askastudent

your student life specialists

Aug 25

tool-torials

So courses such as HIS103Y1    Statecraft and Strategy: An Introduction to the History of International Relations[48L/20T] and POL101Y1    Democracy, Dictatorship, War, and Peace: An Introduction[48L/24T]indicate they have tutorials, yet neither the timetables or acorn/rosi have them listed. How am I supposed to choose my tutorial times?

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hey there,

at uoft, no rule comes without an exception – except for the ones where you really hope that an exception can be made. then there are no exceptions. it’s really great for everyone’s blood pressure.

in this case, there IS an exception. typically, you sign up for lectures, tutorials and labs on ACORN (or ROSI, if you’re stuck in YE OLDEN TIMES).

however, despite the fact that both POL101Y1 and HIS103Y1 indicate that there is a tutorial component to the course, you won’t find the tutorials on ACORN. the history and political science departments require that you sign up for tutorials after classes start, typically via Portal/Blackboard.

which, yes, means that you will have to fit two hours of tutorial (one for each class) around an already-made schedule once school starts. and, yes, it may be hard to find times that fit.

i will say, though, that there are typically so many tutorial sections in those massive first-year courses that you can usually find SOMETHING that works. it may be on a friday morning, a monday evening, or some other equally inconvenient time, but sometimes life is rough, and you’ve just gotta bear these things with a brave face.

it’s not easy, i’ll give you that. just when you think you’ve got the hang of uoft, it throws a wrench in the system. i guess you can say we’re all a bunch of TOOLS, here. huh? huh?

cheers,

aska


Aug 21

don’t tell your mother, we’re nerds for the summer

Which month for the 2016 year would I apply to a summer course ?

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hey there,

course enrolment in the summer began april 1 and ended may 18th this year, so have your spreadsheets out and your ACORN open for April 2nd (probably), 2016: The Final Showdown TM.

if you’re interested in an E-enrolment indicator course (i.e. a course where you need to apply to the department to get in), then just keep in mind the specific deadline to get into that course. you may have to apply in february or march, prior to course enrolment on ACORN, to get in. those deadlines will be on the calendar and/or the department website.

enjoy those summer courses, man. hope you have a cool, fun time like demi lovato (probably less inflatable ice cream cones on top of buildings, though):

cheers,

aska


Aug 21

most people can’t handle more than 1 research course in their lives

Hi There! I have a question in response to your research post. In order to do research in third year (399) is doing research in second year (299) a prerequisite. Also are there new research projects being added frequently?

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hey there,

great question! no, the 299 is not (usually) a prerequisite for 399s. generally, people only do one research course in their degree – a 299, 399 or 499. the courses are pretty intense, and most people don’t feel the need to do it more than once, WHICH MEANS that one *99-series course is very rarely a prerequisite for another *99-series course.

however, the best thing to do is to just check the course in question on the course calendar. different departments will have different application procedures for their 299/399/499 courses, so make sure you check that ahead of time and be mindful of any application procedures, deadlines, etc.

cheers,

aska


Aug 21

grad school, sad school

I’m thinking about coming back for another year (5th year) to upgrade my GPA primarily. I also want to earn more experience to increase my social skills and gain something more than academic.

I have a problem (many actually) and that is expectations. From my parents, according to graduate school and of myself.

I have failed one course in my first year and second year. This was major downfall for me, and I’ve never truly recovered from that despite doing very well in other courses.

I’ve also never fully taken a full course load. Which is a minimal expectation for graduate school. I have taken opportunities outside academia to mentor, volunteer and this year I plan to get in contact with professors that are researching in something I’m interested in. I also plan to be an ambassador and work at the library.

But I know what is done, is done. I’ve browsed many forums and talked to people that have said that Graduate school is not for me.

That may be, but my parents, my upbringing culture , the cousins and people around me that have snagged the best schools and gone on to become doctors really make me ashamed of what I am.

As a student in undergraduate life science, I feel there’s nothing out there for me. Beyond the completion of this degree…there’s nothing.  I don’t know how to move past certain piles of failures in my life. I did have emotional burdens and had experienced relocation from one city to another that increased my commuting distance that did factor in impacting my GPA But every reason I come up with sounds pathetic and its really taking a toll on everything.

