• petition

    take care of yourself, bro

    I failed a course this summer due to horrible health issues. I ended up writing the deferred final exam and I’m scared they won’t accept my petition to late withdrawal without academic penalty…. I’m thinking of taking a year off because of my heath so I can eventually get back to studies. And I was thinking if this WDR request gets denied could I CR/NCR Petition it? So it’s going to be NCR, however I do need this credit for my program requirement… so if it’s NCR would that create problems?

    ——————————————

    hey there,

    i’m so sorry you had to deal with those health issues! it’s been a minute since you asked this, so maybe you have the results of your petition already, but i’ll do my best to answer this anyway.

    i’m not really sure if you can petition to cr/ncr a course if a WDR petition has been denied. that would be a question to email or call your registrar’s office with. but if you do successfully petition to cr/ncr the course, that will throw a wrench in your plans whether or not the final designation is cr or ncr. that’s because the cr/ncr designation can’t be used towards program requirements.

    if this course fulfills a flexible requirement, ie. “take 2.0 FCEs from either list A, B, or C” you’ll need to choose a different course in order to fulfill that requirement. if this course is a rigid requirement, as in you need this specific course in order to complete your program, you’ll likely need to retake it. i know that you can retake failed classes, but i’m not 100% sure if you can take classes designated ncr. my gut says probably yes, but my brain says email your registrar and confirm since the rules and regulations don’t make that explicitly clear. but if you can retake passed courses (with restrictions), you shoulddddd be able to retake ncr-designated courses.

    (off topic, but did you see that video of that one professor who commissioned a video from snoop dogg to drive home the point that his students should read his syllabus? apparently he spent like $700ish on it? wild.)

    anyway, the arts and science students’ union (ASSU) is considering advocating for the cr/ncr deadline to be pushed until after final marks are released, so that people who are in your situation don’t need to jump through so many hoops. if you’re interested in seeing that go through, you can show them the support they need by filling out this google form. 

    best of luck with everything, and please take a year off if you need to! if i’ve learned anything from this year of absolute chaos, it’s that your health is really the most important thing and there are no substitutes for looking after it. wishing you a smooth recovery <3

    be Boundless,

    aska

  • work-study

    what if we… applied to jobs we aren’t qualified for… haha jk… unless?

    Hi I just checked out Clnx as I was looking for a part-time and people told me it’s best if I can get one through UT’s work-study program. However all the positions I saw were meant for higher-years. Do you know any jobs that will take first-years? Or is work-study typically not a first-year thing?

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    hey there,

    first years are definitely eligible for the work-study program! i know it can be a bit tougher to find jobs that feel like they’re geared towards u of t newcomers, but i’d encourage you to apply to anything you’re interested in, even if you don’t think you’re qualified. i’ve definitely seen a few openings that i think would make sense for a first-year to go for, like basic office jobs or assistant positions. you can also think about what strengths and interests you have, and filter the job postings accordingly— for example, i know a girl who got a work-study position doing some illustration and graphic design. for creative or skill-based jobs like those, i don’t think it would matter very much what year you’re in.

    if you don’t see anything that makes sense for you to apply for, i think some places are still adding work-study positions right now, so i’d recommend checking the site regularly up until the deadline to apply.

    if you need any help with your resume, cover letters, or interviewing skills, you should check out these career-advising appointments available to u of t students. they’re able to dole out some fantastic advice, most of which an average person wouldn’t know, and can even advise you on your job search in general.

    i do agree with whoever told you that the work-study program is a good idea. i’m a work-study student myself, and find that it affords me a ton of flexibility with my work hours that i probably wouldn’t have otherwise. plus, it’s super useful to work with a university faculty, college, or program, since it gives you a lil inside look at how things work at this school. i learned so much more about u of t from my work-study program than i did from literally anywhere else. aaaaand you get CCR recognition, which is always a win.

    anyway, sending you some physically-distanced encouragement with this weird, weird SNL gif i found. don’t let your first-year status hold you back in your job search!

    be Boundless,

    aska

     

     

  • quercus

    what’s the dealio?

    hi! it is currently September 08 (two days before the semester starts) and none of my courses are up on quercus yet. What’s the dealio?

