Vanessa (Year 2)
What made you choose this institution over all others? Did the university exceed your expectations?
I chose UTSC mostly because of co-op and the requirements for the program. Not being a biology person myself, the psychology program didn't require 12U Biology and that's what attracted me. Looking back, I wish I did co-op in high school so I decided to give it a chance in university. Coming to UofT now, there are a lot of mixed opinions so I think it's important to weigh the pros and cons for yourself and see what works best for you. The university exceeded my expectations in terms of the amount of clubs and events held. There are an abundance of opportunities on campus, regardless of your culture or what you're interested in, so that's what surprised me the most.
Do you have any lingering thoughts or regrets in your year as a whole (ex; application process, mistakes going into first year). If so, describe them.
In my first year, I regret not meeting more upper years. Not only for advice, but in high school, I found that most people were only friends with people in their respective grades. Going into first year, I wish I had been more open and hung out with second or third years. Not only do they have more experience, but you're not limited to just people in your year.
Briefly describe the academic rigour of your program (in terms of competitiveness, courses, professors, etc.)
The professors in the psychology program are amazing. It's probably one of the most overlooked characteristics or factors when high school students choose their university and/or program. With most programs, I like how specific some upper year courses get and you can really nit-pick what you want to learn throughout your undergrad. For example, there's specific courses for social psychology, cognitive psychology, drugs and the brain, etc. The course grading can be harsh for POST, but in upper year courses, it's the content that gets harder. Because courses are more specific, you're diving into more rigorous and detail-oriented content. So the amount of studying that needs to be done, especially for neuroscience courses, can be hard to adjust to.
Describe the social life at your campus based on your own experiences (making friends, clubs + extracurriculars, party culture etc.)
I found that the best way to meet friends was through clubs or extracurriculars. Although the party culture is basically non-existent at UTSC, that doesn't mean you still can't have fun or meet new people. Clubs or on-campus events are a great way to meet students who have the same interests as you. The people you meet at events such a Frosh will probably be the same people you sit in class with!
What are some of the best and worst parts of your university experience so far?
In my first year, I found myself having a hard time balancing school work and social life. Especially in my first semester, I was constantly doing school work in my free time and didn't spend time hanging out with friends or exploring the campus. I was worried about my grades and GPA, as I wanted to keep my grades up during the transition from high school to university. Although I knew upper years beforehand, I was often at risk of burnout and overworking myself. It's crucial to maintain a balance and not focus solely on your grades. At the end of the day, your marks don't define you and you'll thank yourself later if you don't limit yourself in regards to your social life.
List three effective study techniques and/or habits:
Having a designated or favoured study spot on campus or in your house
Studying with friends and keeping each other accountable
Taking a 5-10 minute snack or water break every 30 minutes of studying
List three pieces of advice for first-year students:
Information about UofT POST
Don't be afraid to ask for help or ask questions
Get to know upper years in the same program or experience as you
Join clubs that interest you and attend social events