your student life specialists

Apr 11

psl pLS

Hi aska! I’m a 2nd year Health & Disease Specialist but want to switch to a double major in H&D + Physiology or Immunology, and have a couple questions: 1) when I apply to the PSL/IMM majors do I need to check the box that I’m switching out of H&D spec. or can I just apply for the majors separately & drop out of the specialist on ACORN if I get accepted? 2) PSL rejected me last year but my marks in PSL courses/overall are way better this year – will they consider 2nd year marks? Thanks so much!!


hello hello!

this definitely undermines my credibility, but i only found out what psl stood for … four days ago. BUT now that i’m armed with that elusive! knowledge! i think i can help ya out here.

  1. don’t drop your H&D right away! what you’ll want to do here is apply for the majors first. then, should you get in, you’ll need to indicate that you’re switching out of H&D in order to accept
    PSL/IMM. as far as i know, ACORN will let you add up to three programs at a time, so there’s no good reason why you should take the risk and sweep H&D off the table before you know if your admission to PSL/IMM is secure.
  2. some programs have specific second-year admissions criteria, and some don’t. PSL is one of the latter; the calendar indicates that they base admissions on those 3 first-year required courses. however, there are departments that will still look at your second-year grades, and if they find you’ve made a significant improvement, this will be factored into your decision. now, i’m not sure if PSL is this level of gracious, so unfortunately i’ve gotta redirect you to the department for this one. give them a call or a visit, and find out if it’ll work out for you. you can find the undergrad assistant Eva Eng in medsci 3209, or call her at 416-978-5077.

off you go, then. best of luck getting in!





Apr 11

standard course load? we don’t know her

I have 17 credits finished and I’m taking 2.0 over the summer. Is there any way they’d allow me to take 3.0 credits so I can just finish? Not trying to go to grad school. I just want to graduate! I know about the course overload petition. But I was wondering if it’s possible to do that for 3 credits over the summer instead of 2. Thanks 🙂


hello friend!

i don’t blame you for wanting to get outta here quicker, but that also sounds terrifying. 3.0 creds over summer is a heavy load.  but hey, if you’ve weighed your options and think it’s worth it, as far as i know the university will permit it. you’ve gotta get in contact with your registrar and set up an appointment to get the overload approved. at the end of the day, they’re the ones who will assess whether or not they feel it’s a reasonable courseload for you.

the bottom line is, though, technically it’s possible. not in any way recommended, but you do you best.

here’s to all-nighters, sleep-deprivation, and ungodly amounts of coffee (exam szn is best szn),


Apr 10

PROBing the limits

Hi, I was just wondering what the max course load of someone on probation is supposed to be (Annual and Summer session)? Is the max a suggestion or university policy? Thanks



according to my best friend the artsci rules and regs, if you’re on academic probation you can take up to five courses per semester in fall/winter, and during the summer your limit is two. these limitations (fortunately or unfortunately?) are not suggestions– the faculty you’re with will remove you from courses you take beyond those, and i don’t think you get to choose which ones you’re removed from. so it’s best not to risk it, in case they boot you from a class you need. 

hope this helped! here’s a gif of some smol pups to brighten your day, because lord knows we all need that now that exams are on.




Mar 29

too many horror stories or whatever

I want to come to utsc for math, and I’m really scared I won’t be able to make it through, I currently have an average of 92.5 in high school (senior year). Are there any tips for me


hello prospective fellow student!

feels like this question tends to hover over the heads of everyone considering u of t. it sure hovered over mine, before i decided to just take the plunge and deal with whatever consequences might come. and so far… the school hasn’t been nearly as bad as i expected. i figure you’ve probably heard/read a lot of horror stories, just like i did before i got here.

i don’t know anything firsthand about utsc or math, to be honest. all i know is what my experience at utsg has been like– and it hasn’t been as terrible as i heard it would. i actually really like it here. with that said, i really want to stress that everyone’s experience at the university is different. i have the advantage (and it does matter) of loving my programs a lot, having a solid support network, and living on res. it also helped me to drop down to 4 courses my first semester, which– if you’re able to do it– is something i’d recommend. it helps with adjustment, yknow?

previous askas have written some pretty solid posts on this i can link you to, on getting work done, buttering up your profs,  and using the resources at your disposal.  these are probably the three biggest recommendations i’d make to you: develop a strong work ethic, engage with your instructors/classes, and know what’s there at the university to help you make it through. as i said, i’m not too familiar with utsc but there are definitely supports there in place. just know that it’s not impossible to do well at u of t, no matter what reddit declares.

bottom line– scared you won’t make it through? chances are you’ll probably be all right, especially with that entering average. but i make no concrete promises or predictions. like a previous aska has put it, the experience will be what you make of it.

i’m planning to put up a comprehensive askastudent guide to surviving this uni, hopefully sometime soon (lord knows we need one). will link it in the comments below once it’s up.