My heath, my confidence, my self-worth. I don’t know what to do.

People say College is better for these kind of people but can they really expect me to drop out and walk away from getting a degree when I’m almost at the finish line?

Please help, perhaps a reality check is in store for me.

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hey there,

there weren’t actually any questions in this e-mail (except from the rhetorical one right at the end there), so i’m not exactly sure what you want to know. but hey, sometimes you gotta just vent your problems to an anonymous person on the internet, and that’s totally cool.

not knowing your GPA, what you’re studying, or which graduate programs you’re interested in, it’s hard for me to judge the likelihood of your being accepted to graduate school – let alone the fact that there’s no way of knowing how well you’re going to do in your fifth year, if you decide to come back.

but i’m not in the business of making judgements. i’m more in the “barfing-out-thoughts-in-the-hopes-of-occasionally-striking-on-something-helpful” business…Ltd.

in regards to the failed courses: it happens. your past does not define your future. we all fall down. be the person who gets back up again, because that’s what makes people exceptional. trust aska – you can do it.

as for meeting your parents’ expectations: i understand that parental pressure can be enormously limiting and difficult to break from. it’s natural to want to make your parents proud. besides that, parents are often our financial lifelines, and for that reason, you don’t want to piss them off.

however, if you can’t go to grad school – either for personal or academic reasons – you may as well come up with an alternative plan that will make you happy.

if you have a college program in mind that makes you feel more alive and excited than any graduate program, then that is what you should pursue. and NO, it does not make you a less successful, less special, or less valuable person.

also: your reasons for having a low GPA are not pathetic. they are circumstances which will affect any person who experiences the external world, and may affect you more or less based on who you are and your experiences.

coming back to school for a fifth year to upgrade your GPA for grad school is something a lot of students do, and may be a great idea for you. however, before/if you decide to come back to school, i would recommend talking it over with a few people who can help to make sure you’re ready.

Good2Talk is a helpline geared specifically towards college and university students. they can help you talk about what you’re feeling in a productive way, so you’re ready to face school, or whatever may come next in your life.

Counseline is even more specific – they provide phone and face-to-face counselling for Faculty of Arts & Science students (just keep in mind that you could only use this service once you were officially registered). CAPS is another uoft-specific alternative.

if you’re saying you feel like there’s nothing for you after this degree, that’s something you should talk about with someone. i’ve given three recommendations that i personally really like, but you should reach out to anyone you’re comfortable with.

before coming back for a fifth year and shelling out half your savings for tuition, it’s also a good idea to talk to your registrar’s office about coming back. they can talk with you in more detail about grad school, or any other plans you may have.

and if there’s anything else you want to talk to me about, i’m always here to help.

cheers,

aska


Aug 20

DON’T ASK ME TO SAVE THE PASSWORD BEFORE I KNOW IF I TYPED THE RIGHT ONE

Hi Aska, I clicked on the link you posted for the CLN and it said that I need to register for it. Can I set this up by myself using my uoft email? Or is there some other way I need to register?

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hey there,

oh, da#n! aska just got receipt’d. i guess i should be clearer in explaining how to do stuff, instead of just linking out to all sorts of things and assuming you’ll figure it out. what can i say: in between all the sonic the hedgehog gifs i post, one or two academic links can easily get lost in the chaff. i guess i should be more careful about these things.

anyway, all you have to do is login using your UTORID and password. if you’re an incoming student, this should be the same as your JOINID and password to login to Join UofT. however, if you’ve forgotten your password or are having trouble, you can follow the “Forgot your password?” link on the login page or contact the helpdesk at Robarts for assistance.

if you’re not a uoft student, but you ARE an employer or faculty/staff, just click on the ‘Register’ button and fill out the form that comes up. once you’re done, click ‘Submit Registration’ and wait for a response!

if you’re not a student or an employer or staff – then skedaddle. what are you even doing here, anyway?

cheers,

aska


Aug 20

you’ve just gotta wait. isn’t waiting fun.

