Mechatronics at University of Waterloo
Jason (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 UW for it's coop program, and it doesn't disappoint. The WEEF TAs are a great resource since you can drop in and ask for help which most will be needing. The suite style residences are very old and (imo) a bit dirty. Tip 1: Explore the city, UPass is included in your WatCard so GRT rides are free. Tip 2: Don't put too much onto your meal plan, there are nearby restaurants that are pretty good and not that expensive. There's also grocery stores that you can get to by GRT. Tip 3: Make nice with your roommates since they can make your experience in rez great or hellish.
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.
Focus on the hard courses and try to actually understand them. Engineering programs all have nice mandatory coop programs. Tip 1: Work on your resume and selling your abilities since you'll need it in a month or two. Tip 2: Schedule your day to the hour so that you can make the most of downtime between lectures/tutorials. Tip 3: Make use of the coop related workshops to help find jobs.
What was your favourite university experience?
GENE Final Project was pretty good. 1A ended with a project where you made a robot with very little restrictions except parts.
What was your least favourite university experience?
Nothing really bad stands out but I guess the club fair and design team fairs could last a bit longer and so people can go at different times and not be as crowded.
What is the hardest part about your program and what were the steps that you took to overcome any difficulties?
There's usually a hard course each term that needs more attention than the others. It's helpful to just spend a bit more time condensing notes for that course. It's helpful to make use of any posted course notes or slides so you focus more on the lecture than writing. If there are none, write less, but more important notes (key concepts and such). Uncooperative group members can usually be dealt with by just splitting up workload and giving them their task to do on their own time. Studying for exams usually boils down to reviewing key concepts so you remember them and problem solving should have been well practiced enough that just refreshing it by doing a few should be enough.
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?
EGAD. It's mandatory as with all first year courses so you don't need to select it. It's fun and practical.