Eeman (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 was interested in going to the University of Toronto because of its highly distinguished engineering program. I was intrigued by the various specializations offered in my program, which was ultimately the deciding factor for me when it came to choose. I also liked the idea of being on a campus that was integrated in downtown.
If I had to give one piece of advice to incoming students, I would tell them not to be afraid to reach out for help. UofT has the reputation of being difficult and competitive which left me too intimidated to ask for help when I needed it. It was difficult to raise a question in class and sometimes even to friends. But, as soon as I started to do so, everything got a lot easier. From academic advisors to office hours, there are many great resources on campus that provide additional support for anyone who needs it. These resources helped me a lot in my first year and I would highly encourage students to use them.
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.
Engineering Science has the reputation of being extremely difficult. When starting off my first year, I was terrified as I had no experience in various concepts that my peers were highly proficient in (ie: Python, Integration, etc.). This made me doubtful of my abilites and I remained hesitant to ask for clarifications. But after making friends in my program, I found out that many of my peers were going through a very similar situation as I was. This reassured me and I realized that any question I may have during a lecture, it was likely there were other people who were wondering the same thing.
With assessments, I had a very different experience than the one I did in high school. In high school I was used to being an overachiever, getting high marks in all my classes. But when I came to EngSci, I was surrounded with peers who were equally as smart, if not smarter than me and the assessments were made to really challenge us. As a result, I struggled a lot with self-confidence when I wrote assessments when I would be getting marks that were way below what I was used to. But again, I was not alone in this situation. Most of my peers were also getting grades similar to mine and we were reassured by many professors and teaching staff that our grades were what was expected of us and we were on track.
What was your favourite university experience?
My best experiences at university would not be possible without my friends. Having them as my support system got me through my first year. My friends and I would spend hours in the library working on assignments where we would take breaks to relax and have fun, watching Netflix or making TikToks. We would also often explore downtown, finding our favourite coffee, bubble tea, and food spots.
What was your least favourite university experience?
There were moments in university where I felt overwhelmed with my coursework, unsure of how I would manage to complete it all. This really affected my mental health at first, and I felt like I was failing. But I learned that in university, it is important to manage and prioritize, giving precedence to the assignments that may be assigned a higher mark distribution. I also wish that I was not afraid to reach out for help at a sooner time. The teaching staff and other resources on campus really helped me clarify concepts and organize my time wisely.
What is the hardest part about your program and what were the steps that you took to overcome any difficulties?
The most difficult part of EngSci was definitely how fast the pace of lectures were. The amount of content we were expected to learn in that time was stressful and often hard to follow. Most times, I would spend the lecture taking notes and would not have enough time to fully comprehend the concepts being taught to us. As a result, I had to spend a lot of time outside of class to go over concepts and learn them on my own, especially when there was no additional homework assigned that may have helped clarify these topics.
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?
My favourite course was ESC180. This was the Introduction to Programming course and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I had never programmed before and although many of my peers had, I felt as though this course was a perfect way for me to be able to program at a level that my experienced peers could. This course was my favourite because of my professor. At the beginning, I was intimidated by the level of knowledge of my peers and was unsure how I would be able to complete projects and labs that were designed for us. But, our professor explained concepts extremely well and went at a pace that was comfortable for a beginner programmer like me. He always encouraged questions and created a comfortable environment where I did not feel discouraged to ask for clarification.