• frosh,  fun & places

    OMG frosh week!

    Hi there,
    I am a Chinese first year student and I am very interested in the Frosh Week. I will arrive at Toronto at Sep. 5th and I wonder whether the Frosh Week is a very energy-consuming activity? Do I have chances to take my textbooks, Tcard and maybe sometimes go for a shopping? Can you please tell me how many students will join the Frosh Week?

    Thank you very much!

    Chuqing Yang


    I am including this question today because it is soooooooo cute and after hours of answering anonymous emails (but not posting them on the site because I am a ninja), it is JUST. THE. CUTEST.

    Dear Chuqing,

    You will definitely have time for shopping, grabbing your TCard and general hang-times in between the crazed frosh week melee. When you move into residence, the Frosh Week organizers will instantly pummel you into submission and give you a schedule. Usually events happen during the afternoon and evening, giving you a bit of a breather in between.

    Here is the info to apply for all the Innis Frosh Week craziness if you haven’t already done so. (Note: this only applies if you are an Innis student.) It takes place between September 6th and 10th, and while I can’t say just how many students take part, IT WILL BE THE BEST TIME OF YOUR LIFE!!! Or you know, survivable.

    xoxo, Askastudent

  • campus,  fun & places,  getting involved,  student groups

    any club that would have me for a member

    Hi Aska!

    I am a student at UTM and wanted to find out if it is possible
    for me to join and participate in UofT groups or organizations that are
    a part of the other UofT campuses. I’ve received vague answers
    everywhere I have searched and I am hoping for a more solid
    answer. Of course the only place that I knew that would be anywhere close was you! Since you seem to have a bottomless jar of knowledge right at hand.
    Thanks in advance for reading my e-mail! I really do appreciate that you would take the time out of your day to share some of your wisdom.
    As a dedicated fan I have to also throw in that I absolutely envy your awesomeness. =]

    “I absolutely envy your awesomeness.” Congrats, dear stranger, you have just made Aska’s day. (Which before, was made by eating gratis carrot cake.)

    Aside from the commute, there shouldn’t be anything barring you from getting involved with a club or organization on the St. George or UTSC campuses. Why, there’s even that zippy yellow school bus to take you to St. George at previously agreed upon times! The best thing to do, would be to sift through this giant list of clubs and organizations, and see which ones tickle your fancy. Don’t contact them now, as no one will even be in the office until the first week of classes.

    Personally, I think that any club would be lucky to have a person like you for a member. Plus you can offer that valuable UTM perspective thus missing from downtown organizations. (Is it true that every UTM student has webbed feet?)

    xoxo, Askastudent

    P.S. A good place to hit up is The Varsity Newspaper, if you’re at all interested in student journalism. The “UTM perspective” is always appreciated and you can be a star cub reporter! Contact them here.

  • awkwardness,  friends,  fun & places,  homosexuality,  keeners,  weirdness

    8 questions from a very inquisitive person

    Your website is very interesting , thanks! Now I’m going into gr.12 and I was wondering :

    1) Is it true that UofT is a nerd school that only studies and doesn’t know how to party ?

    2) Does UofT have air conditioning for those hot summer days?

    3) Are there any encounters with ghosts on the st. George campus?

    4) Do you have any gay professors on the campus?

    5) Is it possible to get perfect at UofT in your courses , like in high school ?

    6) Does UofT block any websites in their network?

    7) In the lecture halls, are there power outlets to plug In your laptop if it’s running low ?

    8) Oh and , are you a guy or a girl?


    You are going into Grade 12 next year, and spending all your time reading a university admissions website?! I hereby order you to smoke pot and lose your virginity, like immediately.

    Because askastudent is nearly as pathetic as you are, here are the answers to your burning questions, dear. Once again, please stop reading this website and participate in normal high school activities, from one former aska-junkie to another.

    1) Depending on the program and its students, I can see how the “nerd school” rep might suffice, but U of T – unlike say Queen’s, or Western – is also in the biggest, most party-centric city in Canada (unless you’re going to McGill). You will meet partiers, and academics and even academic-partiers. Don’t worry. There’s a lot going on campus, as long as you stay out of the stacks.

