Commerce at University of Toronto (St. George)
Kareem (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.
I wish I knew about the various opportunities offered to students such as club internships, networking events, d-league sports teams as it would have made a drastic improvement to my first-year experience. I chose to go to Rotman because of its international reputation as a prestigious University that is recognized worldwide. In addition to being located in downtown Toronto creates a unique experience that is unmatched to any other institution. The advantages of Rotman includes a strong faculty of professors with extensive experience in the business world as well as career opportunities through on-campus events featuring industry professionals. The disadvantages are academic pressure by having to meet certain grade requirements to stay in the program, in addition to a competitive student atmosphere.
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 regret not being more involved around extracurricular activities such as intramurals as it is a great way to meet new people from different programs and develop a diverse community network. My advice to first-year students would be to try to maintain a healthy work-life balance during the school year, because that is the best way to achieve the results you are looking for. Additionally, ensure that you have external outlets or passions to keep a healthy state of mind. Most importantly, seek assistance from student peers, upper years, or academic advisors if you ever feel stressed or anxious about anything.
What was your favourite university experience?
My favourite experience was going to the Athletic Center and playing basketball with friends during free time. This was a great way for me to clear my mind from all the stressful work and exams. As well as the opportunity to make new friends and socialize with students from different parts of the world since UofT has a dominant international demographic.
What was your least favourite university experience?
The worst experience was all the times I had to commute for early morning and late night classes. It was especially difficult during winter time when there were lots of delays on public transit and living an hour away from campus didn't help. However, this taught me the importance of better managing my schedule to accommodate for the long commute.
What is the hardest part about your program and what were the steps that you took to overcome any difficulties?
The most difficult aspect for me was having to learn all the academic material mainly on my own, as I didn’t know many people or resources early on. This was especially challenging at Rotman since it is a rigorous program that requires an extensive amount of time and effort. As a result, it became crucial to make new connections and form study groups as it greatly eased off the pressure and workload. With regards to group projects, it's best to get to know each member first, as this helps identify different strengths and weaknesses within the group. In addition to keeping everyone accountable for their own task to limit conflict from arising.
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 elective was Astronomy (AST101) because I have a natural curiosity for space and the universe, so I found this course to be very interesting. This course also includes a planetarium which is a projected simulation of planets and constellations making it a unique learning experience. In addition to being a relatively easy course, it helped take away some of the academic pressure and drastically reduced the workload of that semester.
It's important to recognize that since we are all graduating with similar degrees, it's the skills you develop, the experiences you have, and the people you meet that will land you a job in a competitive environment like Toronto. So focus on what matters most and everything will fall in place.