• friends

    Where is frend? Where’s is anybody?

    how hard is it to make friends at u of t? i’m very stressed and have heard some scary things about the workload and massive size of the school 🙁 is there a sense of community?

    ——————————————

    Image result for all alone bert

    hey,

    man oh man it’s like me from the past sent this question in. among my many other concerns in the months leading up to starting at u of t, i had the same worries about managing the workload while settling into a community. i guess i’d heard so many terrifying things about the school— i had this one brilliant friend who’d received a substantial scholarship from u of t, but told me there wasn’t any amount of money that could convince him to come here. it’s almost fitting, then, that at the end of the school year i get to speak to this and reflect on how it’s been. and it hasn’t been quite what i expected it would. this is gonna be a long post, just cause i want you to understand exactly what i mean by that.

    before i got here, i did sometimes wonder whether u of t had the reputation it did not because of some inherent property of the school, but rather because a larger student body meant more people around to complain. like if ten percent of people at each school absolutely hate it there, on reddit it’ll just look like u of t is objectively worse. we’ve got something like 80k students anyway, which is about 20k more than the next largest canadian school. i’d also found it difficult to find postings and comments from individuals who were having positive experiences at the school, but a teacher of mine pointed out that people who were thriving were less likely to be wallowing in the depths of reddit at 4:47 in the morning.

    i’m not gonna lie, the first few months i was here i was absolutely certain this school was going to wreck me. i don’t know what it says about me that i chose u of t believing what i did about it, but hey, where i am now i couldn’t be more grateful for that decision. at first, though, my mentality was that i was here to study and study only. i signed up for a few surface-level commitments that i knew wouldn’t keep me busy, and spent the rest of the time sequestered in my dorm room with my books. when my first grades started to roll in, i braced myself to see percentages thirty or so lower than what i’d been scoring in high school. i was terrified. and so by the end of the first semester, i had, like… two friends? which is a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the idea.

    i gave it time, though. thought about how, in my first year of high school, i also felt wildly out of place. but by the time senior year rolled around, i couldn’t imagine being anywhere else. i hoped that in some way, my university years would turn out to be the same. it’s true that by the end of first year, i felt much more settled. it’s cheesy, i think, but i really do believe what you put into a place is what you get out of it. in my experience, i’ve always felt more at home in communities i’ve poured hours of volunteer work and involvement into. that’s been true at u of t, too: once i opened myself up to taking the opportunities offered to me, my friend circles and support network at the school began to grow.

    i left home to come to u of t, and my friends at home seemed to complain equally as much as i did. in some ways, actually, they seemed to be struggling more with both academics and the social scene. at the end of the day, it’s still uni, and the transition from high school will still be difficult. with that as my frame of reference, it’s difficult for me to look back and wish i’d gone somewhere other than u of t. this school has every opportunity i could have wished for.

    now, that isn’t to say u of t isn’t difficult. this last semester, i had one week with four papers and two exams, sandwiched right between several other papers and the impending exam period. on top of that, i didn’t know where i was living for the next year and was scrambling to find housing. it can get rough. i had many an anxiety attack. when i put it like that, i almost sound crazy for not hating the school. in the moment it feels like it’s never going to be over, but the thing is, it’s possible to make it through. especially with a solid support network. for full disclosure, i’m in the humanities and social sciences, which are generally… i wouldn’t say easier, but we at least have fewer class hours, i think, than most other programs. at least, the perception is that they’re not as rough. that may be important to keep in mind.

    is there a community in terms of a school-wide community? i wouldn’t say there’s a strong one, no. feels like the closest thing we’ve got is u of t memes for true blue teens. but that doesn’t mean there aren’t communities, plural, smaller ones that you can find yourself at home in. your college or faculty may be a good place to start, or perhaps clubs and student organizations are where you’ll put down your roots. u of t isn’t as antisocial as it sounds: if you want parties they’ll be there. if you want a small and wholesome group of friends, i’ve seen plenty form—they take time, but they’re worth it.