Mar 26

don’t b confused!

Hi there,

I just had a question about cGPA, if my Cgpa is currently at a 2.61 does that mean it’s in the B- range? I’m a bit confused because the scale jumps from a 2.3 which is a C+, to a 2.7 which is a B-, and mine is in between the two.



the thing with gpa is it’s just… complicated and kind of stupid sometimes. i brought this up with my registrar, and they told me that all it means is that you’re in the middle. which tells you nothing new, i know.

you are closer to a C+, but apparently you’re not definitively one or the other. it’s frustrating. even i’m a lil frustrated on your behalf– my gut says that if you’ve got to put your GPA down somewhere, for a job app or something (???) it would be more honest to go with the lower range of things, and just say you’re at a C+. even though i feel like it should round up.

you could always try plugging your info into the GPA calculator (not sure why it’s struck thru lol internet things big sorry) and see what it says. maybe that’ll be more helpful!

hope this eased your confusion, even though it doesn’t feel like much of an answer.



Mar 22

what is this, valentine’s day?

Hello again!

I just had a few quick questions regarding program enrollment. So, for my english major and creative expression and society minor it says that I can apply from March 1-September 18th 2019 and then for my book and media studies it says March 1-May 12 2019 but to check for results on July 2nd 2019 and enroll by August 7th 2019. Does this mean I can apply for it now for my second year beginning in September? Because I went to enroll in acorn and it said that the “start session” begins Summer 2019 but am I not enrolled nor do I want to enroll in summer school. I’m just confused on what this means.



hi again and welcome back!


lot of dates you got there. not all of us can relate.

SORRY anyways, all this info you’ve got boils down to yes, you can apply to your programs now for september. that summer start session thing just means hypothetically, if you DID want to start courses for your program in the summer, you’d be able to.

this is the statement the registrar put out about start sessions, that does a way better job of explaining things:

Heads up: If you have just enrolled in a program and the Start Session says 2019 Summer, that’s normal! It doesn’t mean you need to start taking courses this summer. The purpose of the Start Session is so you know which year you added the program, and which calendar’s requirements you will be following in order to complete the program.

hope this helped!

over n out,


Mar 21

don’t worry bout it

12 distinct credit: Does this rule apply to a Specialist and a Major? If yes then, does the first year courses count? Because if it does then I will have 6.5 overlapping credit. Applied Statistic Specialist and Actuarial Science Major if you need specifics.

Thank you.


hey hey,

got a short but sweet answer for you– the 12 distinct credits rule seems to only apply to the double major/major and two minor combinations. seems like if you’re already completing a specialist, any program you tackle on top of that is allowed to have unlimited overlap. so i think you’re good, m’friend. 

over n out,


Mar 19

you are loved (cw: suicide)

How does U of T inform students of suicides? I only hear about them from friends or I suspect that something occurs after clubs/groups post about mental health on social media.


hello friend,

i’m glad you sent this in because i was meaning to put something up on this subject. i spent a good chunk of yesterday at the protest, and my heart is with those who lost a loved one this weekend as well as everyone who’s even been marginally affected. i know it was triggering for a lot of people; i myself had to skip a few classes because i just… couldn’t. and this time, i didn’t even lose someone– for those who did, i can’t even imagine what things are like right now.

from what i’ve heard and could find, u of t’s practice every time a suicide happens is to keep things quiet. with the most recent one, the health and wellness director janine robb either would not or could not confirm anything beyond a “tragic incident.” if there is an official policy enforcing this (there probably is lol bureaucracy), it’s not one that was transparent enough for me to find. apparently the family did ask for privacy at this time, which i respect.

as far as i know, the policy for on-campus student organizations and publications like the varsity is only to report the facts they have available at the time. as i’m sure you know, every time there’s an ‘incident’ (in robb’s words) a lot of speculation starts to swirl around, and so they’re careful to only publish information that’s been confirmed several times over. especially because this is such a fraught and painful situation, the students running papers and the like are being particularly cautious.

i do understand, though, the craving for more humanity from the institution that is u of t. it definitely makes me angry, that it feels like these deaths are just being swept under the rug as if they really were just numbers and not beloved members of our community. we have nothing to remember the people we’ve lost by– no names, not even the vaguest trace of an identity. to me and some of the others i’ve been talking to, it feels like remembering their names matters because under different circumstances, those names could have been ours. but good lord, the family has every right to their privacy. and i’m not sure of any happy medium between the two.

