Nicol (Year 3)
What made you choose this institution over all others? Did the university exceed your expectations?
I was looking to do a co-op psychology program and UTSC was one of the few universities that i was interested in that offered it. After going on a campus tour, I could see myself being a future student and it seemed to be the right fit for me. I am still very satisfied with my decision; the classes and environment is just what I envisioned and more.
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.
Something I regret is not considering more universities when applying. I set my mind on attending a university in the GTA which really narrowed down my options. Additionally, in my first year, I really regret taking challenging classes like biology when it was not required for anything and not only brought down my overall GPA but filled up some elective slots.
Briefly describe the academic rigour of your program (in terms of competitiveness, courses, professors, etc.)
The psychology program at my institution is great. The professors are wonderful and there is a vast selection of courses to choose from. I have adapted to my psychology classes just being exams with no assignments and the professors generally make them fair. As for my music program, the department is still quite small but the courses offered are still great.
Describe the social life at your campus based on your own experiences (making friends, clubs + extracurriculars, party culture etc.)
Something I really like about my campus is how friendly everyone is. Students really try to help each other out and support one another without being competitive. There are quite a few clubs to get involved in however, there isn't too much of a party culture. Being a commuter school, everyone tends to go home early and there isn't much of a nightlife or much to do around the campus. That's something I'm hoping can change before I graduate.
What are some of the best and worst parts of your university experience so far?
The worst part of my experience at UTSC by far is the lack of student spaces! The amount of time I walk around with my heavy backpack looking for a place to sit and study is ridiculous, especially during exam season. There is so much dead space that could be turned into a study space, and I'm hoping a change will be made soon. The best thing I've gone through at my campus is meeting new people! There are cultural events that happen often, and it's so easy to connect with others and just start a conversation. If you're ever struggling in a course, you can always find help. The university itself provides many services to help students out.
List three effective study techniques and/or habits:
Facilitated study groups
Professor's office hours
Studying with friends in the same course as me
List pieces of advice for first-year students:
Profs will rarely keep reminding you on assignments or exams, it's up to you to keep up!
Don't be shy in asking peers for help or even just starting a conversation with anyone, they're all on the same boat
Get involved and don't be afraid to talk and network with researchers and professors you may come across
You do not need to take a full course load, especially in your first semester of first year, it takes some time to adjust, so better save your GPA
Don't be afraid to reach out for help whether it be academically or regarding your mental health. There are many counsellors on campus that you can talk to. There are also some labs run by post-graduate students or professors that undergraduates can sometimes volunteer in. It's good to get that experience!