    u of t is just another school. people here can be just as kind, open, and hands-down incredible as anywhere else. i met someone in dorm who helped me move apartments during his exam season. a friend of mine trekked 20 minutes in the snow to bring me a humidifier and electrolytes when i got sick earlier this year. and when i was out of a place to live for a few days, these two girls i adore let me crash in their living room. my roommate for next year has already offered to cook for me during exams. we all just tryina make it through, and at the end of the day it’s easier to do that together. and it’s not just students— i’m a little biased, but i really love the people at my registrar as well.

    in terms of making friends, i would encourage you to be open-minded and optimistic. i wrote off many of my favourite people the first time i met them, for a few reasons—i was skeptical that you could actually become friends with the person sitting next to you in class, for one. i mean, what are the chances you’re lucky enough to click with them? it’s true that a lot of time you won’t, but it is definitely possible and that’s something i learned this year.

    talk to the people around you! if you’re lucky enough to be in dorm, get to know the other kids on your floor—it took me a while to meet them, but some of my favorite people ended up being the ones in my building. if you think about it, student housing is such a cool thing—you live in the same building as a crap ton of potential friends, and if you want to bring people over, they might not even have to go outside. what a win in dead-winter negative-forty-degree toronto. and if you’re a commuter, do your best to join things on campus and get yourself acquainted with the other kids in your classes so you have connections in case of a sick day, yknow?

    it can also help massively to take smaller classes, like first year seminars and ones. apart from the lighter workload and better likelihood of getting to know your prof, it’s also a lot easier to make friends in those.

    ultimately, i love it here and i know other people that do as well. i don’t in any way speak for everyone though, as i acknowledge some people really, really wish they could be literally anywhere else. the school has its flaws. Things are particularly rough in engineering and compsci, and i wish i could tell you what exactly i mean by rough but obviously i’ve got no experiences to go off of. even then, i know people who are killing it in those programs and have strong circles of friends.

    i hope it eases your concerns that at least it’s not impossible to have a highly positive experience at the school. be prepared to work, is all, but as long as you don’t make that your sole focus i do believe you can thrive here. it’s okay to be a little scared, i think, but there’s no need to be stressed about it.

    sorry it took me so long to get to this question! i wanted to do the answer justice, so i waited til i had a good chunk of time set aside to answer it. i only just realized the uni acceptance deadline is something like may 1 for domestic kids, and i really hope this post isn’t too late to be useful :/

    cheers to u of tears,

    aska

  • applying for U of T,  colleges,  engineering,  friends,  getting involved,  hard,  partying,  residence,  scholarships/bursaries,  St. George,  studying

    6 responses + a rant

    Hey Aska! I’m a Turkish student and I’m in grade 11. I’m filled with
    so many questions because I whole-heartedly want to study at UofT. I
    researched a lot of things and still have tons of questions. So yeah,
    let me begin 😀

    My first question is about admissions. With %86-87 average in grade 11
    and %93-94 in grade 12, would I be able to get into mechanical
    engineering? (Also consider that I have decent SAT scores ad medium-
    to-decent extracurriculars.) I really want to know if I even have a
    chance.

    +What about scholarships?

    +Does Innis collage and UC require anything when applying? (I know
    that Innis should be ranked 1st if you wanna be accepted there.) Which
    has a better community in your opinion? And which should I choose as a
    newcomer?

    +Is it that hard to get good grades at UofT? I personally love
    studying but I don’t know if I’ll be overwhelmed.

    +Are international students treated differently really?

    +What are the parties like?

    +It is a very big school, will I be able to form close relationships?
    If so, how?

    Thank you soooo much in advance, and sorry for mixed questions. I
    sincerely hope that I can be a part of the community. Take care!

