Affanullah (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 would definitely read up about what POSt is, and how you don't actually select a program until second year. This is an important concept that many incoming first years don't know about. Especially for those who are pursuing studies in CS, the POSt system may influence your choice about whether to attend U of T or not.
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.
There are different levels for most courses you have to take. For example, there are three different calculus courses that a CS student can choose from. I decided to take the easiest calculus course and I was very happy with my decision. Although each of the courses have their pros and cons, taking the least difficult course meant I had already learned all the material previously and I was able to focus more on my other courses which was beneficial to me. Furthermore, I was able to make a lot of friends outside of my program which was also nice.
What was your favourite university experience?
My best experience was meeting new people and making new friends. I felt it was very refreshing to meet new people in a new environment after four years of hanging out with the same people and seeing very few new faces. It was cool to interact with people from different parts of the world in contrast to people who live in your neighbourhood and grew up alongside yourself.
What was your least favourite university experience?
Living alone and away from home was a very challenging aspect of university life for me. It took me a few months to really get used to living alone. I felt very isolated at first from everyone and it took a long time to get over that feeling. It didn't help that a few of my courses in first semester were very challenging. It was a big adjustment.
What is the hardest part about your program and what were the steps that you took to overcome any difficulties?
The hardest part of first year CS was maintaining a high average between two courses in order to actually get accepted into the program. These courses required a very different approach to them compared to anything I ever took in high school and it took a lot of adjustment to succeed. In order to succeed, I had to really change my approach to studying and learning new concepts. I began doing every problem that was assigned and went to office hours to ask for help from my professors.
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?
I took Psychology (PSY100) as an elective and it was a pretty good experience. There wasn't a lot of work, just a few readings every week and all of the tests and exams were multiple choice questions. There was plenty of time for each of the assessments so nothing was rushed. The content was pretty interesting as well.