Eileen (Year 2)
What made you choose this institution over all others? Did the university exceed your expectations?
Waterloo has a very appealing co-op program that is the most standout among all other Canadian universities. I strongly value job experience and although internships can be found outside of a coop program, the Waterloo coop system is extremely helpful to connect to a broader list of companies that are looking for student interns, many of which are reserved specifically for Waterloo coops only. I had positive thoughts about Waterloo going in, so overall I would say that Waterloo met them.
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 could’ve tried harder to make more friends in my program at the beginning of the year but I am content with the friends I did manage to get close with, and will remain open to creating new friendships as I still have many more years to go.
Briefly describe the academic rigour of your program (in terms of competitiveness, courses, professors, etc.)
First term was relatively simple as the math and science courses were a lot of high school review (it is dependent on your own high school and the region's curriculum, I learned that some province’s curriculums taught less topics in high schools than others). It was definitely more overwhelming than high school as I spent much more time doing homework, studying and completing group assignments than I did in any year of high school. However I do feel that time passed by really quickly so the next time I feel burdened with the amount of work, I remind myself that it’s temporary and that it can get done.
Describe the social life at your campus based on your own experiences (making friends, clubs + extracurriculars, party culture etc.)
Being an engineer basically strips away a lot of opportunities for extracurriculars and constant party culture. Waterloo itself doesn’t have the most colourful party culture, but they’re there if you know the right people. Extracurriculars are definitely possible as long as you are dedicated to do them, I joined the intramural ultimate frisbee team as well as CSA (Chinese Student Association) with no burden to my studies as I made an effort to plan my time wisely.
What are some of the best and worst parts of your university experience so far?
Studying late into the night preparing for midterms and finals are probably some of the best and worst parts of my experience. The dread and fear that comes with preparing for an exam the next day makes it the worst, but I study with friends a lot of the time and when everyone’s stress and exhaustion kicks in late at night while studying, that’s when some of the funniest memories come in.
List three effective study techniques and/or habits:
Working out regularly
Find friends to study with
List three pieces of advice for first-year students:
Put your health first
Grades really don’t matter nearly as much as they did in high school
Focus on your personal transition into the campus lifestyle