    ———————————————

    hello!

    first of all, you’re adorable and i love your enthusiasm. you’ve asked a lot of good questions and i commend you for taking the initiative to reach out so early! this is probably the longest post i’ve ever written so bear with me.

    on getting accepted into mechanical engineering

    at this point in time, the website says that you need a mid 80’s average to get into the mechanical engineering program, but it would be best to check the updated average when you actually apply in 2 years. engineering programs are competitive and it is very likely that these averages will change by the time you apply, since they tend to fluctuate from year to year.

    with your awesome grades, you definitely have a chance of getting into the mechanical engineering program, but keep in mind that this is just a general cut-off guideline for this year’s applicants. by saying you have a chance of getting in, i’m not saying you will get in.

    on scholarships

    scholarships are described at length in this link where you will also see a complete listing of all the scholarships available at u of t. keep in mind, since you will be an international student, you will only be eligible for a small number of scholarships. if you scroll to the listings at the bottom of the page, under availability, if there is a blank in the column instead of the words “domestic students”, that means international students are eligible. there are also admission scholarships (which you are eligible for, yay!) which you will automatically be considered for when you are admitted to the school.

    on UC and innis

    university college is large and old whereas innis is small and new. to get into innis, you are absolutely right, you do need to rank it first (good job!) but UC does not require you to rank them first. innis requires you to rank them first mostly because they are so small in size and very popular.

    which one to pick? that’s the ultimate question. there are many factors that you should consider, for example: are you going to be living in residence? what kind of residence style are you looking for? do you want to be part of a big college or a small college?

    i’m not exactly allowed to tell you which one i like more (and believe me, there is one) because i’d probably get destroyed, and it’s really up to you to do your own research and decide which one is better for you. i can provide you with the resources, but the rest is entirely up to you.

    on getting good marks

    is it hard to get good marks at U of T? yes. very hard. i have yet to get good grades at U of T. don’t slack off, study hard, and go to class. i made the mistake of not doing any of those three things in my first three and a half years and have paid dearly (emotionally and monetarily). we have a scary reputation for a reason. if you’re thinking of coming here, be ready to work your ass off.

    on the treatment of international students

    *disclaimer* aska rant on international student culture and discrimination

    i thought a lot about how to answer your question about the treatment of international students. on one hand, i wanted to answer: international students aren’t treated differently! it’s love love love all around! but i would be lying. the aska motto is to deliver the cold, hard truth, so here goes: (it might seem a little controversial and blunt, but that’s askastudent for ya!)

    international students are treated in the same way they treat other people. as i’m sure is common at every university, there are groups that i will refer to as ‘cultural cliques’. cultural cliques are groups of students who stick together because they come from the same culture, usually when english is not their first language. i’m not saying this is a bad thing. it’s actually great that these students can find friends who speak a common tongue! how awesome! however, sometimes, students will ignore everyone else outside their clique and as as a result, they get ignored back. this is perfectly fine if neither groups want to mix and mingle, but it does sometimes result in some differential treatment. the most common thing i see is people getting mad about international students speaking their native tongue instead of english.

    as someone who was not born in canada and can speak a second language, i can sympathize with both sides of the story. an international student might have a difficult time with english and find it easier to communicate in another language, yet a domestic student, might find it rude that other students are speaking in foreign language. often, this stems from the domestic student’s insecurity that the international student might be crap-talking them in a different language. of course, this isn’t always the case, but it does happen! heck, it’s happened to me before! someone tried bad-mouthing me when they thought i didn’t understand the language. well, joke was on them!

    many will also argue: “you’re in canada! speak english!” but this argument isn’t exactly valid. i’m sure lots of people who go to countries like japan don’t spend years learning japanese before they decide to go. canada is known as one of the most multicultural countries in the world, and it’s truly unfortunate that not all cultures are as widely accepted as canadian culture.

    bottom line, discrimination can happen, but i guarantee that it won’t happen if you treat people like you want to be treated. my advice to you is to keep an open-mind. be friendly and warm to people if you want them to be friendly and warm to you. if you find people from turkey at U of T that you want to be friends with, that’s awesome. if you want to form a turkish clique, even better! make the most of your university life and spend it with people you care about.

