complete 1/2 questions. I ended up just teaching the concepts to myself via YouTube or reading the textbook. You rarely work with others in a life science program, the only time I worked with others was in MAT135/136 where I had to do a group presentation. If they don't cooperate you can simply either a: find another partner (the TAs are flexible with this), b: just email the TA with your concerns. I usually end up doing ok in courses (3.83 cGPA), I tend to just do problem sets over and over when it comes to exams/midterms, or if it's memorization I just read over my notes on a Google docs!
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?
PSL301 so far. Honestly one of the first courses at UofT where I've genuinely learned something new - something that extends my knowledge from high school. Not exactly considered a bird course, but definitely take it if you're interested in how the body copes in different situations and as a whole, work.