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    hey there!

    my guess is that either you’re a wide-eyed first year— otherwise, you’ve somehow managed to consistently get profs who are more on top of their work than the ones i’ve gotten. i wouldn’t worry too much about courses not being up on quercus yet— i’ve literally had quercus shells posted sometimes a week, a week and a half into the semester. i get that late quercus shells are even less ideal this year, given that many classes are online.

    if you’re really worried about it, once the first day of that class has come i’d shoot a polite email to the prof just to check in. but i anticipate that some profs are probably doing some last-minute work and their quercus shells won’t be ready for launch til right before the class starts, which is my best guess as to why you’re in this situation today.

    tl:dr don’t worry too much! and good luck with the semester.

    be Boundless,

    aska

  • graduation

    “the final degree” hmm sounds like a climate change horror film haha #ecoanxiety

    hey!! I was wondering if that when you double major in a BA/BSc, what does it say on your degree when you graduate? Do you get to pick whether you want the final degree to be a BA or Bsc? I’m currently enrolled as an honours BSc

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    hey there,

    i believe you do get to pick what your degree reads when you graduate! you can find that info on this webpage— you’ll see that it says whatever’s on ACORN will be your default degree, but you can get in touch with your registrar to change that to another degree you qualify for. so in your case, your default would be an HBSc but you could technically graduate with a HBA as well. i’ve also heard (though i can no longer find any evidence of this) that you can ask to have both an HBA and a HBSc on your diploma, so if that’s something you’re interested in, you could probably inquire about it as well?

    one more note on this topic: i’ve heard that if you’ve chosen a POSt that goes above and beyond your requirements to graduate (for example, a minor on top of a specialist, or on top of two majors) that POSt won’t be shown on your diploma unless you ask for it. if that’s relevant to you, it might be something to keep in mind as well.

    man. thinking about graduation makes me a little sad. i hope that when my time comes, i get to have a real ceremony.

    be Boundless,

    aska

     

  • extracurricular,  greek life

    everything scream queens told you is probably a lie

    hey! im going into my first year and i was really considering joining a sorority since it seems like a good way to make friends, network, and do some philanthropic work. I’m just worried that it’s going to be too clique-y and it’s not going to be as happy and inclusive as they advertise it to be. i know that the panhellic community isn’t affiliated with uoft but do you have any advice or knowledge about what Greek life at uoft is actually like?

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    hello!

    these are definitely some valid concerns. while i’m not a member of the panhellenic community myself, i do know some people who have joined sororities and seem quite happy there. they seem great for networking and developing a sense of community at u of t, and i know a number of them offer leadership development opportunities as well.

    in terms of whether or not it’s as “happy and inclusive” of a lifestyle as it seems, that’s probably a super subjective assessment that only someone in a sorority would be able to make. all i know is that hazing isn’t really as much of a thing in canada as it is in the states (in other words, it’s not allowed). i’ve seen that the president of one u of t sorority has written about the racism and exclusivity built into the greek life system— you can read more here. there’s also a little bit on reddit about u of t sororities here, although reddit should typically be taken with a grain of salt when it comes to accuracy. i just like the note from one redditor in the thread pointing out that you can ask sorority members about their experiences during rush. that’s as close as you can get to knowing what it’s like in a house without actually joining it.

    if you decide to go ahead with joining a sorority, it might be worth it to look into the different philanthropic and social activities each house engages in, to get a sense of which one aligns best with what’s important to you. what values does each house have? what sets it apart from the others? knowing that kind of information well in advance will help you get the best experience out of a sorority, should you choose to join.

    anyway, you can find more information on u of t sororities, including recruitment, here. sorry i can’t be more specific about what kind of cliques and exclusion might be involved, but wishing you the best of luck with making this decision!

    be Boundless,

    aska

  • programs,  transfer credits

    give us priority enrolment!

    hey! really appreciative of what you’re doing here 🙂 I’m a UTSG student and I need to take PHL281 (biothetics) as part of my program (health studies). But, no priority so the waitlist is super long (40% would need to drop lol). PHLB09 at UTSC shows up as transferable to 281 on transfer explorer, and it has lots of space and a great prof. does that mean I can take it and have it count towards my major reqs? i should email the dept, but I don’t know how to write that email/what to say :/