if there is an underlying anxiety to your question, it’s definitely one i understand. i called one of my close friends from home last night to work through what i was feeling, and when they asked if i knew the person who died, i realized– i can’t be sure. i guess if they were someone i was close to i would already have heard, but there are so many people at this school we know in passing, chat with outside lectures but otherwise don’t keep up with. u of t is a big school, but in some ways it’s also very small– there’s only a few degrees of separation between any two students. so when the school loses someone, we feel it. and we wonder.

i know you didn’t ask, but if you or anyone reading this wants to get involved with improving the system, you can check out this facebook page where a movement seems to be gaining ground. as well, the how many lives project is an up-and-coming attempt to create a student space for dialogue around mental health at the university, in an effort towards greater transparency. there’s a very clear systemic failure here, but with the breakthrough to admin last night at the protest, we have a real opportunity to begin collaborating with the university on some change. let’s not waste it.

three in one year is too many. one would have been too many. i had to rewrite this post from scratch since i lost the original version, so i’m pretty drained now and all out of words. but my ask box is always open for these heavier things, in addition to academic advice and fun stuff. i’m not a specialist and don’t even feel like an adult, so i want to be careful about the responsibility i take on here and want to be clear i’m not offering therapy. but i feel like it’s only honest to, on this platform, acknowledge what students at this school struggle with. even if i’m anonymous, i want this to be a place you can come to ask a question and get a lil humanity back, yknow?

wanna leave everyone lurking on this blog with a few words of encouragement: you are loved. your presence in the lives of those around you is valuable. and if there’s anything you’re struggling through right now, don’t be afraid to ask for help. i know wait times with health & wellness are long, and no one wants to be a burden to their friends. but please. this world is better with you in it.

all my best,


Mar 19

aaaaand it’s that time of year again


This may be a completely dumb question but, I am currently in my first year at UTSG and am deciding on what I want to major and minor in. I know for sure that I want to major in english and minor in literary studies but I am currently stuck on what to pick for my second minor. I wanted to do film studies but I haven’t taken the introduction to film studies this year and I heard that you can’t apply to be in film studies unless you have taken the intro course first. But, my question was if this is true or not and if I am able to apply for film studies and take the intro class in my second year. I have a back up plan to choose book & media studies as my second minor if film doesn’t work out. But, I was also wondering (this may sound really stupid so sorry!) if we apply for our programs at the end of our first year or the end of second year and when we are to apply. Also, one final question, can I apply for my major and then three minors in case one is difficult to get into and I don’t get into one (because film & book and media studies are more difficult). For example, if i apply for my major as english and then my minors as literary studies, film studies, and book & media studies, and if i get into all then I just pick the two minors I want the most.

Sorry if this was really long and makes no literal sense!


hello n welcome!

i don’t believe in dumb questions. i’ll answer anything. your confusion is valid, the school’s system can be difficult to navigate and that’s why i’m on here, running this world-class (lmao i wish) blog.

so i’ve looked it up, but i can’t find any mention of… literary studies at u of t? so for the purposes of this post, i’m just gonna assume you mean literature and critical theory, or what i really wanna call lit&crit. if i’m wrong and literary studies is an actual program, feel free to correct me with as much salt as you’d like.

according to the cinema studies minor page it is true that yeah, you need the intro class CIN105Y1 in order to get into the program. you’ll need at last a 70 percent in the course to be competitive for admission. if your heart is set on studying the art of the silver screen, then what i’d recommend you do is register for the course in your second year and try to apply for the minor at the end of next year. you won’t be able to register and then take the intro course, as they require a final mark in that class to let you in.

that’s a good transition into your next question, about when to apply for programs. technically, you’re allowed to apply for a program at the end of your first year. this program request period has already started, and the dates vary by program type. you can check them all out here, which i would recommend doing just so you know what your deadlines are. however, there’s nothing stopping you from engaging in this program request period in later years, as well.

the only thing you really should know is that once you hit your second year (complete 4.0 FCEs), you’re required to be enrolled in programs or else you’ll be blocked from course registration. 

for your last question, how it works is that you can apply to multiple programs as long as they’re not all type 1 programs. i’m not sure how familiar you are with the system, so i can give you a quick rundown of the program types. type 1 programs have no restrictions on enrolment. as soon as you request the program, you’re automatically added to it– english and lit&crit are both type 1. type 2 programs generally require a specific grade threshold in a specific course to be met– for example, a 70 percent in CIN105Y1. type 3 programs essentially add extra requirements, like auditions and essays, on top of what a type 2 asks.

