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Archive for the ‘odds are that won’t be asked again’



Hellooo, how do I add my utoronto email to Apple’s Mail app? I read the FAQ on the u of t library site but I can’t find my configuration number.



do i look like I.T. to you? yes, i literally live in front of my computer and yes, i do seem like an omnipotent all-knowing/ all-seeing tech god, but i am NOT I.T.! sorry for getting so heated, maybe it’s that #millenial thing of being treated as tech support by my older family members that has made me bitter towards anyone who asks for tech help from me. but i shouldn’t have taken it out on you, and i apologize for that.

awkward schitts creek GIF by CBC

SO! you wanna put your utoronto email onto your phone. that’s a good idea, tbh, so you won’t miss any announcements from profs or u of t in general.

i’m not sure what FAQ you were looking at, but this page that i found from the info commons help desk provides a step-by-step guide to adding the u of t email service to your ios device– without the “configuration number” whatever that is. that should work, but i know that the u of t email service sometimes just…. doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do. if it doesn’t work, you could talk to the people at the info commons help desk. they’re located on the first floor of robarts library.

another thing that you could do, though this wouldn’t get your utoronto email to the mail app, is to download the outlook app. since the utoronto email is run through microsoft outlook, you could sign in through outlook directly. i personally don’t do this (i have my utoronto email linked to the mail app), but it’s definitely a possibility. i know a lot of people who do this because they find apple’s mail app ugly or less intuitive or whatever. it’s all about your preference.

confused adam devine GIF by Apartment Guide

i hope this helps. good luck!




royal dog seeks equally royal walk

Hi Aska,

I’m an incoming freshman at UofT and I was wondering whether there are any
places on campus which are good for me to take my dog on walks. Her name is
Charlotte and I like to use a stroller while walking with her so that she
doesn’t get her fur dirty.

Please respond, Charlotte and I are waiting

Yours sincerely,

The Queen of Queen’s Park



so nice to see a queen and her dog pursuing higher education!

there are tons of green spaces and nice parks on and around campus. you know of queen’s park, seeing as you are the queen of queen’s park. there’s also philosopher’s walk, the UC quad, the trinity quad, the woodsworth quad, the innis green, and the victoria quad. all really nice places to take a dog for a walk or to throw around a frisbee.

hope this helps, your majesty!




really, where would we be without grade 9’s?

I recently go suspended for three days for using axe aand some else lit it on fire. Im in grade 9 and this is the first time in my life I got suspended. I for wont do it again though. My dream is to enter uoft for engineering but will this suspension affect me in any way. Will I get asked of a suspension? If so, should I say no? Thanks in advance.


hey there,

i’m so sorry, bud. i know this must be really hard for you.

but this is so funny. it takes a lot to make a dried-up old internet veteran like myself experience joy anymore, but i think you just might’ve managed it.

honestly, i’m trying to think of something witty to say or some way to sass you out, but i am just speechless. you literally. lit your axe. on fire. you can’t make this stuff up, ladies and gentlemen.

thank you. thank you, for sharing your story with the world.

anyway: no, this won’t affect your admissions chances in any way. the only thing the university looks at is your high school transcript. as long as your marks are good, that’s all that matters.

try not to burn any more axe, though, eh? that stuff’s deadly. and, just a tip, as someone who’s known a lot of grade 9 boys in their life: lay off the axe. girls don’t like it. guys don’t like it. just trust aska and switch to something less abrasive – you’ll thank me some day.




what’s the deal with the strike?

So what happens during a strike anyway?


hey there,

good question. on the eve of an impending strike, i’ve talked to more than one student who’s stressed themselves to hysteria over the possibility of a strike by CUPE 3902 Unit 1. so why not shed some light on the situation?


so, who the heck are these strikers in the first place? CUPE stands for the Canadian Union of Public Employees. 3902 is the number representing the university of toronto.

three CUPE 3902 units have entered into negotiations in the past few months: Unit 1 (all Post-Doctoral Fellows, graduate students in the School of Graduate Studies and undergraduate students in the University of Toronto employed as teaching assistants, teaching fellows, demonstrators, tutors, markers, instructors, teaching laboratory assistants, Chief Presiding Officers, invigilators and part-time lecturers), Unit 3 (all non-student academic staff employed on contracts of less than one-year as lecturers, demonstrators, tutors, markers, graders or instructors or laboratory assistants) and Unit 5 (post-doctoral fellows).