    *aska rant over*

    on partying

    i’m not much of a partier, so i can’t reveal too many juicy details about that. just based on the parties i’ve been to, they can definitely get pretty rowdy at times, but also be super lame. a gathering of people involving beverages and loud music usually constitutes a party at U of T, and i imagine, everywhere else! sometimes there’s dancing and sometimes there are games. sometimes ambulances are called, and sometimes the paramedics get a night off. sometimes people fall asleep and sometimes people stay up all night. hope that answers your question!

    on forming close relationships

    i have hit the 1300 word count so i think it’s safe to say that we, in some way, shape or form, have formed somewhat of a close relationship. U of T is ginormous. you are again, absolutely right.

    you can definitely form close relationships at U of T. in addition to studying your ass off, you should be making time for late night mcdonald’s runs, jam sessions and spontaneous city explorations along with friends. again, treating people like you want to be treated applies here. treat someone like a friend and chance are, they’ll treat you like a friend and then BOOM! you’ll have a friend. that’s how you make friends. how nice. you’ll meet people in your classes, in residences, and at various events on/ off campus! everyone else will be looking to make friends as well, so don’t sweat it. some of my closest friends have been people i met at school, so you’ll be fine. trust me.

    did i answer all your questions? if not, comment below and i’ll do my best to get back to you.

    good luck, chill out, and may the odds be ever in your favour.

    peace and love,

    aska

  • arts & sciences,  friends,  getting involved,  internal transfer,  transfer credits,  Transferring,  UTM

    honk

    Hi

    Do you think it is easier to form a community and actually have a group of freinds much easier at Mississuaga than t St. George?

    While transferring from St George to Mississauga, if I have five credits, will all my five credits be transferred?

    Thank you very much.

    ———————————————

    hi,

    wow, another subjective question! i wish i could just say something along the lines of “put on a canada goose jacket, walk 20 steps northwest of convocation hall, do your best goose call and wait for your new friends to flock over” but unfortunately life does not work in such wonderful ways.

    regarding friends and communities: i can’t speak for utm since i’ve spent my whole undergrad at utsg, but it really doesn’t matter which campus you’re a part of, it’s all about you. i know that seems really deep but it’s actually quite simple.

    friends are easy to make if you make yourself available and keep an open mind. if you’re rude and distant to people, chances are, you won’t make very many friends. when we were younger, we were taught not to talk to strangers. i’d say now that we’re in university, talking to strangers is the only way to go about making friends. you won’t be the only one at either utm or utsg looking to make a friend. during a break in class, maybe strike up a conversation with someone who looks approachable. small talk does suck, but at least after that, you’ll know one person in your class! the easiest way to start a conversation, i find, is giving someone a compliment. i’m not saying that you should say “omg you’re so hot” to that guy who should be pursuing a modelling career instead of being in your class, but something simple like: “nice pencil case!” can be good. if they seem reluctant to continue the conversation, just move on to another person! easy as that!

    profs will sometimes even force you to talk to the person seated beside you in class. this is usually just so you can have a buddy in class to catch you up if you miss a class, but that’s also a way to meet people!

    aska story time: i once made a friend in class because she said “i like your superman shirt!” and then “i like your hair!” and then “i like you!” to me. it was a bit much, but we’re friends now and that’s all that matters.

    if all else fails, please try the goose call method and let me know what happens.

    in terms of being part of a community, we all have different definitions of communities. communities can close-knit and not so close-knit (? can’t think of a better word). joining a club or being part of a residence can automatically make you belong to a community, but it all depends on you and your willingness to participate and be involved. find a club from the ulife list of something you’re interested in. attend a meeting or an event. if you like it, continue showing up and see what happens! the more involved you are, the more close you’ll be with others in a community!

    if you’re transferring from UTSG’s faculty of arts and science to UTM, according to this link all your credits will be retained unless you’re other undergraduate divisions like applied science and engineering, music, physical education and health, or architecture. if your program is outside of the faculty of arts and sciences, you will have to apply for a transfer credit assessment.

    hope this helped! like i’ve said in the past, if you don’t make any friends, a crisp $20 bill will buy you 1 hour of friendship with askastudent.

    honk honk,

    aska

     

  • first year,  friends,  frosh

    no friends allowed

    hi i was wondering if i could possibly bring a +1 to frosh week? like they’ll pay and everything, they just don’t go to uoft (utm for me). if not, could i bring them to o-week (where its free)
  • first year,  friends,  international students

    f is for friends who do stuff together

    Hi I’m starting at uoft soon and I’m an international student so I will literally not know anyone when I start! Any tips on how to make friends?

