askastudent

your student life specialists

May 07

if you throw money at your problems maybe they’ll disappear

In my first year of university I was in good academic standing but then I took some summer courses and was on academic probation because I didn’t do well in the summer session. The following Fall/Winter term my CGPA was still below 1.5 but I signed up for summer classes to increase it so I can get SGPA of 1.7. But since I had some overdue fees on my account I was kicked out of those classes. Then got an email that I am going to be suspended. Can I still take the classes after I’ve paid the fees?

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hello hello,

this question confuses me a lil but also seems to be one of the more urgent ones lined up, so i guess i’m gonna give it a shot. part of that confusion is because i’m not actually sure what happened to you. were you put on financial hold? were you financially cancelled? neither? help?? fees? what?

i guess i’ll focus on what i can answer: whether or not you can still take classes once your account is cleared. this is one of those rare instances where i can’t find anything from utsg (maybe i’m not looking hard enough? i bet it’s out there) but both the utm and utsc websites suggest that late registration is possible, albeit with a fee of $44 plus $5 each business day. this fee is paid to your registrar, not to ACORN. my hope is that if it’s possible at those two campuses, it should also be possible at st. george provided you don’t wait too long. it stands to reason that yeah, once your overdue fees are dealt with and if you’re able to put a tuition deposit down for summer, you should be able to take the courses you need to keep yourself out of suspension.

however, i would really suggest you confirm this with your registrar— you’d have to visit them anyway to pay your late registration deposit. i’d say book an appointment with an advisor sooner rather than later, given that summer classes are accelerated. if you’re trying to pull your gpa up you don’t wanna get in too late.

best of luck dodging the suspension! i hope it’s actually possible for you to take the courses you need and pull that SGPA. you gots this.

over n out,

aska


May 07

tfw turnitin turns YOU in

Hi, I was wondering if anyone went through this as well. I have a meeting with the Office of the Dean for plagarise for a paper I wrote in one of my classes. I obviously didn’t purposely didn’t cheat. I even made sure to use 20 other plagarism checkers to check if my paper had any detection of plagarism. But clearly it didn’t pick up. So I checked on Turnitin what section of my paper had plagarism. Instead it says “source details have been deleted”. I’m, literally confused at this point.

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hello!

okay SO you seem pretty nervous, which is reasonable in this situation. i would be flipping out too. i can’t say i’ve been in your exact place– but maybe someone else reading this blog has? anyway, hopefully i’ll be able to help a lil bit with the confusion. obviously i don’t know anything about the exact situation or even about how much you know, but i’ll try to cover my bases here.

if you’ve received a summons to the dean’s office, you’ve likely been referred to a copy of the code of behaviour on academic matters.  if you’ve read this through, you’ll know that a meeting with the office of the dean may not be the end of the world: that meeting exists to decide whether or not you committed an offense, meaning they may actually declare you innocent. in that case, your work will be evaluated normally. if you don’t admit to anything during this meeting and they still suspect you of an academic offence, you’ll head to a tribunal hearing where you’ll be able to plead your case. in short, the university isn’t going to treat you as automatically guilty just because your work has been flagged. you’ll have more than one opportunity to resist the plagiarism charge.

i would suggest that you bring up the ‘source details have been deleted’ thing at your dean’s meeting, and have them explain to you what that means. i’m not familiar enough with turnitin to know exactly what that entails, but if there really is an error that may be useful in your defense.

i guess there’s always the possibility that even despite your best intentions, you accidentally committed plagiarism. according to u of t’s academic integrity page, plagiarism doesn’t necessarily entail using the exact wording of an established source like a book or website– it might also mean your content is too similar to that of another student’s, for example. alternatively, the TA may feel that your writing style differs far too much from your previous work to be yours. in that case, they may suspect that you paid someone else to write your paper. in either of these cases, i’m not sure that a third party plagiarism checker would necessarily detect anything. or there’s the possibility of an issue with your citations; that may also have gotten you flagged.

either way, i’m sure that if you are innocent and continue to plead that, the system isn’t going to screw you over. i can’t really help you out beyond this, but i hope the process is kind to you and that the outcome is just.

last thing– 20 plagiarism checkers? man. i know of like, two tops, but maybe that’s just me. kinda intense to put yourself through that, especially if you do it for every assignment you submit. dang.

over n out,

aska


May 03

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?