    ——————————————

    hey there,

    this is one of the most annoying things about course enrolment at u of t, tbh… i wish they’d provide priority enrolment for all program requirements. it makes things so hard when the school doesn’t give you priority for courses that you actually need in order to complete your degree.

    as far as i know, if PHLB09 at UTSC is transferrable to the PHL281 at UTSG, you should be able to take it. it might be even easier than normal this year, with hybrid/online classes. i agree that you should probably email the department and double-check. you can keep the message pretty brief. here’s a suggested email from me if you’re not sure what to say:

    “Hello (name of person),

    I’m emailing with a question about a Health Studies program requirement. My name is ______ and I’m a student in the Health Studies major. My student number is _______.

    I haven’t been able to get into PHL281 for this upcoming academic year, but according to Transfer Explorer, PHLB09 at UTSC has been accepted in the past as a transfer credit equivalent to PHL281. I’m wondering whether or not I’d be able to to take PHLB09 in place of PHL281 and have it fulfill the program requirement.

    Thank you for your time and I look forward to a response!”

    i’d also shoot a quick email to your registrar, just to check what else you need to do in order to take a UTSC course and have it count towards a UTSG degree. i’m not sure if this is a letter of permission situation or not, but there are likely other hoops you’ll need to jump through in order to be 100% certain you can get credit for the UTSC course. i think you’ll almost definitely need to interact with the transfer credit department at some point. your registrar will know what to do. don’t forget to include your student number in the email so that they’ll get back to you sooner!

    i hope this helped and good luck.

    be Boundless

    aska

  • petition,  suspension

    two thumbs down

    Hi, I am a student at UTM. I recently got suspended due to academic probation. A mark for a course from winter 2020 was inputted late thus resulting in my suspension. The university has allowed me to continue with my summer semester and I was very motivated towards CCIT as I wanted to switch from commerce. My CGPA for my summer session has improved significantly, as it is above 1.50 and I was wondering how I can highlight this in my petition for early return/lift of suspension. Any Tips?

    ——————————————

    hey there,

    geez, if a mark was inputted late, doesn’t that mean you got suspended for something that literally… was not under your control? maybe i’m misunderstanding something. but if that’s the case, that’s dumb and we don’t like it.

    for this, i would actually reach out to your registrar for advice if you haven’t already. usually i get a wave of suspension questions in the spring right before the summer sem starts, so i can’t remember encountering a case like yours before. an academic advisor might be able to give you better guidance on how to make your petition as strong as possible.

    with that said, if your CGPA is above 1.50, that means you’re in good standing. personally, i would recommend emphasizing that in your petition statement, along with the efforts you’ve gone to in order to bring your CGPA back up. you don’t need to write a novel— something concise will do— but anything to show that you deserve an exception should help. maybe even throw in a little “this is how i plan to keep my GPA up moving forward,” i don’t know?

    best of luck!! i hope your suspension gets lifted early.

    be Boundless,

    aska

  • credits

    after a year at u of t you’ll be able to answer this question in your sleep

    HI! This may sound like a dumb question, but approximately how many courses amount to 20 credits?

    ——————————————

    HI back at you! love the enthusiasm.

    another name for credits at u of t is full course equivalents, or FCEs. once you know that, understanding what 20 credits actually means is a lot simpler— it essentially entails that, to complete your degree, you need the equivalent of 20 full-year courses. with very few exceptions, each full year course is typically worth 1.0 FCE, while each half-year (single-semester) course is worth 0.5 FCE. so to finish your degree with 20.0 FCEs, you’ll need to take some combination of full year courses and half year courses that add up to the right amount. you can also think about it this way: if you plan to take 5 courses each fall/winter semester of your degree (which you totally don’t have to, but many people do), then that means you’ll end up with 20.0 FCEs after four years.

    i hope that makes sense! no dumb questions here, since this blog basically exists to help people navigate the tangle of rules and bureaucracy that is u of t. if you want a handy-dandy tool to help you track your credits and programs, you can check out degree explorer.

    but… oh, honey, if 20 credits confused you, you’re gonna love this thing called the 12 distinct credits rule.

    be Boundless,

    aska

  • CR/NCR,  grad school

    y’all are really testing the limits of my all-knowingness

    hi there, I am going into my third year and I took a breadth course this past summer which I NCR/CR’d. I unfortunately didn’t pass and got a final grade of NCR. I am particularly concerned because I want to go to grad school (particularly masters/law). I am in humanities and the course I didn’t do well in was a science course, but its the first time I failed to get the credit for a course. Will it look bad on my transcript and will it greatly impact my admission chances?