Units 3 and 5 have both negotiated settlements. Unit 1 has not yet negotiated a settlement, though the university has said that it is “fully committed to achieving a negotiated settlement for a renewal collective agreement with CUPE 3902 Unit 1 without a labour disruption, and has reason to believe that the parties will be able to do so.


now, onto your question. what happens during a strike?

well, firstly and most importantly: the university WILL NOT CLOSE (FAQs for Students, #4). most of your classes will likely continue (FAQs for Students, #5). again, only certain instructors and TAs are represented by Unit 1, so classes run by professors will continue as planned.

as well, even people who ARE represented by Unit 1 are still allowed to work (FAQs For Employees In The CUPE 3902 Unit 1 Bargaining Unit, #1) – though of course, this is not something we can or should expect, and will depend on the individual. make sure you’re checking Blackboard regularly for updates about your particular lectures/labs/tutorial sections.

since your classes may or may not continue as planned, it is important to check Blackboard regularly for updates (this is referenced throughout the FAQs for Students).

as to how and when class will continue in the event of a strike, that’s something the university isn’t able to answer at the moment (that’s aska’s subtle way of saying: don’t speculate! it’s not helpful in any way). however, they are aware of the possibility of a strike impeding students’ studies, and are doing their best to make sure the effect is minimal.

question #23 of the FAQs for Students makes that pretty clear: “The University is committed to enabling its students to complete their program requirements in a timely fashion, and is aware of the particular needs and concerns of students intending to graduate this spring. We will be providing further communications if a strike occurs, and we will do our utmost to ensure that students are able to complete their degree requirements within the usual timeframe.”

and yes: you should still complete the work that’s been assigned to you, unless your instructor has informed you otherwise (FAQs for Students, #19). sorry to crush your dreams .


if you’d like to keep up with info about the strike, Blackboard and uoft’s FAQ are the best places to go.

however, there’s also been coverage by The Varsity, The Star and CBC. if you’re an undergrad student and want to get involved, check out this facebook group.


all the best,




Dear Aska, Do you know any places where I can get a pile of GOOS paper (good on one side) without much effort? Tired of digging through recycling papers. Thanks!


hey there,

excellent question! what an environmentally conscious human you are. good on ya. you get aska’s seal of approval.

the one place i can think of is those trays of GOOS paper by the computers and printers at Robarts? d’you know what i’m taking about? i’m sure other libraries have them too, but i’m a Robarts girl*, myself.

also, if you have an in with any administrative offices on campus (like registrar’s offices, department offices, etc.) maybe you can very sweetly ask them if they’re looking to unload some of the paper that’s inevitably piled up in their office. goodness knows they produce enough of it.

so yeah, maybe dig through a library/office or two before resorting to the recycling. you’ll probably get fewer funny looks.



* i mean, INFINITE BEING OF LIGHT AND WISDOM. not a girl. definitely not.


“fall” “break”

Just curious as to why U of T doesn’t have a full reading week in the fall like other universities seem to have?


hey there,

i’m curious, too. i haven’t been able to find any official explanation of the reasoning online. this Varsity article gives a pretty good overview of the issue, though it questions why we only get a two-day break instead of a full week, as we do in the winter term.

for what it’s worth (and this is JUST ASKA’S OPINION – i’m not speaking on behalf of any university administration), it makes sense to me that in a school where full-year courses typically make the winter term heavier than the fall term, that the break in the winter would be longer than in the fall.

but hey, we’re all allowed our own opinions on the matter. freedom, and all that.

hope you enjoy your (albeit modest) break when it does come,



the theory behind the system

I am very familiar with the fact that U of T requires students to pursue (at the very least) a specialist, a double major or a major and double minor – I have spent many days pondering specialists, majors, minors and switching subject POSts. I am just now wondering why this is required. I have never heard of any other universities that require this. Is there any special reason for the requirement? Do they just like us to be well rounded? If you know the answer, please enlighten me.


hey there,

wellll my friend, uoft is a bit different from other canadian universities in that it takes its inspiration from many different university systems. for example:

most canadian universities follow the U.K.’s ‘course’ model. in this model, students enrol in a course (translated into our vernacular as ‘program’ for most canadian unis). the ‘course’ is very prescriptive, and dictates all or most of the classes you have to take.

uoft follows the american model, in which students can mix and match ‘majors,’ ‘minors,’ ‘specialists’ etc. the terminology can change slightly for uni to uni, but it’s pretty much the same deal everywhere. notice harvard has a ‘concentration’ (essentially a major or specialist), ‘electives’ (which allow for something like the completion of a minor) and ‘general education requirements’ (similar to our breadth requirements).

there are pros and cons to each model. the U.K. model allows for very focussed study, and provides structure that some people find to be a relief. some programs at uoft find this model preferable – for example, uoft law or rotman commerce.

the american model allows you to pursue multiple interests, even if they are very different. you can double major in math and philosophy, if you feel so inclined. a U.K. university course would make that very hard, unless you could find an interdisciplinary ‘course’ specifically called ‘math and philosophy.’