at the end of the day, you can only be enrolled in 3 subject POSts at once. that’s why you can’t pick four type 1s, but you can request two type 1s and two type 2s. if you did get admitted to both the type 2 programs you requested, you’d only be able to accept one in addition to your two other programs.

if that’s too confusing, just know that in your case, theoretically you would be able to request that combo of programs (eng, cin, lit&crit, book and media). however, as you haven’t taken the cin intro course, i guess it’s not as relevant? 

what you can do if you don’t get into book and media is request a placeholder minor. this is any type 1 minor that you can easily drop at the end of the year, and replace with something you like more– like cin, if you take the intro course!

hopefully this was helpful to you! in other words, i really hope i didn’t just make your head spin even more with the long post. comments section is open for complaints if i did. i know it’s tough juggling all that comes with march (wrapping up midterms! quickly approaching finals! tackling assignments like you’re putting out lil fires!) on top of figuring out how the HECK programs work.

all the best,



Mar 15

mario kart ghost mode is the only mode that matters

Hi there,

I am currently in my third year  at UTSG and sitting at a 2.61 GPA and I am feeling pretty shitty about myself, I had a pretty rough last semester, but am trying to get myself back on track for my last year and a half. Is messing up a semester going to set me back significantly? do you think that taking summer courses and trying to get good grades in my 4th year would be enough time for me to pull my GPA back up? I feel really bad because I went from a 2.9 in my first year to a 2.61 in my first semester of third year, because of personal reasons and I also changed programs. How do I stop comparing myself to the accomplishment of others? I know my GPA is not the worst, still a B, but it is so hard being surrounded by others who are doing so well, and is so toxic and damaging to my mental health.


I was advised by my registrar to drop the courses that I was not doing well in this year to save my GPA, which brought me to 3 courses per term, which is still a full time status, and was told that i would not get in trouble with OSAP for dropping these courses. Is this correct? I am afraid to drop the courses I want to this semester because of this and I do not want to get into any type of trouble with osap.




coupla questions here, so i guess i’ll break it up like i usually do.

can i pull my gpa up?

i thought about this one for a while. looked at the numbers and all, and tried to figure out if there was some mathy way i could give you reassurance. unfortunately, my brain doesn’t really work like that, but i can link you to the u of t gpa calculator that will be able to give you a more definitive answer anyway. basically, it’ll let you input your grades so far, as well as hypothetical grades for future semesters. then, it’ll calculate your SGPA and CGPA with all that considered.

the thing with summer courses is that they are accelerated, so they can sometimes be harder to do well in. so just be cautious before rushing into it, i would say.


ah, money issues. so for your OSAP to be secure as an undergrad, you need to have at least 1.5 credits per term– that translates to three courses. as long as you make sure you keep these three courses, your osap should be safe! keep in mind this doesn’t mean an average of three per semester– you can’t take two now and four later, and hope you’ll be okay. osap looks at each term separately. and if you do have a permanent disability of any sort, that requirement drops down to 1.0 credits or two courses.

what about my mental health?

i feel like i should start by linking you to mental health resources. i’m only really aware of the ones @uoftears_ on instagram uses: where to get free mental health help in toronto, as well as the university health and wellness centre and mental health resources. if you check these out, they’ll likely to be able to give you better support than i can, and if you’re struggling with your own mental health i want you to get the best help possible.

with that said, this is definitely something i’m sensitive to.  every time i get a question along these lines i’m at once saddened that another person feels this way, but glad that we have the opportunity to talk about it a little. we go to a competitive school, and based on your program/community maybe you’ll feel it more than others might.

one way i’ve been taught to look at it– and you can decide for yourself whether this perspective makes you feel better or pisses you off– is that you never know what’s going on under the surface. it may seem like some people have it all– are doing super well, have that golden 4.0, whatever. the thing is, people with all sorts of GPAs are self-conscious about their grades, and those at the higher end of the scale often feel an insane amount of pressure that begins to impede on their mental health as well. seems like they should be happy with what they’ve got, yeah, but the happiness isn’t intrinsic to the number– it’s more about how you look at it.

basically, it can be rough no matter what your GPA is, unless you’re able to work towards the place where your grades and self-worth aren’t intertwined. obviously, this is just my take. it’s something i struggle quite a lot with myself, if that helps. i myself was raised in an environment where my self-esteem was contingent on my academic achievement, and that’s something i’d like to leave behind but haven’t yet. bad grades still feel hella personal, especially when i know people are doing a lot better than me. so i definitely sympathize there.

