Computer Science/Risk Management Co-op at University of Waterloo
Aasritha (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.
The main reason I chose the University of Waterloo was for it's co-op program. I was well-aware of the quality of this program and knew that it would be beneficial for my future career goals. One thing I did wish I knew before was how the coop study schedule worked. I knew it was going to be somewhat different from the regular way but still was not a 100% sure as there was no clear way to find out.
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 do wish that there were better ways to help me be more well prepared for what was to come in university. Especially in the beginning, I did feel everything was a bit rushed and I found myself taking quite a bit of time to get used to things.
What was your favourite university experience?
My best experience was definitely engaging with people who have similar goals and interests as me. Being able to relate to them, have meaningful conversations and struggling together with assignments and tests is what really kept me going throughout the year.
What was your least favourite university experience?
It was probably my first weekend at university. It was my first time coding and we were given as assignment. I was a late arrival so I missed the introductory classes and was still trying to figure out how things worked. I remember having a mental breakdown because I was questioning myself on whether I could handle university or not. After a few hours, I was finally able to calm down and get my work done.
What is the hardest part about your program and what were the steps that you took to overcome any difficulties?
I think the hardest part is definitely the content and the competitive nature. Students are quite competitive, while for some this works as motivation to help them work hard(which was fortunately the case for me) but for some it really puts them down and gives way to the imposter syndrome where you feel like you aren't good enough or that you don't belong here. I would say the university and the program take quite a while to get used to, it could really go either direction for a person.
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 would say my favourite course was Math 137(Honours Calculus 1). The main reason for this is definitely the professor. The professor I had for this course, Prof Dan, was one of the best teachers I have ever had. He was so passionate about what he was doing and about Calculus which really inspired me to learn more and try harder in his course. The way he taught the material, the organization of the lectures as well as the math puns he would have in the beginning of the course were what really brought this course up. He is a very well known and respected professor in the Math Faculty, so I would recommend anyone who has an option to take his class to do so because you will definitely not regret it!
For anyone coming into Waterloo for CS, I would definitely recommending brushing up on your coding skills or for people who have never coded before(even if you are a regular Math student or CS) make sure to at least learn some basics before classes begin because everything is very fast paced so it is always good to have a head start:)