Mandy (Year 2)
What made you choose this institution over all others? Did the university exceed your expectations?
University of Toronto is located in the city of Toronto where opportunities to network, engage in extracurriculars and support is unlimited. Personally, I think the location of the university plays a huge role in promoting these opportunities. Fortunately, I was a resident at New College, where I had the chance to meet so many people within my program and in other programs as well. I got to learn from other people during study sessions and had the opportunity to attend diverse workshops held by the resident student council (NCRC). Aside from resident life, my program delivers lectures and knowledge through multiple perspectives including three disciplines of kinesiology (biophysical, physical culture and behavioural). I really enjoy the variety as this expands my career options and interests. Overall, the university has exceeded my expectations during my first year at the University of Toronto.
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.
As mentioned above, there are several extracurriculars and opportunities for new experiences at the University of Toronto. I was overwhelmed with the constant reminder that the transition from high school to university will be difficult and completely disregarded seeking out for clubs or volunteer jobs. I should have planned ahead and researched a bit about what the university or my program offers. I also wish I was more engaged in my program's workshops or research opportunities to gain connections with my professor or TAs.
Briefly describe the academic rigour of your program (in terms of competitiveness, courses, professors, etc.)
The faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education provides a comprehensive curriculum that encourages students to be well-rounded. So far, most professors and lecturers were fair markers and had clear instructions however there are a few courses that are difficult in terms of content, course load, or marking scheme. For example, I would say Anatomy was one of the most difficult courses to solidly grasp content because the process of understanding takes a long time.
Describe the social life at your campus based on your own experiences (making friends, clubs + extracurriculars, party culture etc.)
Not a common opinion, but the University of Toronto does provide opportunities to strengthen social life especially from my experiences in the faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education and at New College as a resident. In my program, there are committees that plan events and activities for students to engage in sport or physical activities, research programs, and workshops. Since the program is small, it is easier to make friends. At New College, I met more friends who were extremely friendly and supportive. I do not often go to parties, however I did go to a few that were fun because of the friends I was with.
What are some of the best and worst parts of your university experience so far?
Resident life overall would be my favourite experience thus far because I enjoyed the environment and the friends I've made there. Although I liked most of my courses in my program, there were some courses that I struggled with because of difficult marking schemes.
List three effective study techniques and/or habits:
I planned fun events or hangouts with my friends on the weekend to motivate myself to finish work quicker and more efficiently
I had study buddies that helped me productively finish assignments and study
I slept early and studied early since it is quieter in common areas and libraries (I am a morning person)
List three pieces of advice for first-year students:
Look into what you are interested in and join the clubs or participate in new experiences
Get use to being uncomfortable and stepping out of your comfort zone in the context of social life and academics (the more uncomfortable you are, the more you learn)
Take the time to reflect on yourself (this way you can understand yourself better and improve self development)
Each university fits different students' personalities and needs. Especially the reputation at University of Toronto, students would need to expect difficulties and obstacles. It is easier said than done, but failure is important to learn from and persistent perseverance is necessary to become successful. Like any other university, academics and social life can be difficult, so it is suggested that students should be determined and motivated to absorb new knowledge. Although the idea of university is overwhelming, it is also crucial to know where and how to access resources such as mental health support or research experiences by reaching out to others or seeking information online or through email. Usually, courses incorporate these resources to provide opportunities and access for students.