i’m interim in wstc24 at utsc, its a winter course. do I have to do anything for this? the timetable page just says to check rosi for updates, but idk if maybe I have to contact a professor or something. also, do you have an idea of when i’ll hear if i’ve been accepted? i know its a winter course so it might be a while but i was just wondering

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hey there,

nope, you don’t have to do anything. it’s out of your hands. now it’s up to the instructor/department to make a decision.

i took a look online and on the timetable listing for the course, but i can’t seem to find a deadline for when they have to get back to you. i guess they can just take their sweet old time. well, whaddaya expect, huh? they’re the department! they’re in charge! they make the deadlines, they break the deadlines!

the best thing to do would be to just keep checking ACORN/your utoronto e-mail address. if you’re really anxious, you can always contact the department of historical and cultural studies and ask WHEN THE HECK THEY’LL BE DONE, but make sure not to make the request in all caps. that usually doesn’t go over so well.

cheers,

aska


Aug 19

psychology here or psychology there

I’m a looking at universities in Toronto and I’m trying to figure out which is best. I’m looking at doing my undergraduate in psychology and my graduate in child psychology. So I’m wondering which school is the best for doing that. UFT or York? I know that UFT has both programs I’m looking at but I’ve been told that it’s on the harder side of the universities and I’m and IEP (Individual Education Plan) student. But York is higher on the list of best schools in Canada for psychology.

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hey there,

i can’t speak to how good york’s psychology programs are. i’ll let york’s people take care of that (not that i’m implying that i’m “uoft’s people”; i just stumbled into a back closet here and no one’s thought to ask me to leave yet. i have jam on my pants. this uoft sweater i found smells like mothballs).

i will say that the psychology programs at uoft are very, very popular (hence the constant stream of questions i get about them), and that while uoft is a strong academic and research university, that doesn’t mean it’s not for you.

don’t let an IEP get in the way of studying where you want to study. if you have the grades to get into uoft, then you have the ability to thrive here. also, uoft has plenty of academic support services, including accessibility services, the academic success centre, and plenty of writing and math aid centres.

finally, here are a couple of things to keep in mind as you think about your decision: i see that york has the option to complete a B.A. or a B.Sc. in psychology. uoft, meanwhile, is one of the only schools where psychology can only be completed as a science program (cognitive science is the closest thing we have to a humanities-based psychology program).

so, if you were looking to do a B.A. in psychology, uoft is probably not be for you.

also, high school calculus is a mandatory requirement for all three of psychology’s programs (the specialist, the major and the minor), so if you didn’t do or really struggled in grade 12 calculus, you may want to reconsider uoft.

not having done calculus isn’t a reason not to do psych at uoft. just be aware that if you didn’t do calculus in high school, you’ll have to do it at some point, either through night school or uoft’s not-for-credit PUMP program.

so those are a couple of things to consider. ultimately, there’s no right or wrong answer. do some research into the actual classes you would be doing, visit both campuses, and, if you’re planning on living in residence, your student housing accommodations. these alumni profiles from the psychology department at uoft might also be helpful to you.

best of luck; i hope you make a decision you’re happy with!

cheers,

aska


Aug 19

i don’t look nearly as cute as the people attending class in the pictures

Hi Aska!So just to clarify, do we have to show up for the tutorials that we already enrolled in for certain classes on ACORN? For example, do I need to attend my MAT135 tutorial that first week?

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hey there,

yes, you need to show up for any and all tutorials you enrolled in – assuming you want to pass those courses. which i hope you do, because you don’t get much else but a degree for all that money you spend on university. i know. it’s crazy, right? where are the aesthetic pictures of me laying on the grass in front of UC, smiling blissfully into a copy of Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language, that i was promised in my admissions package? where are they, @uoft?

anyway. be aware that many classes won’t begin tutorials until the second week. keep an eye on your mail.utoronto e-mail address and Portal; they may let you know when tutorials begin via those avenues. otherwise, they will let you know during your first class, which is almost always earlier in the week than its corresponding tutorial.

if you don’t hear anything through any of those channels, it’s probably safe to assume that there will be a tutorial.

cheers,

aska


Aug 17

posts are flexible, bendy – like bamboo

I’m interested in pursuing a physiology major, but I’m already going into third year with a dummy major (Pharmacology).  On the calendar <http://www.artsandscience.utoronto.ca/ofr/calendar/crs_psl.htm#ASMAJ0482>, I’m told which courses to take in First Year (which I’ve done), Second Year (which I’ll be taking this September), and Higher Years.  The main reason
for the delay is due to scheduling conflicts as I’ve simultaneously been pursuing an arts major.

