Psychology at University of Toronto (Scarborough)
Stephanie (Year 4)
What made you choose this institution over all others? Did the university exceed your expectations?
I was living abroad and I got accepted to this university (which was in the top 25 in the world) vs the university I was planning to go back home (in the top 400). It was very hard to say no. Yes, it could be better but I'm very thankful for the opportunity I've been given honestly.
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.
Yes, I honestly have a couple regrets. I fortunately received 3 full credits, because of my IB scores in high school, which transferred to all the first year courses I needed for my program. It put me way ahead of the year I entered because I was taking second year courses in my first year while everyone else was taking first year courses. Because I was basically in second year, professors had the expectation that everyone knew what they were doing and knew the procedures but I didn't. Everyone else took their A-Levels and were able to learn how to "be a university student" slowly, whereas I kind of felt rushed into it. If I could do it again, I'd go back and not accept those transfer credits to give myself that chance.
Briefly describe the academic rigour of your program (in terms of competitiveness, courses, professors, etc.)
It can be quite challenging if the student doesn't keep up with the material. Many classes will get very tough if you don't study on a day-to-day basis and cover everything alone. In terms of professors, there are so many profs that work so hard and truly care for the success of their students. The same goes for course grading with TA's, sometimes the TA is a little hard headed and sometimes they're harsh in a way that pushes you to be and do better.
Describe the social life at your campus based on your own experiences (making friends, clubs + extracurriculars, party culture etc.)
With respect to other universities, the party culture is non-existent on our campus. My social life is purely existent because I was able to find a group of friends that try to balance studying and going out the way I do. We keep each other grounded and are able to go out and stress-relieve on the weekends.
What are some of the best and worst parts of your university experience so far?
The best part has definitely been all the connections and friendships I've made - both professionally and not. The worst part has probably been the amount of stress and the toxic and competitive environment that you're surrounded by.
List three effective study techniques and/or habits:
A study schedule/agenda to stay organized
Always going to the library to study and having the same environment
Flashcards to memorize brain areas and hard names
List three pieces of advice for first-year students:
There's a time for studying and a time for messing around. Be sure to balance that and be sure to actually use the time you dedicate to each, actually doing the task
Truly know yourself, what you stand for and your good and bad habits.
Stay driven, focused on your goals and adapt whenever necessary. If you need to drop a course to keep your GPA, do it. If you need to switch majors to get more opportunities and are passionate about it, do it.