something i’m trying to learn is that it’s definitely healthier to focus on yourself. think about it like playing mario kart ghost mode, if you will. sure, you can try to out-race everyone else, but because i SUCK at racing games i’ve learned to be okay with beating my own record. hopefully someday that’ll transfer over to the rest of my life. but for now, it’s a start. wow, a metaphor! hope my high school english teacher would be proud.

suffice it to say that i really hope you’ll be able to pull your GPA up, but if you can’t? just work on what you can control– improving your study habits, learning the material, and reaching out when you need help. and throw some time in to take care of yourself too, man. put on a face mask. spend a lil time outside, now that it’s warming up. watch an episode of a show you like. idk, whatever works for you. best of luck, my friend.

x aska

Mar 08

the unofficial aska tour of utsg


I have graduated from U of T a few years ago and some oversea visitors would like me to take them to see the campus. I recall there are many interesting stories about ie. Victoria college and also interesting stories about architecture designs, and wonder if there is some material you can share with me so I do not have to reinvent the wheel doing the research to provide an insightful tour that lives up to our school’s reputation?

I will be taking them around on March 9th and if you could please share something with me before then that would be highly appreciated.

hey there,

man this is such a fun one i don’t know where to start. i also don’t know if my system of organization is the best one out there, but it’s…there. i take feedback. shoot me your complaints.
as you’ll see, i didn’t end up with a lot about architectural details, but i hope the stuff i dug up is of some interest to you. brace yourself for a long and occasionally haunted post.


university college (uc)

ah, uc. home to the fireball, the junior common room, and really old, creaky, poorly-lit hallways. it’s u of t’s poster child, a national historic site, and is mostly made of yellow brick grimy enough to look like stone. the east staircase of uc’s main building is guarded by a carved griffin; a long time ago, students used to rub it for luck before taking an exam, but the tradition has since died out. which like, i’m not complaining about. would hate to have to trek there, then all the way to the godforsaken exam centre.

in 1868, a bunch of undergrads baited a cow all the way up the stairs, til it made it to the top of the dining hall’s bell tower. this cow belonged to the uc steward. what’s a steward? why did he have a cow? i dunno, but they had the brilliant idea to tie the cow’s tail to the rope that rang the bell. as anyone with good sense knows, it’s not a good idea to have a cow climb down stairs. once she was discovered, they ended up putting her on a board and sliding her all the way back down in order to rescue her. it’s true. i was there. i was the board.

looking for a saucy ghost story to impart? uc is the setting of what’s arguably the university’s most popular ghost story, starring diabolos and reznikoff. since you graduated from the school, you’re likely to know that each of them now has a namesake cafe on campus, diabolos in uc and reznikoff on st. george.

anyway, sometime in the 1850s, diabolos and reznikoff were uc stonemasons madly in love with the same woman. reznikoff went after diabolos with an axe, presumably to assert his dominancce, but surprise surprise, diabolos got the upper hand and murdered his rival with a much smaller knife. the lesson here is to fight smart and not strong, friends. according to the legend, he went on to stash reznikoff’s body somewhere in the building; during a fire some years later, skeletal remains were found. if you look carefully, you’re purportedly able to find the axe marks still embedded in the door where the murder occurred. apparently, reznikoff’s ghost haunts the property to this day.


uc also happens to be a movie star! it’s visible in a scene from the vow, and i bet a bunch of other lesser-known films.

trinity college

episkopon! trin’s cult is the first thing i heard about the college, even before i showed up on campus. they’re infamous for their exclusivity, deep-rooted traditions (the group dates back to 1858), and hazing rituals. especially the hazing rituals. episkopon is no longer officially connected to trin, but is still very much alive and conducting meetings. this year, i heard their initiation involved getting students drunk, blindfolding them, and having them jaywalk across bloor. could be pure rumor, though, keep in mind.

trin is also known for its oxbridge-inherited traditions, one of which are their high table dinners. once a week, students will don harry potter-esque robes to dine in strachan hall, the college’s dining hall. at one point in history, students who showed up but couldn’t afford the robe would be forcibly removed from the hall in a “pooring-out.” the tradition has since involved to “pouring-outs,” in which a student is removed for “doing something infamous.”

at the end of strachan is a massive tapestry, dating back to about the 17th century. mostly made of silk, it hails from the netherlands and shows the scene from the bible in which king solomon meets the queen of sheba.

innis college 

i mean, i don’t have any interesting stories about innis. but i gotta plug it for having the best cafe on campus. as far as i know, it’s family-owned and the staff are real sweethearts, honestly. if you want to try campus food (but why), innis cafe is where it’s at. plug plug plug.