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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


Apr 30

POSt prereq purgatory

Hi Aska!

I am finishing my first year at UofT and have run into a bit of confusion regarding program application. Last week I was sick during one of my exams and so acquired proper documentation and am going to petition to defer my exam as soon as Monday rolls around (it’s Saturday now, my college is closed).

What I am wondering is, seeing as the exam I need to defer is related directly to admissions requirements for my preferred program, how will this affect application? Can I no longer use that credit to apply to the program? Does this mean I will have to wait a whole semester or year to re-apply for the program? It is Type 3 so I will need to be accepted, meaning I will need to have an average GPA using the course with the deferred exam…. I am very concerned and worried that an illness will cause my entire university schedule to be jeopardized.

Thanks a lot in advance!

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hello!

sorry it took me a few days to get back to you; i’ve got a few questions lined up and am slowly making my way through them! there’s a chance that when you went to your registrar, they were already able to advise you on this. but just in case, this is my take on it.

i don’t believe you’ll need to wait to apply, and in any case you wouldn’t be able to wait just one semester. there’s only one time of year you’re able to apply to POSt, and that begins near the latter half of the winter session. with that, there are two program request periods, and the second request period has been designed for those completing their prereqs in summer. so as long as you’re deferring your exam to the august exam period of this year (your registrar will have told you if not), you still have an opportunity to apply for your type 3 program at that point.

this year, the second request period runs from july 2 to august 28, and results come out by september 12. the august exam period runs from aug 15-22, so there is an opportunity for your grades to be in the system before the request period is up. it’s gonna be tight, but it is definitely possible that you will be in the program by next school year.

i hope this wasn’t confusing and it eases your worries! one deferred exam is not gonna skew your life course. hope your exam and the application process both go well for you, and glad (i think?) you’re feeling better now.

over n out,

aska

 


Apr 30

website down

hey aska!! i know this is not your area of expertise so i’m sorry if this is out of line, but I’m trying to apply for a type 3 POSt and the website has been down for over 2 weeks 🙁 just wondering if you have the inside scoop on whether or not this will be fixed before the deadline to apply?? thanks, you’re the best!!

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hello and no worries at all!

ask whatever you please (within reason lol), i have yet to read a question and find it out of line.  either way, the website should be back up and running now! hopefully it doesn’t shut back down, but i’m sure the IT people were working on reviving it so i’m unsurprised it was already working by the time i got around to this question. best of luck with getting into your type 3, i hope the application goes smoothly!

cheers,

aska


Apr 30

[insert clever pun about ccit here]

hi, I recently got accepted into uoft- ccit major, but I want to change my major to finance or commerce, do I need to finish my freshman year first and then transfer programs or can I directly do it. I’m an international student and I’m so lost since there is no one to explain how the system works at uoft.

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hey there,

i feel ya. u of t is a maze of a bureaucracy– even those of us who are from around here and have been at the school for a while are constantly confused. it’s just one of the joys of going to a big, complicated school. navigating it is a lot like this:

but hey, i’ve sifted through all the CCIT stuff on the internet in an effort to help you out. as far as i can tell, the program works the same way as most other POSts. which is to say, you’re not actually a CCIT student (or a polisci student, or a chemistry student, or ANYTHING sigh) until you apply for POSt. this is also reflected in the fees you pay: i believe CCIT tuition is higher, but you only begin paying that in second year when you become a CCIT student.

if you’re not familiar, POSt stands for Program of Study, and it’s essentially another hurdle all students of certain faculties need to jump once they get into undergrad. you apply to POSt at the end of your first year, and most of them have prerequisite courses you’ll need to get in. those courses are usually what you’ll focus on getting through in your first year.