the american system is also very flexible. at uoft in particular, you have one whole year to figure out which program(s) you’d like to apply to, which is really helpful to lots of students who don’t have a CLUE what they might like to study.

it’s my opinion that this flexibility, as well as the breadth requirements, do create well-rounded students. however, some specialists are so intensive that the well-roundedness is lost, and some students pair together very similar subject POSts, resulting in essentially the same degree as someone who follows one specific ‘course’. i guess the the point is that the choice is theirs, and i think that’s important.

anyway, i’m not an educational theorist, so i don’t have any definitive answers. it’s interesting to think about, though.



P.S. i know that the U.K. and the States are not the countries that came up with these models – obviously both countries are based on cultures and traditions that go much further back and spread across the globe. also, not every university in the U.K. or the States are exactly like this, it’s just a general trend. i just used those two countries as examples because most of us are familiar with their universities more than we are with other countries’.


tryna impress family i.e. running up a downward escalator

Hi aska,

I’ve had this question for a long time now, but everyone else seems not at all bothered by it so I guess it must be a silly one.

So here it goes,

Since we won’t apply for POSTs (or a major if I understood correctly) until the end of first year, as a frosh, when someone asks you “what do you study?” what should I say? Some of family friends have asked me the same thing, and I was like.. “uh, I’m an art&science student?” which sounds incredibly vague & I-don’t- know-what-I’m -talking- about. I did get accepted in Life science, but if I were to say that I give the impression I want to be a med student or something, which is not the case at all. The thing is I haven’t decided what I want to study for major, I thought first year was for explore, is it just me? Does everybody else already know what they want?

I hope you can understand my dilemma and weirdness.

Sincerely confused..


hey there confused,

i completely understand the question, actually. from aska’s extensive research (i.e. chatting with friends who go to school elsewhere), most universities don’t lump arts and science together in one faculty. it’s usually more logical than that. alas, you chose uoft. get ready for lots of people to be confused about the way we do things (see the ever-popular: “college??? you’re in a coLLeGe? but i thought you went to universitY???”)

usually, people just say which stream they’re in, so “i’m in life sci.” in my experience, med school students tend to say “i’m in med school/i’m studying medicine,” so i don’t think there should be too much confusion. or you could try “i’m a general science student.” or “i go to lizard skateboarding school.”

as for using first year to explore, you’ve got it exactly right. if everyone around you is saying “i’m in such and such program,” then they’re all wrong, and you’re right. too many first-year students come in with a subject POSt already in mind, and then if they don’t get into it after first year, they panic, because they’ve got no idea what else to do. or even worse, they think they’re already in a program, and don’t know they have to sign up for one after first year. take note: you do have to.

there’s enough flexibility in first year that you can take the typical prereqs for most science POSts (CHEM138+139, BIO120+130, MATH135+136), and have credits left over to take some general interest courses.

so take your time, explore, and don’t rush into a decision about programs. that way, when you actually make your decision after a year of thoughtful exploration, it’s more likely to be the right one for you.

finally, just FYI, a major is not the only kind of subject POSt. uoft students are accepted to enrol in either one specialist, two majors, or a major and two minors (you can get ambitious like a specialist and a major or two majors and a minor, but those are the standard ones).




a perspective on global perspectives

I have applied for the global perspectives community as a 1st yr and I was wondering if you can tell me more about it.
Is this like a community where people hang out and do things together? Or do people live together in the same residence?

And also, is there any restriction in terms of the people they accept, i.e. how many people they accept? And if they do accept me, is it autonomic or do I get to think about it for a while (Like the ONE programs where I get to choose whether to participate even after they accept me)?

thank you and best regards


hey there,

it’s everything you just said and more. i like the way you put it: “a community where people hang out and do things together.” that makes it sound really chill and fun. all aspects of university should be like that, don’t you think lectures should be a community where people hang out and do things together. exams should be! come to think of it, that probably wouldn’t help with the learning part of university…

you will be living in the same residence with your Living Learning Community. you will also be putting on events with them. Living Learning is like the residence experience plus. think of it as a really productive, yearlong sleepover. with less chips. maybe.

they say that “[a]ll efforts will be made to assign you to your choice of community,” so no, i don’t think it’s the kind of thing where applicants have to duke it out and they only accept a certain percentage of individuals.

if you are placed in a Living Learning Community, then you’re given a room that’s part of that Community and that’s basically it. you can reject the offer of room i guess, but then it’s up to you to find some place else to live.




creepin’ on a course

Hi aska!

