Kinesiology at University of Toronto (St. George)
Tracy (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 UofT because of the extensive research and placement opportunities that are available. From clinical placements to studying abroad, there are so many things to do to really make that university experience both fun but also beneficial. I think that many students could get so caught up with studying in their first year that they forget to join clubs or hang out with friends and relax. However, with the campus situated in the heart of Downtown Toronto, there's a beautiful balance of a school environment and the city life. You can easily walk for five minutes and find a bubble tea shop or a nice place to eat. The only thing that I wish I would've known before going to UofT would be that it's entirely possible to have two classes back-to-back on complete opposite sides of the campus. It's definitely a good idea to check where your lectures are being held and plan out your route beforehand so you don't have to run.
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 would've known that there's limited flexibility to take elective courses in the first two years. In addition, the courses you take starting from first year are not general courses such as Chemistry or Biology, but they are very geared towards the area of Kinesiology such as Fundamentals of Human Movement. However as a result, the program is designed so that you meet most, if not all, academic requirements for Exercise Science, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Kinesiology graduate programs. If you need to take certain courses to fulfill a minor, prepare for medical school or you have other interests, it would be a good idea to meet with the academic advisor at the beginning of the term to plan out your degree.
What was your favourite university experience?
My best experience at university was orientation week where I met some of my closest friends. The various team games and outdoor events really helped me relax and open up to others. It was a great way to meet and talk to new people from both my faculty and others.
What was your least favourite university experience?
My worst university experience I had was taking an elective course in the winter that ended fairly late at night. As I had to take the subway and GO train alone, I would sometimes end up leaving lectures earlier than I wanted to in order to get home safely and have time to work on assignments.
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 of the kin program is studying for practical exams. They're very different from the standard multiple choice, short-answer or essay-type exams. At first I was very nervous because I didn't even know where to start. I found it very helpful to approach upper-years that have taken these courses and can give advice. Contrary to what you may think, many of them are very friendly and are willing to provide help. By attending all the classes and doing the hands-on activities, you are already pretty prepared. Rather than just re-reading the notes you took, it is much better to make sure you understand why you are doing these activities. In addition, I have learned to make variations to the in-class activities and apply them to other real-life situations. Professors will never test you by asking directly what was written on the slide or use the same examples they did when lecturing. In one of the courses I struggled a little bit more in, I would always try to study with a friend or in a small group so I could ask questions and we could test each other. I found it easier to understand the material when we discussed it together and explained the concepts to each other.
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 Elementary Human Anatomy (ANA126) because it was fascinating learning about the entire human body and being able to gain hands-on experience in cadaver labs. As a more visual learner, the labs really helped me to lock in what was taught during the lectures. Although it was very fast-paced despite being a year-long course, I found it to be very informative and useful. I was always able to get detailed answers to my questions from TA's.