so as far as i know, if you wanted to transfer to finance or commerce you’ll just want to make sure you have the right prereqs, and then when you apply to POSt just indicate whichever program you want. one of the things i love about u of t is that it’s relatively easy to switch programs around as long as you have the prereqs. for example, if i was studying… indigenous studies and wanted to switch to canadian studies, i wouldn’t have to fill anything out, just make sure i had the requirements and apply to POSt during the application period.

to be honest, i feel a little iffy with you using this as your only source of advice since i’m not ~that~ familiar with ccit as a program. i’d encourage you to get in touch with their department, because they’ll be able to confirm or correct anything i said. the university at large tends to operate in much the same way, but there are always those quirky niche programs that do their own thing and ccit could be one of those. the utm registrars may also be able to help you out.

over n out,

aska


Apr 27

one more then we out

Hi there, I’m almost near graduating but I seemed to have messed up quite a bit. I was taking a course that would have counted towards my program requirement and because I was going through a lot at the time i chose to cr/ncr the course so my lack of focus on it wouldn’t hurt me too bad. however it seems that i need to retake this course to fulfill my program requirements. can i retake the course for it to count towards my program?

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hello friend,

retaking the course shouldn’t be a problem! the artsci rules and regulations allow you to retake a course you already have credit for in the following cases:

  • if you need it as a prereq for a course in your program
  • if you need it to get into POSt

BUT if you need to take a course for any other reason, you can do so up to 1.0 FCE. they’ll mark that course as extra on your transcript. this loophole applies as long as you haven’t previously retaken that specific course, so assuming you’re not a chronic repeater you should be fine. you’ll want to get in touch with your registrar so they can approve your request to repeat, and just confirm that it’ll count towards your program (but as far as i know you’re fine).

really hope this helped and best of luck meeting your grad requirements! you gots this.

cheers,

aska

 


Apr 27

um HI what’s going ON : an announcement

hello friends, readers, internet stragglers, spambots (shoutout to our all-time most frequent commenters, we see and love you)–

have you accessed the aska site in the last few days and been FLOORED because you thought you made a wrong turn? have you made a quick search for ‘can’t get into my poST heLp’ and been met with minimalistic black-and-white nothingness? what about clicked on a link and been transported to a different dimension?

i mean, probably not, because so far we’ve just been trying quick things. BUT this is your heads up that the askastudent website is, as of now, beginning the long and laborious process of being brought out of the early aughts! time travel is real, people. yeah, i know, i’m a little attached to our quirky banner and strangely dark colour scheme too. but all good things must pass.

we’re gonna be fiddling with things for a while, possibly til the end of the summer, so i’ll post another update when the changes have been solidified. what will it look like? wish i knew, i am indecisive as hell.

herewegoooooo,

aska


Apr 25

if you love me don’t make me do math

Hello. I’m interested in applying for a masters program at uoft, specifically in the public policy (PP) programs. Although uoft is my first option (i go to utsc currently), I’m open to PP programs at grad schools in Toronto like at Ryerson or York. My first three semesters sucked (1.85, 2.00, 1.5). My next three semesters: 2.84, 3.13, 3.57. My CGPA now is 2.57 with 11 credits. If I keep averaging around/above 3.5, will I have a chance at getting into uoft? I’m also looking to gain experience!

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hello hello!

i mostly deal in undergrad and am not a numbers person, but i looked into the munk school’s graduate PP program for you. looks like they require two different numbers:

  • your CGPA has to be at least a B
  • your GPA has to be at least a B+ in your final year

as usual, the website includes the bit about how meeting this minimum requirement only makes you competitive, but doesn’t in any way guarantee admission.

now, i am in no way the person you want doing your calculations, so i think it’s in both of our best interests to redirect ya. plug your numbers into this gpa calculator, including your prospective grades, and take a look at what it spits out. a B CGPA at u of t is a 3.0, and a B+ is 3.3, so those are the thresholds you’ll be looking to make. giving this a try will probably give you a better idea of what your chances are.

hope this helped and all the best with your grad school admissions!

cheers,

aska


Apr 22

what kind of bird ARE u tho

what are the bird courses at UofT?

