Computer Science Co-op at University of Waterloo
Updated: Jul 5, 2020
Tianhui (Year 2)
What made you choose this institution over all others? Did the university exceed your expectations?
As an institution with a reputation for preparing students for the workforce through the renowned co-op program, I was convinced to go to Waterloo for Computer Science. The university met my expectations but I'm not sure if I would consider it to have exceeded my expectations. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the current economic climate has declined a fair degree, resulting in less job opportunities for a lot of co-op students. As such, I found it a lot more difficult to attain a co-op as a first year student. Other than that, I was pleased with the student environment and support from the academic staff.
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.
Something I regret in first year is not reaching out for help more from my professors. This includes attending office hours and asking more questions in class. Doing so would have aided me in deepening my understanding of more complex concepts taught in class - particularly in my math courses.
Briefly describe the academic rigour of your program (in terms of competitiveness, courses, professors, etc.)
I would consider Computer Science to be a more rigorous program than average - and I think this comes as no surprise. There are a few math courses that are notorious for being difficult, such as Math 135. I consider the grading to be fair as the professors and TAs justify their marking scheme and always provide constructive criticism when returning grades.
Describe the social life at your campus based on your own experiences (making friends, clubs + extracurriculars, party culture etc.)
Although UWaterloo is not known for having an astounding social environment, I found it really easy to make friends and find a group of students that I trust and feel comfortable with. This comes with finding friends to study with and talking to other students in classes. There are also numerous on-campus events, such as educational workshops and first year social activities. The party culture is also decent at UWaterloo. Although it's not as exciting as WesternU or LaurierU, there are a decent number of parties and clubs around the area.
What are some of the best and worst parts of your university experience so far?
My best experience was definitely finding a really fun and genuine group of friends. A hick-up was my journey of finding my co-op. Instead of finding my placement in March/April, I ended up finding it in June. I am, however, really grateful that I have a job now and it was a great learning experience for resume and interview development.
List three effective study techniques and/or habits:
FRIENDS - my friends really helped me out because we regularly study together
Staying organized with my notes and deadlines
Finding a comfortable environment for studying - I explored spots on campus to find my favourite spots!
List advice for first-year students:
Don't worry if the first few weeks are rough - it will get better! Just keep studying hard and your work will eventually pay off :)