Jessica (Year 3)
What made you choose this institution over all others? Did the university exceed your expectations?
What originally enticed me about the University of Waterloo was their co-op program that provides students with relevant work experience. However, the science-related opportunities are definitely lacking in comparison to many other programs. When speaking to students attending other universities, this seems to be a common occurrence.
Waterloo was also a very familiar institution to me since my older brother attended university here. It was far enough so that I could live on my own and develop more independence, but close enough to still be able to visit my family frequently. This made the transition to university life much more manageable for me.
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.
My biggest regret is not learning the importance of balance. University shouldn't just be solely about academics. It's a chance to also discover new opportunities and meet all kinds of people. Being too caught up on one aspect is extremely detrimental.
Briefly describe the academic rigour of your program (in terms of competitiveness, courses, professors, etc.)
In order to thrive, you MUST have solid study habits and time management skills to ensure you don't fall behind. First-year is somewhat forgiving and essentially reinforces the importance of building these habits & skills since the majority of the content will be review. However during second year and beyond, the development of these skills are crucial for success. The amount of effort and initiative you put into your studies will definitely determine your success in the program.
Describe the social life at your campus based on your own experiences (making friends, clubs + extracurriculars, party culture etc.)
The majority of the students are more reserved and to themselves at Waterloo. Meeting people on campus definitely involves putting yourself out there and approaching people first instead of expecting to be approached first. I've found that the easiest way to make friends are through common associations such as being in the same program, extracurricular, etc. Since Waterloo is a highly academic environment, many of the relationships you develop tend to be surface-level. Still, it's all about putting yourself out there and your willingness to meet people that will determine the quality of your friendships here!
What are some of the best and worst parts of your university experience so far?
One of the greatest parts of university thus far is the greater sense of independence. Unlike all the previous years of your life, no one can tell you what you can't or cannot do. With this idea being new to me, some of my greatest and worst experiences have arisen.
List three effective study techniques and/or habits:
Studying with friends
Going through course content daily
Utilizing different resources
List advice for first-year students:
Balance is key!
Be open to new opportunities
Do everything with purpose
Be resilient- don't let a tiny setback stop you from achieving what you want to accomplish
Immerse yourself in different fields
Meet different people in different faculties and different walks of life
Don't be afraid to fail!