Is it acceptable to be taking the second-year course requirements for this POSt in my third year, as long as I meet all the POSt requirements by the time I graduate?

Also, will I be able to successfully apply to the POSt later on as I meet more of the requirements, as long as my grades are sufficient?

Thank you.

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hey there,

you can complete the courses for your POSt whenever it suits you.

it doesn’t matter if you do your second-year courses in second, third or fourth year. your intuition is right; as long as you’ve completed all your requirements by the time you graduate, you’re okay. the university isn’t bothered about how long it takes you to finish your degree. they’ve got more important things to worry about.

you’re able to apply to the POSt later (that is, after your second year), as long as you’ve taken all the prerequisite courses. however, there’s no way of telling whether you’ll get in. the physiology major is a type 3 program, which means that getting the minimum grades in all the required courses is no guarantee that you will get into the program.

the estimated cut-off is an average in the mid-70s for the required courses, so the higher above that your grades are, the better your chances are of getting in.

after that, all you can do is cross your fingers and make wild promises with your deity of choice (“if i get into this program, i promise i’ll be nice to my brother for the rest of my life” “if i get in, i’ll keep the house clean all year” “i’ll buy my mum a house” “i’ll spend all my spare time volunteering at a local hospital” “i’ll sell my left toe and donate the money to Toronto’s homeless” etc.) until you hear the news (and promptly abandon all your promises).

cheers,

aska


Aug 17

probation, and a laborious metaphor involving roads

Hey, I’m in a really bad situation. I just completed first year and I’m on academic probation. I failed a course in  the winter term and then took it in the summer and failed it again. I need this course for my program though. What do I do?

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hey there,

i know you’re probably feeling stressed right now. you’re probably thinking that everything is going downhill, that you can’t catch a break, and other gently empathetic Canadian colloquialisms (your…poutine is…soggy? you’ve reached your last moose? why don’t we have more explicitly Canadian phrases about disappointment?).

however, i would urge you not to think about this as a failure (to put it into harsher words).

being on probation is not failing. even failing a class is not failing*.

a much more accurate way of looking at it, i think, is as a crossroads. you have reached a point in your life when you’re being asked to make a decision that will impact the quality of your life.

the smartest thing you can do is use your probation as a time to reflect and make a decision that will be the best for you and the life you want to live *cue inspirational music stolen from the Eat, Pray, Love movie*

so, you have a few options:

1. you can retake the course. since you haven’t passed the course, you can add it yourself on ACORN.

if you decide to do this, it’s probably a good idea to look into some services at the university that can help you pass the course. your college writing centre, any of the university’s math aid centres, and the various resources and programs available at the academic success centre may be helpful to you.

and then there’s the standard stuff that’s just good practice if you want to avoid taking the course a fourth time: attend lectures/tutorials consistently, go to your instructor’s/T.A.’s office hours with questions or for feedback, do your reading ahead of time or do practice questions on a regular basis (as the course dictates), and, for the love of all that is good and right, don’t sleep through your exam.

2. you can not retake the course and start looking into different programs.

if this course is a prerequisite for a program, that means that there’s a lot more of whatever-the-failed-course-is coming your way. think about whether you actually want that.

do you want to dedicate your entire academic career to something you find so difficult? how much do you enjoy the course content? do you find the work you put into it worthwhile? is it rewarding? these are all things you should think about seriously before deciding you want to retake the course a third time.

thinking baby

 

academic probation is an opportunity to reflect on your experiences

3. you can think about taking a break from school.

this is going to depend on a lot of things i don’t know about you – how the rest of your academic history looks, whether you have any external circumstances affecting your ability to commit yourself to school, whether you have the means to take a year off (to work, recuperate, etc.).

however, i think it’s always something to think about. you should never be at university out of habit. you should only ever be here because you 100%, really want to be here.

regardless of what you decide, i HIGHLY RECOMMEND you talk with your registrar’s office about it before making a decision. you know when i’m being serious because i used all caps. see that up there? that’s all caps.

all the very best,

aska

* i mean, it is. technically speaking. but i’m talking about the bigger picture, y’know?


