Paula (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.
Choosing an institution is difficult. Personally, I chose UTSC because of the co-op program. I really wanted to do co-op and still be near/in Toronto which is filled with research opportunities. I was very worried about the negative stigma surrounding UofT but I have really enjoyed it. I wish I had not focused so much on the negative. I went into the school expecting the worse. It is important to go in with an open mind and a willingness to adapt. If you go in thinking it will be terrible you will find every tiny detail wrong with the place. The Scarborough campus does not have as much of a competitive atmosphere as St. George, making the experience a bit better for undergraduates.
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.
Knowing how much work I would have to put into co-op would have been good. I did not expect it to add as much work as it does. However, I would not change my program if I could go back. I still love it. I just wish I was more prepared at first. Doing research about your program in more detail is really important. You should know what you are getting yourself into so you can be fully prepared. There was a lot about my program I did not know. I did not know you had to apply for your program after first year even though you already got into the school. This took me by surprise at school and caused me some stress.
What was your favourite university experience?
Co-op has been my best experience. I have learned a lot from taking part in the workforce. My supervisors have been like mentors to me. Additionally, all of the support with the job application process by the co-op department is extremely helpful.
What was your least favourite university experience?
I have had some encounters with really negative students. I had a student be extremely rude to me after asking for my help. I helped them with what they needed and they proceeded to treat me poorly. I do not know why this occurs but students can have a competitive nature to them.
What is the hardest part about your program and what were the steps that you took to overcome any difficulties?
Being in co-op means a lot of extra work. During many semesters you have to take an additional co-op course which is worth no credits. This leads to a heavier course load. Additionally, the semester you are applying for jobs is extremely heavy as well. Creating a balanced schedule and reaching out for help when needed is extremely important. Knowing when to ask for help and how to prioritize is also essential.
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?
Applied Multiple Regressions in Psychology (PSYC09) has been my favourite course. Here, I was able to learn a lot about data analysis. Even more importantly, I generated many essential skills for research. The class was small (about 20 students) which meant a lot more attention and help from the professor. I also love the professor for this course because of her amazing teaching skills.