First Year’s Advice Through A Third Year’s Eyes

The beginning of my September this year has been markedly different than ones past. In first year, I was an anxiety-ridden frosh, trembling as enthused, well-meaning, bandana-wearing leaders thronged my car and carried my luggage to my residence room in Whitney Hall, and wondering without a clue what the upcoming year had in store. In second year, my parents dropped me off at my new apartment, with my father carrying up masses of my furniture in a Herculean feat and, again, I wondered, what this new step of living truly on my own would be like.

This year was different. This year, I crushed my roommate in a hug, brought just a few bags up the stairs, and then jumped happily on my bed, home again in my little apartment in the big city. This year, I ambled along St. George St., passing a confused, smiling mass of frosh with a smile to match. This year, I’m settled at the University of Toronto, no longer foreign to me, but familiar, warm, and my own. Continue reading “First Year’s Advice Through A Third Year’s Eyes”

3 Things a Keener Wish She Knew In First-Year

Before I begin my post, I would like to clarify two things:

First, I was identified by others as a keener. Prior to coming to Canada, I thought there were only nerds. Apparently there were also over-achievers who were “fondly” nicknamed “keeners” by the general populace. Thus I am one of those. Second, please do not judge the keener community. To me personally, I enjoy slaving and overstudying. So before you think about how “life-less” or “weird” I am, I’d like to say for myself that going to Gernstein and reading my textbook on a Tuesday afternoon is pleasant. So it’s like vacationing in the Maldives, only in Toronto (saving money and time).

Most comments on online forums and websites are about how hard U of T is. So to keeners, I’d just like to say, if you worked your butt off in high school, then UT is not that bad. In fact, for me, it was easier. I actually get 8 hours of sleep per night, as opposed to the six in high school.

#1 It’s not that hard

Trust me. Having to not take courses I disliked such as the sciences, everything in university is much easier. With a wide array of classes and a lot of time to study for it (which, as keeners, I’m sure you will), then getting a 3.7+ should not be a problem.

#2 Don’t trust the ASSU

That was my biggest regret. I wanted to have a relaxing course in my first semester, so I took a super duper easy seminar course. It was super duper easy, except there was one problem: the teacher curved all our grades down since it was THAT easy. Being a naive first-year, I did not know this could happen, so I was super sad when my grade was lower by two grades. It turned out to be my lowest grade and a source of some mourning.

For all the courses that people warned me about, I did swimmingly because I put a lot of effort into them. ASSU is good to gauge the difficulty of the course, but somehow, I managed liking the courses that people gave the lowest rankings to just because I was willing to put in the extra effort.

#3 Take more courses in your first year

There are so many second-year classes you could take that don’t have any prerequisites, so do it when you have time and when university hasn’t fatigued you. I only wish I explored more elective options, such as religion courses with really fun names (Death and the Afterlife? You got me!).

To the keeners out there reading this, you’ll enjoy UT. Even though Urban Dictionary and eons of people bash it, you will be able to manage both your grades and a social life. There are so many opportunities that are just waiting for you to explore, so be excited. If you worked hard in high school, continue. If you didn’t, start now. If you still don’t find the motivation…party hard.