most friday evenings, you can catch free films screening in the innis town hall as well.

victoria college

wow, another hollywood star! vic was cast as queen’s college in cbc’s anne, the tv remake of lucy maud montgomery’s classic novel anne of green gables. we get it, u of t, you’re photogenic.

there’s also a story that there were once two vic professors who taught in the same second-floor classroom; one was irrationally attached to his heavy oak lectern and the other preferred space to move as he taught. weeks passed, and the lectern was moved in and out of the room until the latter prof decided the solution was to toss it out the window. i wonder what sound it made when it hit the ground. maybe i should reenact it and find out.

i’ve never confirmed this for myself, but inside burwash dining hall, queen victoria’s burial flag is supposed to be up on display– after her death, it was gifted to the college. pop your head in and give it a look, if you like.

vic’s known to have a bunch of pretty awesome alumni, including lester b. pearson, prime minister of canada and winner of the nobel peace prize for his work resolving the suez crisis. lester b! the first canadian to win the prize, apparently. margaret atwood also belongs to the ranks of vic alumni. cue handmaids.

there’s a pervasive urban legend that northrop frye hall has a mcdonald’s somewhere in it. you can comb the building if you want and see what you find, but… like… you won’t find a fry in frye, unless you’ve brought it there yourself. sorry ’bout it.

…other buildings 

convocation hall 

con hall seats a freaking lot of people. wikipedia says it’s 1,730, which honestly sounds about right. it was never meant to be a classroom, but today many first-year general lectures with hundreds of students are taught under its very large dome. if those students make it to the end of their degree, con hall is also where they’ll walk across the stage and receive their diploma. so much money and so many tears just for a fancy piece of paper? sign me up!

a scene from mean girls was actually filmed here– themathletes competition, near the end of the film, shows both the exterior and interior of con hall. if you haven’t seen the movie, you’ve probably seen this gif:

yup, that’s in con hall.

hart house

a bunch of people take wedding photos on campus, but you can actually get married at hart house. it’s also got an art museum, a reading room, and a theatre that donald sutherland used to perform at. apparently you can also get haircuts there? wow, what a well-rounded student center.

the only reason hart house has a gym today is because of stubborn students. u of t laid the original foundation for the gym behind uc, where a vast playing field was located; students loved the field so much they offered to pay for the removal of the foundation if u of t would just move the freaking gym. they were even willing to carry out most of the work to remove it. am i impressed by that dedication? hell yea.

anyway, the university seemed content to relocate the gym to hart house, and the back campus playing field is still very much in operation today. i mean, i saw girls doing field hockey practice in what i’m pretty sure was negative degree weather. student athletes. they’re stronger than me.

it turns out, though, women were once barred from hart house; in fact, when kennedy spoke there in 1957, he did so for a male-only audience, and was later recorded as saying, “it’s a pleasure to be in a country where women cannot mix in everywhere.” apparently, a huge factor in keeping hart house male-only was so the men could continue swimming nude in the pool, a beloved tradition of theirs. when women found out, they offered to join in, but unfortunately (and unsurprisingly) were not permitted. it wasn’t until 1972 that women would be allowed to use the hart house facilities.


all the students have been mad about the way u of t’s been conducting closures this winter. a l l. but according to the university, at least robarts will always be open 24 hours! i’ll catch you the night before the next snowstorm, sleeping over somewhere in the reading room.

despite the amount of contention among students at the school, robarts is in fact shaped like a peacock, not a turkey (or a goose, or babar the elephant).  this is most obvious if you look at the building from the st. george/hoskin intersection.

what most people don’t know (or at least i didn’t) is that the tower forming the peacock’s head doesn’t serve any function. it’s puuuuure aesthetic– which means it was on the chopping block when the university tried to cut building costs. the only reason robarts has a head today is because the chairman of the committee in charge was informed it would cost ten grand. ten grand! what a bargain! wish i could relate. but that’s why our main library isn’t a headless bird.

there’s an episode of friends with robarts in it, too! season 10, episode 13 at 5 minutes 25 seconds in. thanks, reddit. 

fisher rare books library, which is housed in the same building as robarts, contains the only copy of shakespeare’s first folio in canada. or marlowe’s, if you prefer. it’s one of only 228 surviving copies in the world, and dates back to 1623– or in other words, the heyday of black teeth, emptying chamber pots into the streets, and people who wore neck ruffs so large a gust of wind could knock them over. fun times, fun times. why do i feel like i’m… not missing out?