    ———————————————

    hey,

    first of all, welcome to canada! i hope you love toronto as much as i do.

    “how do i make friends” is a question we get a lot on askastudent, so if it feels like i’m repeating stuff i’ve said in the past, i apologize. since you’re asking this question, i assume you haven’t read those entries. no worries!

    orientation week (or the less politically correct ‘frosh week’) is a place where you’ll be bombarded by hundreds of people from your college. even if some events seem lame, i highly recommend you attend orientation week. people will be talking about it for years and you’ll feel like you missed out on an important aspect of the university experience. this is your opportunity to take your pick. play the field, mingle, and be cool. if you aren’t cool, don’t be cool. just be yourself so the friends you make will know who you are as opposed to who you’re trying to be. after frosh week, if these friends stick, they’ll probably be the ones who will stick around for a while.

    if they don’t, that’s okay, it just wasn’t meant to be. here comes option 2 if frosh friends are a no-go.

    if you live in residence, attend res events. take advantage of floor bonding activities because they’re literally there for you to meet friends. bond with them.

    if you aren’t living in residence, that’s okay too!

    participate in an extra-curricular activity or two! u of t has clubs for everything you could possibly think of. join a choir, throw a frisbee around, or play chess! you’re bound to find a club that you’re interested in.

    lastly, don’t be afraid to talk to people in class. it’s always good to have a friend in a class in case you decide to sleep in for one of your 9am classes. But you know, aside from using these people for notes, you can actually try be friends with them!

    personally, i make friends with people when i find out we dislike the same things. ‘dislike’ is a strong word and emotion but i feel like it’s very easy to make friends if you complain about the same things. but that’s just me. maybe don’t do that. love one another and be kind, like ellen.

    not to be a debbie downer, but remember that friends are easy to make but hard to keep. it’s going to take some effort to keep some of these friendships going, just like it’ll take time for you to get used to having long distance friendships with people back home. don’t forget to make an effort to reach out or see each other some time. let them know you care! soon enough, you’ll have a squad, if that’s your kind of thing.

    peace and love,

    aska

  • FLC,  friends

    the friendship, loyalty and compadres program

    Hiya,

    I’m an international student and it’s oh so hard for me to get out and make friends. The FLC program sounds helpful enough (socially and academically), but after a summer of putting together a schedule I like, I don’t want the standard timetable to mess with my first year seminar or my Calc professor preference. Can I edit my schedule for one or two classes and still be part
    of a FLC?

    I’ll be in Life Sciences.

    And if I can’t edit my schedule, is a FLC really worth it?

    – 🙁

    ———————————————

    hey!

    now, i could explain all the benefits of FLC to you and try to convince you that it’s a great idea, but i have never been a part of an FLC. however, here at askastudent, we strive to deliver the truth.

    here are the truths:

    “FLC is fun times.”- a trusty source

    “first year life-sci is very hard.”- multiple trusty sources

    while a “flick” is definitely a good place to make friends, please know that there are plenty of other opportunities at U of T for you to make friends. classes are a great place to start! clubs are also plentiful – check out the handy uoft clubs database here.

    if you want to partake in FLC for the academic opportunities, by all means, do! however, if it doesn’t work with your schedule, don’t worry about it! i would recommend prioritising your ideal schedule for first year because it’s more important to get into classes that actually count for credits.

    if you don’t end up doing an FLC, remember that the first year seminar that you’re interested in will also be great for you academically.

    turn that frown upside down, you have nothing to worry about! and hey, if you like our posts on facebook and leave us flattering comments, maybe we can be friends! (k tbh that was mostly a shameless plug, we actually have enough friends)

    kidding. we only exist because of you guys. keep writing us please!

    cheers,

    aska

  • alcohol,  extracurricular,  friends

    you’ve got a friend in me

    Hi there,

    I am going to be coming to Toronto uni as an exchange student from London and I am extremely worried about making friends. This is because I am coming as a second year student and in the second semester, so I’m worried that everyone in my class will have already made their friends and not want any more…

    I will also likely not get residence as I am not guaranteed it as an exchange student and as Toronto is such a big uni I’m afraid it’ll be rather impersonal.