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    hello hello!

    don’t feel too bad about the NCR, it happens sometimes.

    i’m not sure how it’ll look on your transcript or how it will affect your grad school admissions, though. admissions questions are always the toughest for me to answer because, as a fellow student myself, i’ve never worked in admissions or gotten to go behind the scenes of the process.

    something i’ve been told by academic advisors, though, is this: usually when you apply for grad school you’ll have an opportunity to explain any personal circumstances that may have affected your academic record. so if there was a serious reason you didn’t pass the course, you’ll be able to provide that reason to the grad schools you’re applying to.

    other than that…

    you could always try checking in with your registrar, who might know more about this subject than i do. but i have a feeling they’ll redirect you to the specific grad school programs you’re considering, since every program has different admissions policies.

    be Boundless,

    aska
  • bird courses

    sometimes i have more questions than answers

    Hi Aska, I have a question. Is “ITA103: Made in Italy: Italian Fashion from the Theatre to the Runway”, an easy course/bird course? Thank you in advance.

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    hey there,

    i would love to be able to tell you that it is, but i can’t actually lay claim to having taken every single course this esteemed institution offers. i can also see that nothing turns up when i plug the course code into reddit, so there’s no use directing you to that.

    wait, hang on. does this course exist?

    nothing comes up for it in the timetable, and it’s not included under the italian calendar listing. so i actually… don’t really know what to tell you. i actually have more questions for you than answers. why do you know about this course? where are you getting your course listings? is there something you know that i don’t, like a starbucks secret menu, but make it u of t?

    in terms of bird courses in general, though, i always tell people that it’s more important to choose courses that play to your strengths and interests. an ‘easy’ course is super subjective, so even if i had a personal assessment to toss your way, i don’t know that it would be worth very much. plus, if you’re paying tuition, you get more of your money’s worth by investing in courses that make you actually want to engage with the material. a class on italian fashion does sound pretty interesting to me, so if that’s why you’re drawn to it, then by all means— enrol.

    just, maybe, wait for a year in which it’s offered?

    be Boundless,

    aska

     

  • career choice,  grad school

    your brain > my brain

    Hey, so i had earned a masters degree in physics and education from Pakistan and am currently a new immigrant to Toronto and aspiring to build on my skills (and social circle) to land on a good job by getting into a masters program at U of T. I do have OCT certification but getting into Toronto’s teaching market is quite a daunting job. So, i want to have a advice regarding whether to pursue Masters in: (a) Education Policy;(b)Curriculum development and Pedagogy or (c) Meng in Material Science?

    ——————————————

    hi there!

    welcome to toronto, the city of… the CN tower and… the CN tower.

    just kidding, tons of fantastic stuff here. i hope you’re settling into the city well. at some point (when it’s safe), you should check out kensington market, which is my favourite spot in the downtown area. kensington has great bagels, solid coffee shops, and some of the best fresh produce stores in the city. plus a ton of weird stuff happens there. and if you want a skyline view of your new home, the nexus lounge on the top floor of OISE is the place to go. free to enter and publicly accessible on weekdays, aka way, way more worth it than the CN tower. although i guess there are no glass floors.

    to actually answer your question, i actually am really just a student myself, and don’t know if i’m qualified to give the kind of sweeping career/education path advice that you seem to want. i guess my questions for you would be— how would each of these masters’ programs get you closer to your goals? how do you define a good job, and what are your priorities? what industries do you want to build your social networks in?

    if you’re interested in educational leadership of any sort, the master’s in education policy would probably be the route you want to take. lord knows we need some good educational leaders, especially now. i’d actually never heard of the curriculum development and pedagogy program until now, but i’m sure you’d also be able to do some important work with that expertise. i’ve recently come to appreciate how important curricula are in terms of shaping students’ ideologies and thought patterns.

