My name's Michelle and I'm a third-year University of Toronto student. I created this blog to answer any questions prospective/current students have about the school - whether it be academic, social, or whatever! I'll also be blogging about my own university experiences in hopes that it may help some of you out who are going through the same things!

Beware: I am only in my third year, so I obviously don't know EVERYTHING there is to know about the university, but I will do my best to help. If I can't, there's a wonderful site called www.askastudent.utoronto.ca that is probably far better qualified to answer your questions than I am!

Overall, this is just to help some of you out with your transition into the University of Toronto (a.k.a best school ever).

Good Luck.

 

teacim asked
Goodmorning Michelle, tour blog is great. I'M loving it! Here is my question, is it better to take two majors or one major and two minors? I'm an Arts and Science student, starting this year. My major will be International Relations for sure but I'm uncertain about the rest. Thanks for the help, you rock!💪

Hey there!

Thanks for the love, I appreciate it very much! Honestly, the only way I can answer this question is by saying that the choice is completely up to you. The awesome thing is that you don’t have to choose your Subject POSt (a.k.a your major(s)/minor(s)/specialist) until after you’ve completed your first year. The university does this knowing that coming into first year, most people don’t quite know exactly what they’ll want to study for the next four or so years yet. So the best thing you can do is to take whatever courses interest you in your first year so that when it comes to finally being able to choose your major or minor or specialist at the end of the year, you’ll have a much better feel for what you’ll want to study. It’s not ‘better’ or ‘worse’ to choose a double major, or one major and two minors, or a specialist - it all just depends on what you want to study! You might decide that you love the IR program so much that you want to specialize in it and focus the great majority of your degree studying it, or you might decide that you really love english and poli sci too, and decide to double minor in those while you major in IR. Or, there’s always the possibility that you’ll eventually find that the IR program just isn’t for you and you want to major in something totally different than you imagined at the start of your university career.

And don’t forget, you can always change your Subject POSt if you realize that the one you chose is no longer for you. At the end of my first year, I decided to do a double major in history and political science. But during my second year, I realized that I wasn’t nearly as interested in the political science courses as I was in the ones offered by the history program, so I ended up switching to a history specialist. The moral of the story is - don’t feel that once you’ve chosen a major, it’s a done deal for the rest of your UofT days, because it isn’t. It’s all about the freedom of choice, y’all!

Again, don’t sweat this decision yet and remember that choosing one is not necessarily ‘better’ or ‘worse’ than the other! It all depends on what you like and what you feel you’re best at! Thanks for the question and feel free to shoot me another if you need! Hope this helped!

Best,

Michelle

Anonymous asked
Hi, I'm trying to make a mock schedule and I was wondering what was the difference between a lecture and a tutorial/lab? I kind of know that tutorials are supposed to supplement the lecture, but are they mandatory? For example, I'm signing up for first year English, is it necessary to take a tutorial as well as lecture?

Hey Anon,

    The short answer to your question is this: tutorials are mandatory unless otherwise noted. The ones currently listed in the timetable for first-year English courses require you to sign up for and attend them. I received a similar question a while back about the difference between lectures and tutorials, so I’ll re-post that answer below. Hopefully this helps you out! :) 

Tutorials are different from your lectures, but they will accompany them. Here’s the deal: many courses that you enroll in will make you sign up for a tutorial. Tutorials are classroom-sized meetings that occur at different intervals - usually once a week, or once every two weeks - and are commonly run by a teaching assistant (TA). They are designed to review class readings and material, and also to clarify and reiterate the most important parts of lecture. In tutorials, you can be and will often times be assigned reports, presentations and essays which you will turn into your TA, who marks everything that you hand in. Tutorials are extremely important when it comes to your attendance and participation, not only for the benefit of your overall understanding of the  material, but also because you could (and very, very likely will be) marked on these two factors. Only some tutorials are listed in the timetable along with their accompanying lecture. I’ll use the example of philosophy for tutorials that are already listed in the timetable along with their lecture. It looks something like this:

PHL100Y1 Y Intro to Philosophy L0101 Y TR12

                                           T0101    M10

                                           T0102    M10

                                           T0201    M11

                                           T0202    M11

And the list continues all the way down to T1701 for that meeting section. Any time you see a long list of meeting sections with the beginning letter ‘T’ following a lecture (beginning letter ‘L’), it is indicating all the tutorials available for that particular course. As you can probably tell from the timetable, it gives you plenty of options for tutorial times that you should be able to fit into your schedule. Once you choose one that best fits your schedule, you will enroll in it the same day as you enroll in courses on ROSI. When you enter in your course code for enrollment (in this case PHL100Y1 Y), the site will redirect you to a page with a list of all the tutorial options seen in the timetable. You will select your desired tutorial, and it shall be done! You’ll have successfully enrolled in both the course and tutorial without breaking a sweat. However, some of your courses won’t give you tutorial options to sign up for in advance. But don’t panic, as this is probably the route that many of your courses will take you down. When classes commence in September, your first lecture in each course will be a lot like the first day of classes high school - they will go over the syllabus and explain to you the expectations of the course. There they will either provide you with a list of tutorials during that lecture, or explain to you how/when they decide to post the list in the near future. So no need to fear, you will get into a tutorial.

I hope this helped to clarify! Message me about any further questions you may have!

Best,

Michelle

Anonymous asked
Do you have to get a new T- Card every year? How do you go about doing it in 2nd year?

Hey Anon,

    You don’t need to get a new T-Card every year. You can use the same T-Card throughout all of your years at UofT unless your card becomes lost or is badly damaged (if the photo or info on your card becomes unrecognizable, you’ll have to get it replaced).

Best,

Michelle

Anonymous asked
Hello, I really want to attend U of T to study engineering, but I'm from a really small town (population is 16,000) where everyone is white and christian. Do you think U of T would be too out of my element because of the size and diversity, or do you think it's adjustable? Is there anyone you know of that comes from a similar background as me, and could you possibly tell me how they are coping if yes? Thank you! :)

Hi anon,

    Moving from a small town into a large city like Toronto is an experience that many students face when choosing to attend UofT. You said it yourself - UofT and Toronto itself are incredibly diverse - meaning that there are likely many people just like you, as well as different from you. My current roommate, for example, was in your situation when she came to UofT. She now loves being in the big city, and actively enjoys the diversity that Toronto offers, and the opportunities that it can provide. That being said, she knew before attending UofT that gaining different perspectives outside of her small-town bubble was something that she really wanted to gain from university. 

     I cannot say whether or not you will have the same experiences as her, or the same experiences as many others who have come from smaller towns (including myself), and have really grown to call Toronto home. I will say though, that I don’t believe that being integrated into a culture that relies on the diversity of other peoples and cultures is ever a bad thing. In fact, I believe that one of the many reasons UofT is considered a world-renowned institution is because it benefits from being situated in the heart of one of the most diverse cities in the world. Integrating yourself into a community consisting of brilliant international and local students is part of the greater learning experience that the University of Toronto can offer. You will have a vast array of differing views and opinions from around the world all located in one place. That experience alone really gives UofT students the ability to expand their knowledge to include and give value to perspectives that they may never have encountered or considered otherwise.

    With all of this in mind, ask yourself what YOU would like to gain from your post-secondary institution. Also, be honest about what you are comfortable with. It’s okay to be intimidated, concerned by, or even plain not interested in big city living. If at all possible, try to visit Toronto and the school’s campus and get a feel for what you’ll be getting into. Follow your intuition to decide what school will best suit your needs and desires. As previously mentioned, I can’t really tell you what your experiences will be - only you can determine that!

     Just keep in mind that many have dealt with your situation and continue to deal with your situation and do so successfully! Another thing to remember is that UofT does offer ‘smaller’ communities which might help you to cope. Becoming involved in clubs and organizations is probably one of the easiest and most rewarding ways to deal with the ‘cold’ feeling of a big city by forming small communities and close relationships among a large student population. Check out https://www.ulife.utoronto.ca// for listings of clubs, organizations, and well as volunteer and career opportunities if you want to get that ‘small town’ feel in a big town university. If you have any other questions, please feel free to write again. I hope this helped!

Good Luck. 

UofT Reality Show?

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2013/01/31/university_of_toronto_reality_show_to_be_a_mix_of_survivor_and_big_brother.html

Check out the article above to see the University of Toronto Television's plans to make a student-based reality show that would air on YouTube. The article states that last auditions will be held tomorrow for those brave enough to tryout! 

Greetings to all my new followers!

Welcome to my blog! Don’t be afraid to leave your questions in my ask box! As for those who have recently submitted questions, you can look forward to seeing some answers on your dash after the weekend! Thank-you all for your continued support.

xoxo

lesbianlust asked
Does U of T offer any GSA/Pride groups? Also, are any of the colleges more inclined towards people of queer sexualities? Thanks for running this site, it's really great and super helpful.