    The possibility of me not being able to make friends and have a social life is making me think again about whether I want to go, because although its a great opportunity I don’t want to be miserable while I’m there!

    I want to join clubs but will it be too late by the time its second semester? Also do you have any advice on what the drinking culture is like in Toronto?

    Any advice would be fantastic [?]

    ———————————————

    hey there,

    i’m gonna start from the bottom up in this post.

    incidentally, “bottoms up!” is something you’ll hear a lot in London (haha great segue, aska); not so much in Toronto.

    i would say that the drinking culture is definitely not as strongly ingrained in Toronto as it is in London. there tends to be more of a clubbing culture, as well as a “hanging out” culture. the closest thing you’ll find to the pub/lad culture of London is the first-year residence hall, but again, you likely won’t be living there.

    that said, people do still go out. we are in our twenties, after all. it’s not quite the same, though, and that might be a bit of an adjustment for you. i’m sure it’ll be an interesting story you can regale your U.K. friends with, though.

    it ABSOLUTELY will NOT be too late to join clubs in the winter term. a lot of clubs accept members throughout the year, and many will get a wave of new members in the second semester. they may have a new season/repertoire/project/goal, which will make the transition more seamless.

    some clubs only get started later on in the year. some clubs completely start over each new term. as long as you search for clubs that are interesting, you will find something (and maybe even a few somethings)!

    not all classes are yearlong classes, which means that there will be brand new people in brand new classes in the winter term. these are an especially great opportunity to connect with people.

    finally, whatever college you’re with (it’ll likely be woodsworth, since exchange students are usually automatically assigned to woodsworth) will have its own social circles, hangout spaces and social events. hang out in those spaces, go to those events, and you’ll be sure to meet lots of people!

    those are about all the tips i have. i hope you don’t pass up on this opportunity. uoft is a really unique community full of friendly people, and you’re bound to have a wonderful time!

    best,

    aska

  • friends

    MIA roommate

    I’m in first year and I’m finding it difficult to make friends. I have a roommate but their best friend from high school also attends u of t so i dont see her that much. I’ve joined some clubs but i’m not sure whats the best way to meet people on campus? Any advice?

    ———————————————

    hey there,

    sometimes, roommate-hood is like a slow burn. remember that scene like halfway through the philosopher’s stone where harry, ron and hermione battle the troll, and then they become really good friends after because, well, how could you not after battling a troll?

    that may happen to you. it was only about december when my first-year roommate and i became better friends. you never know.

    however, that may not happen. let’s say your roommate is MIA for the whole year. what do you do then?

    joining a club is a great idea. some tips about clubs: try to go consistently. when people see you on a regular basis, they’ll be more comfortable talking to you. that goes the other way around, too. you’ll feel more confident approaching people you see regularly.

    if you live on residence, absolutely talk to other people on your floor! attend floor events, or events organized by your college’s residence council.

    if you’re shy, maybe start by talking with your don. express your concern to them. they can keep you in the loop about events and make you feel a bit more comfortable, or even give you a more active role in organizing/helping out, so you don’t feel so awkward. they’re also just there if you want a bit of a chat and don’t feel comfortable talking with anyone else.

    i know reaching out is hard in a new place, where every face is a new face. however, all you have to do is reach out to one person.

    any one of these options is a potential avenue for friendship. all you have to do is start walking down one of them, and see where it takes you!

    good luck,

    aska

  • friends,  partying

    why won’t people just loooove me?!

    Hey there,

    I’m only just emerging from a depressive, antisocial spell, and I’d like to get high and do stupid things all night. Unfortunately, I missed Frosh and I don’t know anyone around campus, and I’m not 19 for another month so I can’t even buy my own booze. I’m not the kind who enjoys being a part of a group like fraternities or sororities or any sort of group, really, but I’d like to get the occasional invite or at least be apprised of the party scene. How do I know what’s going on and when? The kids in my res are spectacularly unfriendly and don’t issue invitations to join their little cliques even if you inquire after their plans for the evening. Help, please?