36 of his most famous plays are included in the book, which is valued at about $6mil. unfortunately, it’s so valuable the public can’t walk in and see it– special arrangements have to be made. but if you’d like, the library has plenty of other super rare books on display that you can walk in and see!


don’t think i’ve ever personally been inside this building. but should you wish to showcase it on your tour, it was a filming location for good will hunting as a stand-in for MIT and harvard. the movie later went on to win an oscar. which basically means… we won an oscar, guys.

at one point, u of t was a nuclear power– that is, before the accelerator was decommissioned. the shell still sits somewhere in mclennan, but is obviously no longer hurling particles around at stupid speeds. mmm, unfortunate.

varsity stadium

the ice rink didn’t seem that impressive to me when i was in there as a froshie, but apparently it’s got killer acoustics. many many years ago– think the 30s and 40s– a bunch of symphony concerts were held inside the arena.

not into symphonies? john lennon performed here once, with his plastic ono band in 1969. it was right before the beatles split up, but by the time he played the varsity concert he already knew it was going to happen.


gerstein is apparently the university’s oldest building built specifically to be a library. it was remodelled about 100 years ago to add a two-level safe for rare books and valuables, that extends down into the basement. i don’t know how interesting that’s gonna be to you, since you can’t access it from anywhere other than the chief librarian’s office. but anyway, this giant walk-in safe now holds office supplies, because errything important got snatched up by the rare book library.

regis college

there’s this old story floating around about this place that’s a little bloody. yay, murder!! this is how it goes:

there was a man named robert christie, whose father– the christie of mr. christie’s cookies– passed away. naturally, rob christie and his wife then moved into the vacant house. that’s it. that’s the story. horrifying, huh?

just kidding. see, christie had a sidepiece hidden away in one of the manor’s many rooms, literally locked away so no one would find out he was having an affair. eventually, he got bored with her, and the poor girl ended up hanging herself from her bedframe. a ghost haunts that same room to this day, occasionally swinging the door shut to lock people in. no one’s sure if it’s the mistress, or if it’s christie himself, attempting to trap more women from beyond the grave. exercise caution, etc. etc. or don’t, it’s up to you.

i had to do a little digging to figure out where this urban legend actually happened, because there’s no quick google maps result for “christie manor.” turns out the place has been renamed to regis, and i’ve been walking past it since my first day on campus. huh.


i feel a little weird sharing this because it’s a place i like best when there’s no one there / it’s quiet. but if you promise to be nice about it, i’ll give it to you as well. the nexus lounge on the 12th floor of oise has the best publicly accessible skyline views on campus. it’s only open on weekdays, according to a security guard i spoke to in the building once– so you might not be able to throw it in on your tour. i guess this one’s for future references, then.

if you show up on a weekend, like i did the first time i sought it out, you can still kinda see a view but the glass doors will be locked. don’t be like my friend and try to reach through the gap to unbolt them. your fingers will not fit, and it’s also a sketchy sketchy thing to try. just…come back on a weekday. please.

fun facts!

– most of the architecture on campus is modelled after oxford and cambridge.

– we’ve got north america’s third best university library system, beat only by harvard and yale.

– u of t’s student newspaper, the varsity, is one of canada’s oldest. you can pick up a copy at most campus buildings. it also puts out a feature magazine twice a year. some pretty successful people have come out of it, including william lyon mackenzie king, of prime minister fame.

– utsg is infamous for not closing, especially for bad weather. i’ve heard a joke that it’s only closed three times, and two of those were for world war i and world war ii. but as it turns out, u of t didn’t even want to close for the first world war. it only ended up shutting down because ~total war~ meant war industries ate up all the fuel, so u of t ran short of coal and didn’t have much of a choice. classic.

– penicillin was invented at u of t! the discovery is credited to frederick banting, a u of t grad. we’re doing important work here, yall.

– each year beginning in 1955, the university used to hold an annual winter carnival and, during the festivities, would select a snow queen. the criteria for the crown? her enthusiasm, appearance, ability to snowshoe, cook pancakes over an open flame, and wood-sawing skills. what a gal. i don’t even think elsa would qualify.

anyway, this concludes your askastudent tour of st. george. man. you’ve made me want to be a tour guide, and not gonna lie i feel a little bit qualified now that i’ve made it through this post. wishing you good weather for your tour! lowkey not just for you, for me. winter’s making me mad. when will the snow be gone?

anyway, ending this post with a meme. original content, brought to you by yours truly. except i don’t own any of the photos. tag yourself, i’m robarts.

over n out,


Mar 01

patience is (not) for wimps

What’s usually the last day for applications to get back to the students? Because I haven’t gotten mine yet and am getting worried.



