Justine (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.
First the co-op program! UW is known for their co-op program, so I knew whichever program I choose to accept at Waterloo had to include co-op, and Arts and Business does. I start my first co-op term in January, and already the university has been great help in preparation for it. In addition, I love that in my program I can study half business classes, and half humanities classes to get a strong balance of both. There are many majors and minors to choose from in ARBUS, and you're not required to stick to one major until the end of first year, so you have lots of time to explore your passions! I always felt motivated on campus with everyone working hard. The only piece of advice I can give to incoming arts students is don't get discouraged because you're in arts and other people are in engineering or science. We are all on unique paths that are based on our individual goals.
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.
I was originally going to go into the Global Business and Digital Arts program, however when I was applying to place I wasn't sure what I wanted to do, and to be honest I am still unsure what I want to do. This is why Arts and Business is such a great program, it teaches you important business skills such as accounting, marketing, and finance, but you still have the option to study something else and have the option to change your plan. I am majoring in Speech Communications (now Communication Studies), this allows me to learn important skills such as public speaking, theories of communication, and interpersonal communication. One thing I did, and I can't stress enough is to plan your classes, and to make sure you are taking classes that matter. I have the classes for ARBUS, ,my major and minor, as well as the BA requirements in a spreadsheet, which helps me know what to take for the upcoming semester, as well as being able to track my grades and make sure I don't fall behind. There is nothing I would have changed. This is a fantastic program if you're interested in business, but don't want to go as far as a BBA degree. This program allows you to choose a major in social sciences, humanities, arts, and so on. The minor option allows you to take a small amount of those classes, and still be recognized for it, I am doing my minor in BET with the Conrad School of Entrepreneurship and Business.
What was your favourite university experience?
It has been meeting so many new people. There are so many students coming to Waterloo, the people to meet are endless! It is true the social life at UW is lacking, however there are so many clubs and activities to take part in. I was part of the Waterloo Entrepreneur club first year, and now I am a leader for the Off Campus Community.
What was your least favourite university experience?
My worst experience was not being mentally prepared first year for the workload. My classes were all interested and I never missed a class, but outside of class time I wasn't putting in as much work as I should have been doing. My first semester my grades were not up to par. Which in my second semester I had to work extra hard and up my entire average. If I put in the work first semester, I wouldn't have been as stressed second semester. But regardless of what happened it was a great wake up call to say you need to put in so much more work than you did in high school.
What is the hardest part about your program and what were the steps that you took to overcome any difficulties?
As mentioned before, it was my study habits. This made getting good grades and excelling in my program quite hard. The way I studied in high school was non-existent, I never studied too hard for tests or exams, but that needed to change in university. What I ended up doing was having to create study habits to ensure I got high grades. For my economics and accounting classes the best way to study is by completing the problems, work through them. However for business or other exams, the best tips I can give you is to go through your notes and write down the key/ important terms on a separate paper and study from there! Find previous quizzes, go through your old test/midterms, or study with a friend! The key to studying, is to find what works best for you. What I do may not work for you, but these tips made me successful in my second semester when I was improving my grades.
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 class I took was in second semester which was SPCOM 100. This class was learning about interpersonal communication, and how we use verbal and non-verbal theories in various settings. This was in a small class setting of 30 students, so we got the benefit of working with each other.