Sarah (Year 2)
What made you choose this institution over all others? Did the university exceed your expectations?
I chose Western because of the great student community and their unique psychology program. In regards to the social aspect, the university exceeded my expectations with how much guidance I was given as well as with how friendly everyone is.
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.
I definitely wish I put myself out there more especially during OWeek. My mentors were extremely helpful and I could have taken advantage of them a little more. Also, going into first year, I think I could’ve focused more on my marks. I was a little uninformed about certain requirements for my program so I slacked a bit.
Briefly describe the academic rigour of your program (in terms of competitiveness, courses, professors, etc.)
I am currently Social Science and majoring in Psychology and I am working towards and shadowing the Honours Psychology (BSc) module. So my first year was considered rigorous for a psychology student. It was required of me to take math, chemistry, and biology which I found challenging but were completely doable. In regards to the marking schemes of these courses, the professors make sure to add components that are mark boosters in order to raise our marks such as labs, weekly quizzes, and easy assignments. That being said, I always found my mark inflated by the end of the course despite thinking I did badly. In regards to professors, I had some good ones and some bad. My Psychology professor (Atkinson) was definitely the best professor I’ve had so far. His teaching style is very engaging and he really cares about his students. Although his exams are a little bit more challenging than the other professor in the department, they were still fair if you paid attention in lecture and it is definitely worth taking his class. Both my chemistry professors are good. But I thought the course itself was very challenging. I recommend keeping up with everything and using your resources to the max for this course (Help centre, office hours, group studying). For biology and math, my professors were not that great but I was able to self teach for most of it since those 2 courses are textbook based.
Describe the social life at your campus based on your own experiences (making friends, clubs + extracurriculars, party culture etc.)
Western is known for its social life and I definitely saw that coming in. During OWeek, our Sophs helped us throughout the chaos. They led floor activities so we could get to know our floor-mates and it was quick to make friends with them because of that. We also had a faculty group that organized activities within our faculty so we can meet people in our program/classes. I was able to meet people in psychology which helped because we would buy textbooks and walk to class together during the first few weeks. Over the rest of the year I would meet people in my lectures and was added to study groups for my classes. I found that people were enthusiastic to talk to others and help each other out. In regards to extracurriculars, there were club fairs that were displayed a couple times. There are faculty clubs, councils, activities, and more. They are very vocal during these fairs so you won’t be in the dark about what clubs exist at Western. In regards to party culture, it’s wild. Just stay safe and call a friend or one of your Sophs in any situation.
What are some of the best and worst parts of your university experience so far?
The best experience by far was OWeek. I wish I went to more events and gone out to meet more people but it was still the best time. Make the most of it because it’s definitely worth the hype. The worst experience was probably bombing a math exam and coming close to failing the course. But referring back to inflation of marks, I ended up misinterpreting how low my mark would be.
List three effective study techniques and/or habits:
SOPHS (they gave us a google drive full of notes and summaries for every course)
Studying with friends
Handwriting notes (NOT typing)
List advice for first-year students:
Make good friends. Quality > quantity. It’ll take effort to stay friends in a large campus. Find people who care enough to meet up.
If you have the option, live in residence.