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hello there!

don’t we all wanna know. i’m not aware of that many (you’ll find it’s a very short list lol), but i’ll toss the ones i have heard about at you.

ANT208

all i know is a bunch of people have recommended this to me as a bird. if you check out this reddit post, one user can tell you why. i’m always a lil hesitant to trust reddit, especially as an aska– a lot of redditors giving advice don’t really know what they’re doing. sooooooo use this at your own risk, but either way ANT208 seems to be a solid bird option.

PHY100: magic of physics 

i heard from a first-year that as long as you had taken physics in high school, this one was a breeze. don’t know much about it otherwise, but it seems to be a relatively well-known bird for those inclined towards the sciences.

CLA204: introduction to classical mythology 

i met one girl who wouldn’t shut up about this course. she told everyone she knew to take it, because apparently it was that easy. as long as you’ve read percy jackson, she said, you’ll already know all of the testable material. and the lectures are basically like listening to stories. i can’t corroborate this cause i have yet to take her up on her advice, but like… sounds like a bird to me.

SOC100?

someone told me first year sociology would be a bird, but I haven’t really found that to be true. there was still quite a workload when I took it, and the final exam is pretty hefty AND worth about half of your final grade. i found that, at least with caron, the nice thing is he’ll give you a lot of the questions beforehand, especially short answer and essay prompts. helped a lot with test anxiety, but it meant the exam was pretty tough in terms of length– maybe to compensate. even then, the class average was something like a B. so i guess it depends on what’s important to you. for me, knowing what’s on the exam ahead of time makes it worth it. for you, maybe not. i hear with latouche it’s different, and the exams are pure multiple choice.

seminars

first-year seminars generally seem to be quite a bit easier, and I’d recommend them if you’re a first year and you qualify. they emphasize participation more so than in other classes (in my experience it counted for about 10%), so if you’re not into talking and you care about that 10%, just be aware of that i guess. they also cover some real fun topics, like vampires and drugs. separate courses, unfortunately not in the same one.

i took the frontiers of astronomy one, and was pretty lost at the beginning but found that if i worked off the rubric and spoke up a few times each class, it wasn’t actually a stretch to get an A. easy breadth 5 fulfillment, not even basic math required! a win. and the profs, reid and drout, are real gems. a brainless recommendation for me.

i brought bird courses up with an academic advisor once, actually. her response was, “what kind of bird are you, though?” which is actually, if you think about it, a fair point. what’s a bird for me might not be a bird to you. do you like talking? writing? is math a strength or a con of MASSIVE proportions to you (like it is for me)? some courses are birds for CS majors but will crush a humanities kid, and some fun-looking artsy course might not turn out to be all that fun for a physics geek.

i dunno. i guess some courses are objectively easier ie. the course average is higher and they have less of a killer workload. i would just say be careful about any courses you take just cause you’ve heard they’re birds, especially if you don’t have any real interest in them. people tend to do better in courses they can get excited about, or at least don’t want to pass out over.

on top of that, taking a harder course with a phenomenal prof seems to almost always be more rewarding than taking an easy course with a subpar instructor– another thing to keep in mind. ratemyprof can help you out with this.

personally, the best instructor i’ve ever had is kevin o’neill, who teaches out of diaspora and transnational studies. such a passionate lecturer, and literally described as a genius by his fellow faculty. he made me excited to show up for my morning class, even in the dead of winter. get you a prof like that.

anyhow, this facebook group is also a great reference for bird courses. join it if ya want, seems like you can get some advice on what to take if you want an easy time. sometimes people will send you syllabi, too, if they’re feeling nice and you want more info. this relatively recent blog post also gives you some options i didn’t highlight, in case you wanna check that out.

big sorry that it took me so long to get to this; i’ve had a bunch of questions i’m only just now almost through, and it’s also exam season. SUMMER IS COMING though and i couldn’t be more excited.

over n out,

aska


Apr 22

extenuating circumstances

Hi, I have a unique situation . In my first year my father just passed away which affected both my first and second year marks in university. I then had to take some time off and returned back to school after 1.5 years. Its been a couple of years, and due to academic stress. Because my GPA is so bad after failing 3 courses in both years ,I wanted to know if it was possible to petition to remove the marks I didn’t pass due to these extenuating circumstances.

