Oceana (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.
When considering and applying to universities, I was originally attracted to the University of Toronto's highly-ranked and respected reputation among students and employers. However, among the several favourable schools I applied too, what ultimately tipped the scales was the opportunities I could gain at UofT. I have always been interested in business and technology, and I found the Management & IT specialist program especially appealing. I especially valued the co-op opportunities I would have at UTSC, as I wanted decent work experience before I graduate.
Thus far, I have been pleasantly surprised by the dedication of UTSC faculty, as well as the savviness of UTSC students. The University of Toronto is an extremely diverse school with students coming from all walks of life, which contributes to the drive and competitiveness many students possess. The diversity also made meeting people and making friends more exciting. Every one of my friends has vastly different stories, giving them unique personalities, skill sets, and opinions/ideas. Other than the opportunities UofT provides, the people are what truly make UofT a great university.
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.
The Management and Information Technology Co-op program was one of the major reasons I decided to attend UTSC. I strongly valued and looked forward to the co-op opportunities. However, it is also worth noting that if you are in a co-op program and are planning to graduate in four years, you will have to either take a full course load or a work term every semester, including summer. Nonetheless, I personally believe the grind is worth it. Having work experience before graduation is extremely valuable, especially as the labor force becomes more and more competitive.
Another aspect of the Management program that I value is the abundance of networking opportunities the program provides. Several Management clubs hold numerous networking events that focus on a variety of industries. These networking events are extremely helpful in not only meeting and connecting with professionals, but also giving you an idea of what you can expect once you enter the workforce.
What was your best experience at university?
Although it may sound cliche, the best experiences I have had thus far have been making friends and spending time with those I enjoy being around. Getting out of my comfort zone was key in meeting people. UTSC may not have the ideal "party life" that some wish to have, but the campus definitely does not lack in orientations, competitions, club activities, and networking events. Even if you are not the most sociable like me, sometimes you may stumble upon people who would assist you in future career opportunities and be a part of your life for many years.
An event I attended that I am most grateful for was the Management orientation. There, I met some of my closest friends, who are not only people I can rely on and study with but also explore new experiences and activities. I also appreciated every club I joined so far and every club event I participated in. They were great opportunities to meet new people from all programs and learn new skills in the process.
What was your least favourite experience at university?
Overall, I would say the most stressful moments of university thus far would be exam seasons. During these times, students would be assigned multiple projects, reports, and presentations on top of midterms and finals. With pressing due dates, exam seasons are easily the most overwhelming part of the university.
It is always important to maintain a positive mentality and a healthy lifestyle. Although exam seasons are demanding and busy, always dedicate a few minutes of your day to activities that help you relax and have fun. Exercise is also a great way to stay healthy while relieving stress. No matter what your healthy habits are, never sacrifice it!
What is the hardest part about your program and what were the steps that you took to overcome these hardships?
Generally, there are two types of courses in the Management program: those that are assignment-heavy and those that are test-heavy. For courses that are assignment-heavy, the majority of the grade relies on multiple assignments throughout the semester, ranging from practice questions, reports, presentations, and group projects. For some of these classes, extensive assignments are due each week, which could get draining and can pile up easily. Maintaining updated agendas is extremely important to stay up to date on assignments. Additionally, while procrastination is almost never avoidable for the majority of university students (don't lie), always try to start assignments early. You may not believe it, but it genuinely can lessen the amount of stress when tasks get overwhelming.
On the other hand, there are a handful of courses that are test-heavy, where the grade is mostly or fully dependent on quizzes and exams. This may pose a disadvantage to students who typically don't do as well on tests. It additionally diminishes the chances of bringing the final grade up. For such courses, it is important to start preparing for major exams early. Some professors may provide copies of past exams and practice exams. Always utilize these resources, as they generally help the most in preparing you for the actual exams from my experiences.
Most Management courses have harsh graders, either it be professors or teaching assistants. However, they are also extremely helpful and are always willing to provide feedback. It is important to use their suggestions to improve on future assignments.
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?
Typically, in the first couple of years of the Management program, there are not many opportunities to take electives. This is mostly due to prerequisite requirements and the design of the Management program. Thus far, I have only taken one elective in order to fulfill a breadth requirement. Introduction to Media Studies (MDSA01) is a relatively straightforward "bird course" that I would definitely recommend to those who need credit in the history/philosophy breadth requirement.
I also have a couple of elective courses I am especially looking forward to. Some of these include Personal Finance (MGFC20), International Financial Management (MGFC50), and Social Impact of Information Technology (CSCD03). While most of the electives I plan to take are related to the specialist stream I am in, there is never a limit to what you can take (just keep prerequisites in mind).