Hey there,

   UofT is actually a fantastic school when it comes to gender/sexual equality and self-expression. Each campus has a ‘positive space’ program that works towards creating safe go-to spaces for LGBT students when/if they ever need to talk or ask for advice. You can learn more about the ‘positive space’ initiative here: http://www.positivespace.utoronto.ca/ .

   Furthermore, the St. George Campus is home to the Sexual and Gender Diversity Office which was established to meet the concerns of LGBT students across the campus. The office holds counselling services, safety centers, and hosts events throughout the year in which the community may participate and attend. The office is also your go-to place if you ever need to report harassment or bullying. To learn more about all the wonderful services the Sexual and Gender Diversity Office has to offer, click the link provided here: http://www.sgdo.utoronto.ca/

   UofT is also home to many LGBT clubs, groups and committees that you may join. There’s the “Sexual Education & Peer Counselling Centre”, “Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Trans People of the University of Toronto (LGBTOUT)”, “LGBT Dance at UofT”, and “The L Film (TLF)”, just to name a few. To check out more of these awesome student organizations and what they have to offer, check out the ULife website and browse campus organizations or specific areas of interest. https://ulife.utoronto.ca/

   Finally, to address your question concerning whether or not there are particular colleges that are “more inclined towards people of queer sexualities,” the answer is simply yes. All colleges at UofT will accept people of all sexual orientations, but their individual support groups may be lacking or struggling to obtain a voice. So, what I will say is that perhaps the two colleges that might be considered the ‘best’ for LGBT open discourse and support would be University College and Victoria College, both of which really advocate for positive space. University College is, however, the ultimate base for this LGBT discourse as it is in fact the home of the school’s Sexual Diversity Studies program which is run by some pretty incredible contributors in queer-Canadian research (I’m a pretty big fan of Professor Green). You can learn more about the SDS undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as student resources, events, and the SDS coordinators here: http://www.uc.utoronto.ca/content/view/284/1809/.

   UC’s Sir Daniel Wilson’s Residence also accommodates LGBTOUT’s Drop-In Centre, which you can learn more about here http://www.lgbtout.com/dropin/. And if that all isn’t enough, UC’s Frosh Week is all about sexual diversity and the acceptance of varying sexual orientations. UC very much prides itself as a centre of acceptance for all walks of life.

   Thank-you very much for this excellent question and I hope this helped you out! Let me know if you need any more information regarding LGBT services at UofT!

Anonymous asked
Do you think it would be hard for a first year to take a second year course? In order to get into Classical Civs you need 1 full credit in a CLA course but there's only 1 first year course available for the program, and it's a half credit course. I ended up selecting two second year courses and am worried about the level of difficulty. Any comments would be helpful, thanks!

Hey anon,

Many students take second-year courses in their first year of study, so it isn’t an uncommon practice. That being said, it shouldn’t be too difficult for you to take and pass those Classics courses. However, I will warn you that the buzz around the Classics major is that the courses are very difficult in terms of testing, so if you have little to no prior knowledge of the ancient societies or their languages, I would suggest taking the recommended first-year course, CLA160H1.

If you do have some experience, but are still unsure about the level of difficulty of the two second-year courses, then my suggestion to you is to attend the first few lectures of both and look over the syllabi carefully in order to understand what is required and expected of you. If after some analysis, you determine that you will be unable to take both courses along with the rest of your classes due to the amount pressure, then switch out of one and opt for a combination of CLA160, along with which ever one of the two second-year courses you found easier. That way, you will feel less stressed about your ability to achieve high enough grades to get into the program, while having a balanced schedule.

I hope this helped, anon. Good luck!

xoxo

Anonymous asked
Hey, I was wondering if you knew anything about the course HPS210H1F? Did you take it or know of anyone that took it and what they thought of it? Thanks!

Hey anon,

Unfortunately, I did not take this course, however I do know someone who did. When I asked him what he thought of the course, he told me that it was relatively easy, despite the fact that he isn’t a science student, and that the material was quite interesting. The work load is fairly minimal for a half-year course and that if given the chance, he would retake the class in a heartbeat. The ASSU Anti-Calendar for 2010-2011 also provided a 69% retake rate among students who participated in the survey. For more information concerning the student’s thoughts on HPS210H1, here is the link to the ASSU Anti Calendar website: http://assu.ca/wp/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/HistoryPhilosophyHungarian.pdf

If you have any more questions regarding this particular course, don’t be afraid to put them in my ask box and I will consult my friend and/or other sources for more detailed information. I hope this helped you out, anon! Good luck!

xoxo