Brianna (Year 2)
What made you choose this institution over all others? Did the university exceed your expectations?
I chose McMaster because I wanted a school that valued the arts. Although it's a science heavy school, the arts are appreciated and have a place. I also live in Toronto, so it was close when I wanted to visit home. My sister was also a double major graduate and I fell in love with the school when I would visit her.
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.
I regret not trying harder to make more friends. There were many times where I had opportunities to go for dinner with friends, or even go for an adventure around Hamilton. Instead, I stayed in my room watching YouTube videos, studying, and doing laundry. Sometimes I wish I would've just gone. University is about taking risks, and I wish I had while being in residence around an immense amount of people.
Briefly describe the academic rigour of your program (in terms of competitiveness, courses, professors, etc.)
The courses offered for studio arts are fairly decent and contain a variety of different avenues to explore. I did find, however, that the classes were quite easy, but the grading is much harder than anticipated. Depending on which professor you receive, you'll be looking at a 70-80 average if you work extremely hard, but you must show your concepts. CONCEPT IS EVERYTHING. There's many times I lost marks because I created what I felt, and didn't have a concrete concept.
Describe the social life at your campus based on your own experiences (making friends, clubs + extracurriculars, party culture etc.)
Social life for me was quite bad, but I believe it was my fault. There are so many people to meet, but my downfall was picking people who only lived on my floor and didn't explore other options. I don't really party, and I was not part of any extracurriculars. I'm an extrovert, but I really kept to myself and enjoyed my studies.
What are some of the best and worst parts of your university experience so far?
The best memory I have of university is walking around campus on my second day with a girl in my program. We walked for hours and we are still very good friends now. The worst part was adjusting to the food. Lots of greasy food on campus. The best thing about school is exploring other classes as well. I love anthropology and it is incredible learning things YOU want to learn.
List three effective study techniques and/or habits:
Google, Word, and iced coffee/tea! Sometimes articles look like gibberish and googling a few words can make the world of a difference. Watching videos that explain class concepts is helpful, and taking time to drink a nice iced drink during a long essay makes the world of a difference. Two more things: Listen to music/dance and make an essay outline before you begin.
List three pieces of advice for first-year students:
Scrolling through all the information may make it seem scary. It really isn't. University is exciting, and freeing, and somewhat liberating. It runs similar to high school, but the day is free to you. You get to finally structure your day. You'll surprise yourself when you reflect back on your first year. DON'T BE HARD ON YOURSELF. And if you want good marks, get ready to work for them. University is going to be the best 3+ years of your life, take a step back during the crazy times and realize where you are and what you're doing. There's so many people who wish they could have your place.
One thing I thought to myself is "If you don't want to do it, don't". This is a time where you form your identity and do what your heart desires. No one can force you to do anything. Be diligent in your studies, party if you like, sleep when you want, eat when you want, and just remember that these couple years are the years you'll reminisce on, so make it worth remembering.