Computer Engineering at University of Waterloo
Justin (Year 2)
What made you choose this institution over all others? Did the university exceed your expectations?
I ended up choosing Waterloo due to the numerous co-op opportunities we have available throughout our program. I am really happy with how our terms are structured, with alternating study and work terms to pay off our school debt as we go through the program. I am also happy with the number of positions we have available, but during the whole pandemic the number of positions has decreased significantly.
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.
A regret I have in my first year is not socializing as much as I should have. I have been more focused on academics than meeting as many people or joining as many clubs as I could, and it would be valuable to meet more people in the program or do other activities unrelated to school.
Briefly describe the academic rigour of your program (in terms of competitiveness, courses, professors, etc.)
In my opinion, I'd say that the course load is the most difficult part of the program. Due to the nature of being accredited, there is little choice in terms of courses at the beginning. Right now I'm feeling pretty overwhelmed with the number of assignments and labs that are happening every week in 1B. Regarding professors, it can be really hit or miss depending on the course. The core courses usually have pretty great profs but some of the more obscure courses can have profs that don't really know how to be engaging or clear in their lectures.
Describe the social life at your campus based on your own experiences (making friends, clubs + extracurriculars, party culture etc.)
Everyone in your classes is going to be in the same cohort, meaning you'll be with them the whole program. It isn't really competitive and it is easy to meet these people since you're all working towards the same goal. Regarding partying and clubs/extracurriculars, I didn't really participate much in these so I don't have much to say about it.
What are some of the best and worst parts of your university experience so far?
My best experience was during co-op when I got enough responsibility to feel like I'm making a difference at the company. It feels pretty good to be relied on and trusted to accomplish things in your own way. It also feels pretty fulfilling to have more spending money. The worst part is when my courses started to pile up and I had so much anxiety about starting all of it I just didn't start anything. Going to bed when you know you wasted the day and have to cram tomorrow is a really bad feeling. I had to really figure out how I best learn and how to get myself to follow a schedule better.
List three effective study techniques and/or habits:
Get a study buddy! You can keep each other accountable and help each other out when needed.
Develop good habits. It is much more important to develop great habits instead of waiting until you happen to be motivated.
Create a work space and a play space. I liked to study at the library often so I didn't have as many distractions as I'd have at home.
List advice for first-year students:
There are numerous extra help sessions or peer tutoring you can take advantage of for almost every course, don't be afraid to take advantage of these
Try to complete your resume as early as you can. It can get overwhelming to finish it last minute along with your course content. Also make use of the resume review sessions