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hey there,

i know it’s been a few years and you’ve probably heard this already, but i’m sorry for your loss. i can’t imagine what dealing with that must have been like, and it’s totally understandable that your GPA took a hit.

i looked into this for ya, and i think your best option is to go after a withdrawal or WDR. it’s not gonna be a clear-cut process, because the official rule is that you can only request one until 6 months after the end of the term in question. there can be exceptions to this 6- month rule with extenuating circumstances, but i’m not sure you’ll be able to apply the exception to all your terms. apparently the faculty (artsci, although i’m not sure which one you’re with) argues that if you could register for more courses, any issues with past courses will have been resolved. i don’t know if that makes much sense, but the bottom line is you may only be able to fight for your last term of courses.

i would recommend that you talk to your registrar’s office and make an appointment with an academic advisor. they’ll have access to your academic history and be better able to talk you through your options, as well as walk you through the petition process if they believe filing a petition would be in your best interests. there are fees associated with petitions, and if yours is successful you won’t get a refund for the courses you withdrew from either. but an academic advisor can give you specifics on that, as well.

best of luck, my friend. i hope they’re able to work something out for you!

over n out,

aska


Apr 18

1-800-housemeplease

ah, the struggle. so you’ve either decided you don’t want to live in res, commute 4 hours from home, etc etc. well, welcome to the godforsaken housing market that is toronto.

it’s bad, but it’s not as bad as narcity and blogto will make you think. apparently it’s true that rent is higher here than anywhere else in canada, and from what i’ve heard and experienced, the competition to get a place is intense. but (i’m told, to my great dismay) i don’t exist to scare you. in all seriousness, though, a lot of the trouble i had finding a place stemmed from the fact that i was pretty clueless. this isn’t the most organized post, but it will run you through everything i picked up that i wish i had known before.

u of t will plug the toronto off-campus housing website, especially if you go to those off-campus housing seminars. it’s a good option, but it’s far from the only one out there and you’ll want to cover your bases. so here’s a rundown of options the housing seminars don’t cover:

  • the good ol’ craigslist, kijiji... anywhere else you’d go on the internet to buy used stuff

the main thing i’d say for these options is be wary of scammers. if something seems too good to be true, it’s probably a trap. sift through the ads and use your senses. you can find gems on here if you’re meticulous, and if you get lucky. it’s not a terrible idea to give a try.

what i really like about padmapper is its… map. which should seem intuitive, as the site literally has the word ‘map’ in its name, but its map really is superior to every other site i’ve been on. if location is super important to you, this is the site you want to use to find your place. there are also really nicely designed price filters. big fan of those.

two downsides: padmapper lists full apartments only– you won’t find “room for rent” stuff going on here. so unless you’re looking for your own place or have already decided on roommates, it won’t be that great an option for you. also, it seems like the places advertised on here have rent higher than what you can find on facebook.

kay, so it’s not as beautiful as padmapper, but we’re not web elitists here we JUST WANT A PLACE TO LIVE goddammit. viewit lets you pick a district– if you want to be in the st. george area, you’re gonna want T5. you can also choose between furnished and unfurnished apartments, general price ranges, and see placements on a map. i found listings here did tend to be a lil cheaper than on padmapper, but not by much. viewit also seems to be better for long-term rentals, whereas padmapper does list a lot of short-term stuff you can filter off if you’re not into that.

if you’re looking for something low-rent, like a room in a shared house, this is not the housing site for you– it generally seems to advertise whole apartments.

i, like, couldn’t figure out how to work this? but i figured i’d include it because you might have more luck with it than i did.

also one i didn’t use, but you can check it out if you’d like. there are housing listings for all 3 u of t campuses provided!