I asked a professor if I could audit one of his S-summer courses and he agreed! But he seems to think that U of T has a special auditing process that would grant me access to the course on Blackboard. Googling “auditing courses u of t” only turns up the Slavic department’s protocol for this, and I’m not taking a Slavic course. Do you happen to know if professors have the ability to grant Student access to people not enrolled in the course, and if so, how do they do this (since this professor apparently doesn’t know how).

<3 <3 <3 love and ice cream,



hey there,

there doesn’t seem to be a formal process. according to the only university-wide policy i could find, “[i]f a faculty, school, or college decides to make courses accessible by auditors, the final determination of whether or not a person should be allowed to audit and whether or not space is available for an auditor in the course will be made by the instructor.”

basically, as long as the faculty and department that administers the course has allowed the possibility of auditing, the instructor can decide to allow or not allow auditors as he/she pleases. there’s no formal process that i can see; your prof should just check with the faculty that auditors are allowed. apart from that, the prof is the monarch of their own little domain.

lucky them.



P.S. in order to access a course on Blackboard, you have to be officially registered in the course on ROSI. you wouldn’t be able to access the course on Blackboard if you were auditing it. if you’re auditing the class and you just want supplementary notes and materials posted on Blackboard, i’d arrange to get them from the professor another way, maybe in person or through e-mail.

P.P.S. thanks for the love and ice-cream, but i’m a little worried you had a stroke at the end of your question??? i hope you’re okay.


picking on the little guy (course)

Hi there,

I was just wondering how many students have to be enrolled in a course in order for it not to be cancelled. For example, one of the 300-level summer courses I want to take has space for 45 students but there are only 17 students enrolled. If it reaches, say, 20 students will it still be cancelled because not enough people are taking it?

Thanks in advance!


hey there,

the likelihood of a course being cancelled because of low enrolment is very small. enrolment numbers might affect whether the course runs next year, but if it’s up on ROSI and you can enrol in it now, chances are, it’s going to run. I wouldn’t worry about it.

so just remember the large, friendly letters on the front of the hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy:

don't panic




all the best, my surgical warrior

hey there

i’m probably going to have relatively major surgery at the end of the summer so i’m probably going to have to take off a semester to heal. do i have to do anything for this? like do i have to notify someone or do something special or do i just only choose winter courses during course selection??



hey there,

yo, firstly: good luck on your surgery! i hope it goes as smoothly as possible, and that your recovery is super-quick.*

there’s nothing really official you have to do. if you’re a downtown student/your campus has yearlong courses, then you’re going to have to do enrolment in august anyway, so just make sure to only enrol in winter term courses. in this case, your course load means you will probably be paying part-time fees, because you’ll most likely be taking few enough courses that you have part-time status (i can’t say for sure – if you want to know for sure, talk to your college registrar).

if you’re at UTSC, which i believe goes on a trimesterly basis, then you’ll do your enrolment for january and not september – though i’m not sure if that will involve any kinda formal process, so talk to your registrar’s office about it to make sure.

as well, if you’re out of school for more than 6 months, you’ll have to start paying OSAP back (if you have OSAP) after the 6 months is up, unless you can get continuation of interest-free status. so either talk to the NSLC or make sure you’re prepared to make a few months’ payments, if you’ll be out of class for more than 6 months (remember the summer is included in that).

if you’re unsure about any of this stuff, just talk to your college/school registrar’s office about it, and they should be able to walk you through everything.



*also, while you’re at the hospital, see if you can tease a free lollipop outta the doctors. they’re always up for that.


i’m late, i’m late, for a very important date


So basically my course has a late penalty of 2% a day including weekend, but the prof doesn’t allow electronic submission and the department of Polisci is closed on weekends and I can’t submit my essay over the weekend earning 4% extra penalty. Can the Prof do this?


hey there DUDE,

great question. it’s always a good idea to keep on top of what your profs are doing, to make sure they don’t try to get up to any SHENANIGANS when you’re not looking. you know how sneaky those profs can be. sneaky, sneaky

unfortunately, uoft has basically given instructors free reign when it comes to late assignments. according to section 8.1 of the academic handbook, profs don’t have to accept late assignments at all if they don’t want to. if they do have a late policy, as long as it’s clear and published in the syllabus, they can basically do whatever they want. the handbook says that “you are allowed wide latitude in…this [late policies],” as long as it’s “fair, equitable and reasonable.” that’s uoft lingo for “NO RULES! GO WILD!”

although to be honest, that’s a pretty standard late policy that you’re describing. most profs include weekends in days that things can be late, even if you can’t actually hand in the work over the weekend. it’s just meant to encourage you to, you know, hand stuff in before the weekend. comprende?

i hope that assignment doesn’t go too horribly, man,


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