    2) I believe that most of U of T is in fact, air-conditioned. Which is a godsend. My apartment is like a friggin’ furnace today.

    3) Totally, man.

    4) There are gay profs on campus, absolutely! An amazing one is the incredible, adorable Scott Rayter who teaches Queerly Canadian as part of the Sexual Diversity Studies program at University College. That program is terrific – not only is the course material really fantastic, but the classmates are pretty cute.

    5) Hahahahahaha.

    6) Mmm, not that I know of. Though there is a pretty awesome webnet supergroup that’s funded by the University that actually investigates human rights web blocking in other countries. Read this article and believe.

    7) Probably, though you would have to be in prime optimum plug locales. I’d be charging that sucker, just in case.

    8) Askastudent is an androgynous supermodel.

    Please don’t ask me anything else. This is your summer! This is your youth! Enjoy it while you can.

    xoxo, Askastudent

  • fun & places,  life science,  med school

    less melodrama please pre-meds, this isn’t Grey’s Anatomy

    Hey aska
    I’m a first year life science student in st.george. I was planning to get straight As and get into medicine or health field, but chm139 blasted a hole in my gpa. I’m still getting As in most courses, and some Bs in those that are not. Assuming i don’t bomb the exams (not likly since the brains in the uni decided to put chm138 and mat135 on the first day of exam), i should still manage a 3.5-3.6 gpa. Worse of all, i have been focused on studying and haven’t been volunteering, padding my EC and resume much.

    So i think its probably time to quit pursuing that field. With this mark what is some other options for me? Say if i continued down life science with somewhere around this mark, would i be able to choose a masters i want, any inspirational story about someone barely passing chm139 and become chm phds? If not, would other programs like engineer/commerce (is commerce a useful degree?) still accept me? Some other programs that makes a decent living but i haven’t considered, heard of Just list somethings i can look into before i get trapped in life sci in second year. Don’t get me wrong i love some of the courses i’m taking (psy100 should be a required course!), but i do not want to end up with a useless degree with the amount of debt i will be in.

    thanks and have a good exam (if you still have those silly things)


    I think you are overreacting just a little bit. A 3.5-3.6 GPA is mighty fine, especially for a first-year student, and you should be happy that you are getting A’s and B’s in your courses. It may not be enough to get you into med school YET, but there is still a lot of time to pull that cGPA up. Besides, Medical School (at UofT, at least) drops the three or four FCEs in which scored the lowest grades. Regarding CHM138 and MAT135: virtually everyone has a bad encounter with the exam timetable once or twice in their undergraduate careers, so just think of it as one of the many trials of your University life. I understand that you’re worried, but at the same time, I think it’s important to keep a clear head! Don’t let your worries get bigger than they actually are.

    Actually, I do have an inspiring story for you. My psychology prof last year, Dr. *insert fake name here*, told the whole class that he almost failed first year and guess what? Now he has a Ph. D. in psychology and is inspiring more students to continue their studies in psychology. You’ve only got ONE bad mark, and you have a good GPA. Try not to panic now. Give yourself some breathing room.

    I get the sense that you’re not seeing the bigger picture. It’s true that Arts and Science degrees don’t lead to a set career, unlike other programs like engineering and commerce. But please, ignore the rumors that people spread about engineering and commerce students reaping in all the moulah, or becoming frontrunners of the economy. A life science degree is not “useless”. There are many jobs available to Arts and Science students, and to quote the Career Centre website:

    According to the recent Ontario University Graduate Survey, 46% of graduates do not work in fields closely related to their program of study. Most arts and science graduates are recruited for their trained mind and not for their specialist knowledge.

    My advice is that you do NOT switch to engineering or commerce or computer science unless you’re passionate about those fields. I would know. I tried out engineering, had no passion for it, and I spent my first year as a miserable and sulky jerk. I don’t want you to end up like me. Financially, engineering and commerce degrees are actually more expensive than Arts and Science degrees – not to mention that as a transfer student, you would probably have to start back at square one and take first year again. However, if you are genuinely interested in these fields, it may be worth doing more research on how to do an internal transfer.

