Anonymous (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.
Western's campus is quite nice, I liked the energy when I initially did my tour. The university's orientation program is also quite renowned, so have fun during Oweek and don't be afraid to talk to your sophs, both faculty and residence. You'll make great friends out of them!
Food in residence was alright, but felt like it declined slowly as the year progressed aha.
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.
To be honest, I wish I did more research. My program is definitely less sciencey than what I had anticipated, which for me was a "disadvantage" but may not be for someone else. I still liked the content and profs, though, and also did enjoy the biology and chemistry courses that I took.
If you're coming into Health Sciences at Western, be prepared to take a more social perspective on health in the health science classes. You have tons of space for electives though, so if you're interested in the Health Sciences with Biology module, look into what courses you need for that. I believe you would need to take chemistry and a math course in first year to apply for the module, and maintain the grade requirements.
What was your favourite university experience?
Living in residence and developing friendships with my roommates and floormates was the best part of my first year experience. You truly make memories of a lifetime with these people. My orientation leaders and Residence Advisor were also fantastic. They helped me through tougher times and encouraged me to put myself out there when making friends or applying for clubs + leadership roles.
What was your least favourite university experience?
When the main bus route was cancelled due to construction during winter. It was quite poor timing. I went to lecture cold and wet.
Another thing was feeling like I didn't quite fit in with Western's general outgoing, party-like atmosphere. As a quiet, reserved person, I was worried at the beginning of the year whether or not I was going to enjoy myself and make friends. But you do eventually learn that taking things at your own pace is totally okay, and I am ultimately very happy with how my first year went.
What is the hardest part about your program and what were the steps that you took to overcome any difficulties?
In terms of studying, try making your notes based on the questions you come up with during lecture! Format them in a way that's easy for you to understand, and to see if you retained / learned the info, test yourself with those same questions before exams.
I think one of the hardest parts was figuring out how I wanted to take notes, both during and after lecture. It's definitely trial and error, but doing your readings before class and taking notes on those helps a lot. I ended up taking live notes and filling the gaps in later.
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 in my first year would be Business 1220e, which was the most challenging course I took this year but also the most rewarding. Class sizes were small, so you got to know your classmates well as the year progressed. The content goes through several business concepts, and were made extremely engaging by my lecturer. He was funny, knew his stuff, and genuinely cared about your success. As an Ivey hopeful, this course was a decent introduction to the case study method used by the HBA program.
Another favourite of mine is chemistry 1301a / 1302b, honestly mostly because the chemistry department is extremely organized at Western. The workbooks are clear and horizontally formatted, so you have space to write notes. The labs were fun, educational, and felt very professional. I had great profs as well, especially one (Prof Lee) who made going to class at 8:30am on the other side of campus worth it.