    ———————————————

    Hey there!

    So here’s step one: no moping!

    It’s easy to be antisocial here and get sad, but the worst thing you can do is let that depression take the reigns over all your decisions. However, if feel like you’re in a legit funk, you can always head over to CAPS.

    Anyhow, the solution to your antisocial spell is quite simple. Just meet people! Make friends. Talk to the people sitting next to you in your classes, go to some of your residence’s events, get to know your roommates or other people on your floor (if you can), and join some clubs or other student groups. That last option opens up a lot for you since most clubs like to have monthly events and they’re extremely welcoming to new people (I mean they’re sort of supposed to be). There are literally tons of places where you can meet new people at UofT aside from your residence, so don’t be turned off by the cliquey people on your floor.

    The only way to really be in the know about what’ going on and when is to get to know other people that will be able to give you that information.

    Good luck!

    aska

  • awkwardness,  first year,  friends,  frosh,  innis,  residence

    frosh = friends?

    Hi,

    I will be unable to attend Frosh Week because I’ll be arriving campus 3 days after it starts, but I am kind a worried because almost all the sources that I have read indicates that this is an important “mile-stone” that first-years need to take, and that it was a good way to meet friends, socialize, get used to the campus etc… I’m also dorming, so I have this little irrelevant fear that I won’t get along with my roomates (in Innis) because they’ll know each other better before I arrive, and I’ll sort of be the “outcast”.

    I was just wondering, am I really missing much? I’m sure there will be other opportunities to find friends, socialize, and attend orientation that may help me as a first year? I just don’t want to be left out, or feeling like I’m missing something that so many people are hyping over.

    Cheers,
    Catherine

    ———————————————

    Hey Catherine!

    Don’t worry! Frosh week is pretty fun, sure, but it is by no means the dealbreaker when it comes to social life at U of T.

    To make you feel better, here’s what I didn’t like about frosh week: they pretend to feed you, but actually all you get is two burgers a day, you really don’t sleep ever at all, you can’t officially drink, but everyone seems to be acting funny, and you’re totally wiped out when classes start. Still feel like you missed out? Well, maybe so, but there’s still no reason to worry.

    Living in res also gives you a leg up on meeting people, especially people involved in Innis student life– which you’ve probably realized by now! Several of my roommates at Innis didn’t do Frosh, so I made sure to bring them along to meet others, and, for better or for worse, we ended up being one of the busiest suites on the block! I’m sure your roomies will be just as down to hang. House events and residence programming simulate the same sort of get-to-know-yous that frosh does, anyhow, so you’ve got a second chance there.

    Honestly, Catherine, I made my best first-year friends in my classes- for one thing, you already know you have similar interests as those people, as opposed to a fairly arbitrary commonality such as your year and your college. And second of all, it’s simply more natural to chat after class about your cute prof than it is to get a stranger to guess the celebrity name taped to their forehead at 9am on a Saturday (true story, it was Rachel McAdams for me, and I didn’t even know who that was!). Getting involved in campus activities, getting a part-time job, and just being friendly and outgoing go pretty darn far.

    One last bit, and this is mostly for future froshies- if you missed Innis frosh, I hope you opted-out of the $100 fee in time! A few years ago, the Innis College Student Society, who run Frosh, included a somewhat greedy referendum in the yearly elections, which changed Frosh fees from opt-in (you pay when you sign up) to opt-out (you’re automatically charged on ROSI, and have to contact them a month before frosh to get your money back if you aren’t going). If you ask me, the kind of student who doesn’t go to Frosh is often the kind who wouldn’t know to vote in student elections, so thats why the motion passed overwhelmingly– and now a lot of first-years are paying for something they don?t even get! Bummer spice!