    the MEng in material science also seems like a solid option for you, given your physics background. i guess engineering degrees are prestigious and tend to lead to stable, high-paying jobs. if that’s what you’re after, then by all means, go for it.

    i mean, maybe it’s not a money grab. i’m sure there’s a lot of innovation and exciting work that’s done in a masters of engineering program.

    if you’d like more information about each program before making a decision, i’d recommend that you reach out to the departments and ask whatever pressing questions you might have. the contact info for each department should be available in the links i’ve embedded above. i’d also go through the curricula and class requirements for each program, and see what gets you the most excited. as i understand, you also have options between M.Ed degrees and M.A. degrees if you choose to go the education route.

    i usually make pro/con lists in a spreadsheet when i have to make decisions like this. map all your options out and decide which ones fit your priorities best. i have full faith in you to make the best decision for yourself. i mean, holy crap, you’re already way more educated than i am.

    be Boundless,

    aska

  • residence

    if you want parties you’ll find them, don’t worry

    Hi! I was just wondering which college is the best in terms of res? My friends all say that SMC is a party college so they all want to go there, is this true?

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    hey there,

    there are really only subjective answers to this question. i’d only really be able to give you an accurate take on the one residence i lived in, which was not st. mike’s. which one was it, you ask?

    well some things are meant to remain mysteries.

    i have heard things about parties at SMC, but i have also heard (from an acquaintance who lived there first year) that the rooms are like prison cells and the food is … subpar. something about serving the leftovers from lunch again at dinner? is that slander? please treat this as a rumor, hearsay, whatever. i don’t want to get sued. i am but a broke student blogger; take my word with plenty of salt.

    my thing with this is mainly that if you want parties, you will be able to find them. u of t’s got frats and all. even my res, which was not in any way a party res, had its fair share of parties. in fact, i fully believe that it’s not about where you are, but who you know: some people are party people. they will have access to parties aplenty. some people, like me, are library people.

    anyway, if you want to know what people on campus tend to think about different residences, i have heard some very good things about how nice woodsworth is, in terms of the building’s design and views lol. i also know a lot of people who had super postive, very social experiences at vic’s margad res. new has the best food, hands down, and offers you a traditional dorm experience (although i can’t really say if that will be true this year). that’s about all i got.

    my final note for you: please, stay safe if you’re planning to socialize on campus this upcoming year! i worry about students passing the virus to older profs and staff, who may not have much of a choice to be on campus. not that you have any obligations to me, but i ask that you keep that in mind.

    be Boundless (but not too boundless),

    aska

  • ccr

    is anything really mandatory in uni though

    is CCR mandatory? like volunteer hours were in high school? i’m a commuter and i’ve been having a hard time figuring out how to participate around campus.

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    heyo,

    as far as i’m aware, CCR is not mandatory! if it is, that’s gonna be a nasty surprise for me because i haven’t really invested a ton in my CCR, lol.

    the CCR is just meant to capture all of your outside-the-classroom learning on an official u of t document, but there’s no obligation, really, to fill it up with things. with that said, i really would recommend getting involved with on-campus opportunities. below are a few opportunities i’m aware of that can count towards your CCR— and some of them will even help you out with your grades!

    if you’re in artsci, you may also have CCR opportunities lurking around at your college. my college runs several councils/organizations that you can get CCR recognition for, as well as a mentorship program. if you’re not in artsci, check out what opportunities your faculty offers!

    apart from that, you can always try checking CLNx for CCR-accredited opportunities. i’ve found a couple decent things on there, and am happy to answer questions about the application process as much as i’m able.

    my best advice, in general, is to go for activities that excite you or seem relevant to the career you want to pursue. you’re going to be super, super busy while you pursue your degree. i do believe you should be doing things outside your classes if you have the capacity to, but you shouldn’t overcommit or you risk burning yourself out. that’s why it’s best to find a few things that you think will be particularly constructive or fun, so that you use your time and energy well and come out with sharper skills. that’s my take on this whole ~getting involved~ thing.

    anyway, it was only just now, at the end of writing this post that i found confirmation that CCR is in fact not mandatory. do with that as you will.

    episode 14 GIF

    be Boundless,

    aska