no need to be worried at all– it’s normal to not have heard from the university at this point in the year. i’m not sure what faculty you applied to, but this is what the artsci website indicates:

if you’re from ontario, there are three rounds of offers sent out, in february, march, and may. the latest you should expect to hear back, then, should be the end of may.

if you’re coming from outside of ontario, the rounds are early feb, late march, and late may. if you waited until the document deadline to submit your documents, you probably won’t be contacted until late may. not sure why, that’s just what the site says.

couldn’t find anything from daniels, engineering, etc., so if you’re not a potential artsci kid i honestly don’t know what to tell you. hopefully it’s about the same, though.

what i can tell you from personal experience is that you’ll get the earliest news through the website. make sure you’re logged into it and all, and then check that periodically. if you wait to get the email, it can take a little longer to get the news– i believe it was a week or two for me, between the time my letter was uploaded to the portal and the day i received the email. so like, not a significant delay. but it’s something.

don’t stress too much over it, don’t abuse the reload button, etc etc. because the news will come when it comes. which like, i know it’s easy to say. but it’s out of your hands for now anyway, right? no amount of thinking bout it will speed things up, unfortunately.

the doctor, as much as i adore him, is wrong on this one:

best of luck. i hope when the news does come, it’s good.


Feb 28

upping the ANT(e)

Can I major and minor in the same thing? I mean they are slightly different. Like if I’m majoring in Anthroplogy (Science) for the BSc… and want to minor in Anthroplogy (Arts) is it allowed? My other minor is Political Science.


hello hello,

sorry it took so long for me to get to this!

as far as the artsci degree requirements indicate, as long as you have 12.0 distinct full-course equivalents (FCEs) between your programs, you’re able to take both the anthro major and minor. i consulted the undergrad anthro page for your requirements, and it seems like if you’re careful with the courses you choose, you are able to get 12.0 distinct credits out of this combination.

i’d suggest you talk to your registrar just to confirm. degree explorer is also a useful tool we’ve recommended in the past, that can help you track this yourself.

this is kind of a weird one– usually i’d suggest you take a specialist if you love your stuff that much, but i guess one isn’t available for the sciencey anthropology. huh.

peace, love, and fairy dust (we’re team oxford comma here),


Feb 18

take notes, boys

Hello! How many classes do i need to volunteer to write notes for (the accessibility services note taking) to get it on my CCR? I’m currently volunteering for one class.


bless up, an easy one to answer– didn’t have to dig too deep or hype myself up to unravel a multi-question-what-the-heck-is-going-on kinda ask. not that i’m complaining about those, they’re fun in their own way.

so i checked out the student life page for volunteer note-taking, which says there are two criteria you need to meet to add note-taking to your CCR. first, you need to be taking notes for at least 3 classes. i think this means 3 courses simultaneously. second, you need to be sending in 80% of the notes.

if you can manage to make those thresholds, you’ll be eligible for CCR credit. but if you only end up taking notes for one course, i’d recommend at least contacting student life to get a certificate of completion. you can find that contact info on the note-taking webpage.

hope this helped! and hey, pat on the back for helping accessibility services out. you’re doing important work.

over n out,


Feb 18

we love a good second chance

Hey, so I wanted to know if you can retake a course you “no credited”? I want to major in sociology but I took only SOC102, LWD SOC103, and NCR SOC150 ( first 2 yrs were tough) There’s only certain combinations allowed and my only hope really is if I’m allowed to try SOC150 again.  Any advice?!



hi there,

did some digging for ya, and i’m not gonna lie– initially, it looked like it was gonna be bad news. as far as the artsci website says, you shouldn’t ever cr/ncr a course if there’s even a remote chance you’ll need it for program enrolment. the implication being, you don’t have many options if you’ve already done so.

HOWEVER. i read through half of the faculty of arts and sciences rules and regulations to see if i could find you a loophole, and it looks like there might actually be one.

chelsea peretti television GIF by Brooklyn Nine-Nine

apparently if you’ve already passed a course, you’re not allowed to retake it; that includes courses you’ve passed with ‘CR’. but under the ‘repeating passed courses’ section, the rules allow for a single repeat of a course to achieve the minimum entry mark for a program like soc. this retake won’t count towards your gpa or graduation requirements, but it will be on your academic record.

either way, what’s important in your case is that yes, you are able to give SOC150 another shot!

in order to make it happen, you’ll need to get in contact with your college registrar. they’ll be able to give you further advice as well as enrol you in the course (from what i’ve read, i don’t think you can enrol in it yourself). i believe you’ll have lower priority to get in than students taking the course for the first time, but don’t let that stop you from going after this.

best of luck,

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