    Also, maybe it’s better if you got away from the I’m taking an Arts and Science degree to get into a specific job mindset and started thinking instead about the skills you get from your degree. In the “real world”, employers care less about the courses that you’ve taken at University and more about the skills that you have. Besides, as an Arts and Science student, you have many opportunities and fields at your fingertips. Go exploring! Go dig up your ArtSci calendar and chart out those courses that you like! I see you’ve already done that with psychology – why not take some more psychology courses as electives?

    Another thing that ties in with the “skills” thing is extra-curricular activities. Have you thought about getting a work-study job next year? That way, you can go to school and work at the same time. Volunteering may also be a good idea. Working and volunteering give you practical experience, which I think will give you a lot of perspective as to how useful your degree will be. I know you haven’t had a lot of extra-curricular experience – don’t worry about that for now. There’s always next year.

    Finally, remember also to enjoy yourself. Join extra-curricular activities that you’re interested in and make new friends. Get an internship in a field you see yourself being in. Have fun. There’s more to school than the grades on your transcript, right?

  • friends,  fun & places,  other schools (boo!)

    Friends AND school?!? Not in this recession.

    Hey Aska!
    I will be graduating from high school this year and am very keen on attending UofT for life sciences. However, i have been getting mixed reviews from people regarding the social life there as apposed to the social life at say queens or mac.

    I live around 45 mins (on subway) from UofT but i am planning on living in residence nonetheless so that i don’t have to sacrifice my social life because i want the uni experience to be so much more than just studying and commuting.

    Is this a stupid decision? am i simply wasting mine and my parent’s money here by wasting an extra $9000 here? or is it worth it?

    Also which college has the best social life? I applied to UC college… does it have a good community feel to it? or would u recommend some other college for residence?

    Thanks a lot!



    Besides the fact that you are “very keen” I don’t know anything about you that could inform what you may value in a social life at U of T. In fact, I’m having trouble defining the incredibly ambiguous phrase “social life” in the first place. My working definition involves time, enjoyment, an activity, yourself, and other humans. I will refer to these other humans as cool, in the most relative sense.


    You’re in Life Science, so you should appreciate my effort to use sciencey things like numbers:

    67 000 students at U of T

    21 000 students at Queen’s

    At a liberal estimate of 40% “cool people” at Queen’s, that equals 8 400 potential friends (PFs). At the same rate, U of T would offer 26 800 PFs. To provide the same number of PFs as Queen’s, U of T only needs a 13% cool-people-rate.

    Now, I did a 3 week stint in MAT135, so I can tell you that that looks pretty good for Toronto.


    Perhaps you are thinking that the 8 400 PFs at Queen’s are more concentrated than those at UofT; that cool kids in Toronto are diluted amidst the sea of geeks, nerds, dorks and hermits. NOT TRUE. Coolness tends to cluster, and finding the clusters is just like Where’s Waldo.


    To push this metaphor, finding friends at U of T is like finding those coloured books that Waldo drops – more discreet, but more diverse. Finding friends at Queen’s is like finding Waldo himself – more obvious, but totally homogenous.


    You may find, however, that the social life at U of T is quite embedded in the city of Toronto itself, and Torontonian culture. The identity of Kingston, inversely, is formed more around the school. These patterns are both good and bad, but neither is definitively better. In Toronto you can take advantage of rich culture (e.g. festivals, concerts, museums, ethnic neighbourhoods). At the same time, the places you go out to will be filled with all sorts of age groups, unlike the 18-25 range you’re bound to find around Queen’s.


    I can attest that living in residence may increase the likelihood of a university-based social life, by virtue of sharing the same space as others. It can be a lot like high school in this sense (for better or for worse). Whereas residence enables more passive friend-making, commuting requires more active engagement (e.g. clubs, sports, events, talking to classmates). No matter where you live, a social life won’t just fall on your lap. Now that you’re all grown up, you need to get out and explore to find all the cool kids.


    I wouldn’t get too worked up about how social each College is. The range of opinions is really diverse across the student population. University College is big, and they have an active student society, so I would guess that your prospects look good there, but then again, maybe your ideal social life lies elsewhere.