Biomedical Sciences at University of Waterloo

Ramneek (Year 3)

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.

I wish I knew that it is okay to not submit an assignment in on time. Sometimes it is better to take an extra day to complete the assignment and get the 5% deduction instead of rushing and handing something in that is half-fast done. Also, professors are not scary! Go to office hours, most professors appreciate it when students take the initiative to go to them for additional help. This will allow you to do two things, the first is you are able to get one on one clarification of the material and two it helps build a relationship with the professor, allowing you ask them for a recommendation letter later in your academic career. Try to join clubs and networking events and actively talk to others there. Best case scenario you make a new friend and worst case scenario you leave with some free food.

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.

I wish I knew how time consuming labs are. Labs are typically three hours long. Biology labs are every week and chemistry labs are once every two weeks. When making your schedule take this into consideration. There are three components to labs and the amount of work in each component will vary according to that specific lab you are taking. Generally, there is a prelab section where you will write a procedure for the experiment(s) you are performing for that lab and a quiz. This is done before going into the lab. Then its the lab itself where you are there for three hours getting data and doing the experiment. Finally, the post-lab where you complete a lab report. Again these vary from lab to lab but generally this is the format. Now taking three biology labs and 5 lectures can be a bit hectic. This is why I advise you to perhaps take maybe 2 biology labs and one chemistry lab. Then take that other biology lab next term. Space things out.

What was your favourite university experience?

All of the best experiences at university that come to mind surround going out with my friends to get food, go to an arcade, etc after studying for days on days for a midterm. Allowing yourself a break or an award after working hard is always beneficial and almost always yield the memories that you will look back on when thinking about your university experience.

What was your least favourite university experience?

My worst university experience would be the time when I studied for days and days for a midterm and after writing the midterm I walked out knowing that I did terrible. When I got my results it just confirmed my beliefs. After looking back at my study techniques and the type of questions asked on the midterm, I realized that it was the way I studied, ultimately made me do terribly. I changed up my study techniques and on the exam I did really well. Every bad experience you face in university is always an opportunity to learn and further your growth.

What is the hardest part about your program and what were the steps that you took to overcome any difficulties?

Hardest part would be that courses are typically very content dense and your mark is only comprised of a midterm and final. It can be challenging to keep up with the course material and typically midterm season comes faster than expected. This can lead to review the course content within just a few days before the midterm. In order to combat this, I would suggest getting a planner, using google calendar, a sticky note, whatever method works best for you but planning ahead of time is key.

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?

My favourite course taken so far would be Math 128, Calculus 2. It was my favourite course not because of the material but because of the professor who taught my section. When he was teaching you could feel his passion for the material and that made you want to study and pay attention. Whenever I went to office hours, he would make sure I left fully understanding the material I had questions about.

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