Maggie (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 chose U of T because I wanted to study Engineering Science, in particular, Engineering Physics, and it was one of the few schools that offered the program. I wanted to learn a bit of everything — not just engineering, but also physics, math, and even a bit of biology. I was also interested in doing research, and there were many opportunities to get involved at U of T, and specifically within the division of EngSci. I also enjoyed exploring Toronto during my free time.
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.
Before coming to university, I had heard that Engineering Science is very hard, and that I would lose a lot of sleep, and that not even taking IB or AP would help me. Having done nothing related to engineering in high school other than the mandatory classes, I was terrified of not doing well and took every failure to heart at the very beginning. I didn't realize that it's okay to be confused during a lecture, because chances are, so is everyone else. It's important to take time and allow yourself to get used to learning in university. In addition, there is a course where you learn Python. Because I was so nervous and I had never coded before, I practised the summer before. It really helped me balance my course load, because I didn't have to learn something new completely from scratch.
What was your favourite university experience?
Hanging out with my friends during lunch breaks and complaining about our courses together. Every first-year student takes the same courses each semester, and students are split into two cohorts, each of which has the same lecture schedule. Because of the heavy schedule, we usually have a hour-long lunch break between classes every day. Building a mat-board bridge was also a lot of fun!
What was your least favourite university experience?
Almost failing my first assignment and midterm for my design course. I wish I'd known to reach out for help earlier, and knew that it was okay to fail.
What is the hardest part about your program and what were the steps that you took to overcome any difficulties?
The hardest part was probably getting used to the unfamiliar environment and course load. Getting used to the pace of lecture was difficult and very frustrating at first. I had to figure out how to study on my own, especially when I didn't understand lecture content immediately and there was no homework assigned. This included reading over my lecture notes, as well as looking through textbook questions and past exams.
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?
Linear algebra — the textbook is written from the perspective of a time-travelling math professor and the course instructors were really great. It was a different perspective from my other engineering courses.