    Welcome to U of T!

    aska

  • bored,  courses,  friends

    beer, nachos and boring profs

    Hey Aska,

    My program requires I take certain classes, however the class I want to take isn’t even offered. It’s listed on the programs website and listed as a requirement, but not available for selection. Apparently it was available in summer school this year, but I opted out of that. I would have really loved taking this course, and the strange thing is this course is (more or less) continued in a 4th year course which is available. There are alternatives, but I really want to avoid those alternatives at all costs. Why would the university do this? Meaning, why would they list a course as a requirement and give it to us as an alternative to the other courses, but not have it available to select? Does this mean the course will no longer be taught?

    Secondly, how do you deal with a course you know you’re going to dread? Course selection is coming up very soon and it looks like the course I want isn’t going to be available. So I’ll be stuck in a class with course content I have no interest in. Not just that, the professor as well is suppose to be bad. I know you can’t judge a professor/course before you take it, but when sites like ratemyprofessor have over 50 reviews all claiming it to be the absolute worst, you get worried.

    ———————————————

    Heyo,

    U of T has courses that are offered every other year. My minor, for example, had first year requirements that weren’t offered in my first year but were in my second. In my situation not having this course didn’t stop me from taking the other courses so I just ended up taking it when I could. The real problem is if you decide to drop it or you fail it and you have to wait a year to take it again. There are some classes that are even offered on a rarer basis and those you just have to hope the course selection god will offer it in a year that you have a good start time for.

    While there was a course or two that I dreaded and ended up liking, most dreaded courses are rough to get through. In my experience you can dread one part of the course and still survive; so you can either dread the time of the class, the prof or the course material, but not more than one. Professors are key. In my last two years I started picking courses solely on professors that were either highly rated (ratemyprofessor, or the Anti-Calendar), ones that I had taken before and loved, or ones fellow students recommended (Prof. Danesi is always recommended as an elective).

    Life is too short, don’t waste it in classes with boring material, professors that you can’t understand and generally being somewhere you don’t want to be.

    Saying all this hubbub though, there are some courses that you will just have to man up and take.

    Side Bar Ted: 5 Ways to Get Through Dreaded Courses

    1) Coffee

    2) Snacks (lots of snacks)

    3) Force a friend to take the course with you

    4) Re-direct your essays into something you are interested in

    5) Reward yourself with beer and nachos after each class

    I combined all of the above to get through any dreaded courses of mine. You might have to change it up to suit your needs, but I have faith you can make it through.

    coffee and cupcakes,

    aska

  • friends

    Let’s get it on …

    Hey aska,

    I’m in first year at St. George (whattupp!). As you know, the semester is almost over and I haven’t been able to make any friends. None of my
    high school friends go to UofT either, so my confidence is kind of shot. I mean, I have at least one person to talk to in all of my classes, but I feel like we won’t be able to maintain that friendship after this semester, or after the year for that matter. I guess the problem is that the people I meet aren’t even in first year and the classes are enormous. Not only that but i know it’s my problem too, I guess I’m an introvert and I just don’t know how to start a conversation or keep it going. They say you make all your friends in first year. I feel like by now everyone has developed their own groups or busy with their studies, and not looking to make any new friends. And I also feel like it’s too late to join any extra-curriculars. Any advice? I really don’t want to spend my next three years alone.

    Signed,
    Not the Only One?

    ———————————————
    Hey there future social butterfly,

    You make a lot of friends in your first year, but you’ll snag a few in every year.
    Are you in residence? If not I would suggest living in one. This is an awesome way to meet people!
    But it’s definitely not the only way. The college that you are affiliated with will host a ton of events throughout the year that you can participate in … think formals, pub crawls, movie nights.
    Oh i know you’re getting excited BUT THERE’S EVEN MORE!
    There is a whole ULife website dedicated to things you can try and groups you can join.
    University is awesome as everyone is here to have a good time and meet new people (and study when time allows).

    You’re definitely not the only one in this situation. And you said you met people in your class which is a great way to meet people as you obviously have some of the same interests. Sitting beside each other in class leads to study groups which lead to crazy drunk celebrations after acing your exams together.

    I know it can seem scary to start a conversation with people, but the odds are they are chill and all you have to say is ‘hey, whaddup’

    You’ve got this dude, within a year you’ll own this school

    Love,
    Aska

  • 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