Aug 14

research THIS!

I was wondering how exactly a student could get an internship helping a professor with research?

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hey there,

as with all things at university (and in life), there are two ways it can happen: you can go about it the official way, or you could just sort of fall into it.

1. the Official Serious Business way

you can get involved with a professor’s research in two main ways: through class work, or through work-study.

many departments offer research courses called 299’s as part of the Research Opportunity Program. these are research courses geared specifically towards second-year students.

299’s are a really cool opportunity because you get to do real research for credit; it’s class time and work experience all bundled together. two birds with one stone.

these courses tend to be for science students, so it’ll be trickier to find an opportunity as a humanities or social science student, but you can take a look at the courses available this year to get an idea of what’s out there. there are also similar courses for third and fourth year students (called 398/399s and 497/498/499s, respectively – take a look on the timetable to find out what departments are offering each year).

the second Official Way that you can get involved in research is by being a research assistant through the work-study program. loads of professors advertise RA positions through work-study, for both undergrads and graduate students. just take a look on the CLN for opportunities – they’re being uploaded every day now, and applications close in late september.

2. the sneaky back-door way

of course, doing things the proper way is all good and well, but sometimes we just fall into stuff without knowing quite how we got there.

sometimes, keeping your ears open is enough. get to know the professors you like. talk to them about their interests, their research. if you feel comfortable, let them know you’re excited about what they’re studying and ask if there’s a way for you to get involved. if you’re lucky, they might like you so much they’ll offer it to you – stranger things have happened.

i hope you get to do some snazzy annotated bibliographies.

cheers,

aska


Aug 13

the wait list is a merciless, unpredictable deity

Me again, the one waiting to be accepted with a tutorial conflict. Do you have an idea of when I should expect to hear whether I’ve been accepted or not?

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hey there,

accepted into the lecture, you mean? assuming you’re waiting because you’re on a wait list (as opposed to having applied for the course directly to the department) you’ll just have to keep checking back on ACORN; if you get in off the wait list, the course will move from the ‘Waitlisted’ header to the ‘Currently Enrolled’ header.

you’ll only get in if enough people ahead of you drop out, so there’s no way of telling when that might happen. you just have to keep checking and pray to your gods of choice that you get in.

if it’s not a wait list you’re talking about, and you’ve applied directly to the department to get into a class, then you should contact them to ask about the status of the course.

cheers,

aska

P.S. this a follow-up question to a previous post which can be found here.


Aug 13

i mean, if you’re #4 for a class of 10 people…

I’m on the waitlist for a course, at 4th rank so I’m assuming that’s good? But since I’m not in the course yet, is it acceptable to still attend the lecture?

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hey there,

you can definitely attend the lecture if you’re not enrolled yet. hell, you can attend lecture if you’re just some rando off the street looking for a place to sit for a couple of hours (assuming the class is big enough that the instructor won’t take attendance). this is a public university, you know – you can just wander in and out of the buildings. that’s how i got this job. i just walked in and started acting like i knew the place. i’m not even a student here.

your likelihood of getting into the course off spot #4 on a waitlist all depends on how many total spots are available in the course. if your spot on the waitlist is within 10% of the total number of spots, then you have a very good shot of getting in.

and unless you’re trying to get into some teeny tiny, specialized seminar on the anatomy of marsupials native to southwestern Australia, or something, i’m guessing your rank is a pretty good one. (not like me; i’m spot #2 on a waitlist for a class of 8. i don’t know why i’m even holding out hope.)

keep checking your status on ACORN, and if you don’t get in by the time class starts, feel free to keep going until you’ve run out of options for getting into the course (i.e. trying to enrol after the waitlist drops).

hope you get in!

aska


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