Nicholas (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 wish I knew how large the campus was. I went on campus for presentations but I never went on an actual tour. I think in first year, the size of the campus definitely got to me a little bit, as it took a while to get from class to class. Since I commute, it was a lot harder for me to travel around campus as I had to carry all my stuff with me the whole day, in comparison to people who might live on residence and can bring what they need for a specific class without having to carry so many textbooks and notebooks.
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 wish I knew how many non-science related courses (general education courses) we would be required to take. Regardless if you are in the BA stream or BSc stream, both degrees require students to take 1 full year course of social sciences, 1 full year course of humanities, and 1 full year course of natural sciences. I really do not enjoy doing social sciences as it requires a lot of essay writing in comparison to science courses, but regardless of what degree you’re taking, it is mandatory. This is something I think is a disadvantage as many first years in other schools do not have to take mandatory courses. Also in first year there are only 2 mandatory kinesiology courses so that we can fill the rest of our schedule with general education courses or science courses. I wish there were more kinesiology courses we could take in first year like anatomy or physiology like other schools offer, whereas, at York, we can only take them in second year. This made my first year a bit more focused on other things not related to kinesiology, which can make students uninterested after their first year.
What was your favourite university experience?
My best experience at university was probably the environment that York gives. I think everyone in kinesiology is very friendly and I had a lot of help from my upper year friends as they were really supportive. The friends I made were great and studying with them and getting dinner with them was always amazing. The program itself was also an amazing experience as I learned so much in first year. Overall, the vibe at York was very calm and relaxing during the day.
What was your least favourite university experience?
I think my worst experience at university is the fact that as a commuter, we have to carry a lot of stuff at school 24/7. Unlike people in residence, commuters have to bring a day's worth of work to school and it is always a hassle bringing bags around campus. In kinesiology we have practical kinesiology courses which are essentially a gym class each term. Therefore, I had to bring my gym bag with me, and also my school bag which included my laptop, my lunch, my notebooks and textbooks, so bringing around that much stuff around campus was definitely the worst part. On top of that, when playing intramurals, since I had my laptop and everything on me when I was at the gym, I had my laptop and phone stolen since I had to keep it in my bag.
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 about my program is the amount of work we had in first year. Since kinesiology is science based, on top of our lectures, we usually have 2 hour labs, or tutorials. We also have our practical kinesiology courses as well so we essentially have 6 courses we take each term relative to the 5 that most university students take. The best steps that a first year could take is to start good time management habits early, and I mean as early as the first week. I was able to succeed in first year because I always kept up with work and never fell behind in any of my courses. Getting good grades is definitely possible if you put in the work and hours into learning the material and staying up to date with all the work.
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 first year was Kine 1020: Fitness and Health. It is a full year mandatory course that all first years have to take. The evaluation of the course is very straightforward as it is just one midterm at the end of the first term and a final exam at the end of the 2nd term. There are also biweekly labs for marks as well. This course was my favourite as it went over the prerequisite knowledge all kinesiology majors should know about fitness and health. It was my most interesting course all year and the professors are all really engaging and fun to be in class with. They are also really knowledgeable and Professor Riddel is one of the lead researchers in the field of diabetes and he is hilarious.
York is what you make of it. Ignore what people say about its bad reputation - education is education and at the end of the day, and most employers don't really care what school you come from. People also are skeptical because they need to commute but commuting really isn't that bad; you can have some alone time to reflect and plan out your day, you can nap, listen to a podcast, or listen to music. My overall advice is that university is what you make of it and make sure you make it a positive environment.