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Honours Mathematics at University of Waterloo

Kevin (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.

I wish I knew more about the workload in university. If you are an incoming student, you have probably heard about the heavy workload, and it's definitely true. It's critical to manage your time well.

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 definitely wish I could have learned the basics of programming before going into first year CS classes. Although they assume that you have no experience, programming skills are transferable and this definitely would have saved some hassle learning it in the first semester. The advantage was that there was a lot of help I could find with friends and profs regarding my questions.

What was your favourite university experience?

My best university experience is definitely meeting everyone in my first year. I met many amazing people from many different programs during first year and was able to enjoy university despite the heavy workload. I met so many great friends from university and they will honestly be catalysts to my success throughout the 4-5 years that I'm here.

What was your least favourite university experience?

The worst experience was definitely the workload. As I stated before, the workload in university is definitely not a joke. You have to keep up with your lectures and make sure you attend them. Falling behind is very detrimental and I had some rough times cramming material before midterms/finals.

What is the hardest part about your program and what were the steps that you took to overcome any difficulties?

I think the hardest part is definitely having good habits and staying consistent to your plan. Making a plan and following it is very hard because you are by yourself and no one is forcing you to do anything, so I needed to have self-discipline. This is important in both your academics and everyday life. Keeping the balance between academics and social life was the hardest part. To ensure I maintained a balance, I didn't procrastinate and start my assignments days before they were due, but instead I finished them relatively early. When studying for exams, study in groups so if there are any questions, you can solve them together.

What was your favourite course and why?

I really enjoyed the CS courses I took because they gave me an idea of what CS was like (since I did not have experience beforehand). In 1A I took CS135, and it taught me all the basics of functional programming. From this course I learned all the basics of computer science. In 1B, I took CS116 which taught me how to apply these skills into Python, while also learning even more applications to programming.

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