  • reddit

okay, yeah, i was pretty skeptical about this one too. i have a friend that managed to get a really great place last-minute off of reddit, though. i don’t know too much about the world of reddit (uncultured lol) but hey, if you’re confident navigating it, r/TorontoRenting might give you some leads.

  • facebook groups

plug plug plug, because this is where it’s at, people. as far as i’m aware, your best bet lies with bunz home zone, which has over 100k members and is super active. the nice thing about bunz is that posts are pretty thorough and standardized, so you have a lot of information about a place before you actually reach out and say you’re interested.

you can also search for roommates through bunz should you wish, although i’d really recommend the u of t off campus housing roommate portal if you want to live with a fellow student.

on top of this, there are student-specific facebook housing groups you can check out:

Student housing Toronto – UofT – Ryerson – OCAD,

University of Toronto (U of T) – Off campus housing St. George,

University of Toronto – Off-Campus Housing (St. George)

University of Toronto (UTM) – Off-Campus Housing (Mississauga) 

University of Toronto (UTSC) – Off-Campus Housing (Scarborough)

  • word of mouth

this is also an option i really stand behind. a lot of people i know found their current apartments because they knew people who were moving out, or had others ask around for them. the perk of this, too, is if you have some sort of personal connection to the current tenants, you won’t have to contend as much with the dog-eat-dog world of competition.

on roommates

it can be a bad idea to live with friends. it can also be a bad idea to live with total strangers. the jury’s out on this one. just try to meet the people you’ll be living with first, and make sure your habits are compatible. also make sure you’re both willing to talk things through with each other should issues arise, as there’s nothing worse than the passive-aggressive sticky-note roommate.

on timing 

some people look for apartments waaaay before apartments become available at all. i definitely did this. there are probably better ways to use your time than browsing in december for nonexistent may move-in listings. i learned that things usually go up about 4-8 weeks out, especially on facebook.

if you look too early, you might end up signing for a place too early, which will mean you pay rent you don’t need to be paying. would not recommend. save the money for burrito bowls or somethin that brings you joy, you feel?

location

i’ve frequently been told you can’t find cheap rent near campus, and to look further if you want to save money. to a certain extent, that is true. but people make it sound like it’s impossible to get a room for under 1000 within walking distance, when i know people on beverley and in kensington paying 500-800. it is doable, if you know the right people or get lucky– just know that chances are you’d be living in a shared residential house, probably a pretty old one.

on going home for the summer

if you’re heading home for four months but want a place for the next year, you have three options. you can either:

  1. wait until you come back to find a september lease (a lil stressy)
  2. search for a place remotely, which i also wouldn’t recommend. you should always try to view a place in-person before you sign.
  3. find a lease that begins in may, and search for a subletter for the months you’re away. subletters basically live in your place while you’re not there, and pay their rent to you so you can pay the landlord at no extra cost to yourself. if that makes sense.i mean, subletting is its own ordeal and you always run the risk that you won’t find someone. then you’ll be responsible for your summer rent. many condos also have rules against subletting, the details of which can vary– if you lease a condo, make sure you know what those rules are. weigh your options and decide accordingly, friend.

on furniture and furnishings

perks of getting an unfurnished apartment: you have agency! your space will look the way you want it to. craigslist and carousell are your friend. ikea is also your friend.

downsides of the unfurnished life: searching for furnishings, and transporting them to your place. assembling ikea furniture– i swear i can follow almost any other instructions, but ikea ones

perks of a furnished apartment: no blood, sweat, & tears just to have a bed to sleep in

why i didn’t want a furnished apartment: sometimes you get stuck with whack furniture. my friends have this huge, strangely orange armchair that they can’t fit through their door. it clashes with everything else they own. what to do, what to do?

miscellaneous

what the heck is hydro? GEEZ. i wondered about this for weeks and weeks before i finally found out it basically means your electricity bill in canadian. a lot of places i’ve seen will include all utilities except hydro and internet, so if you’re paying bills it’s useful to know what it is you’re paying for! if you can, try to get all your utilities included, though.

if you’re staying in the summer, find out if your place has good ventilation and/or AC. if not, you can always look into getting a portable AC unit, i guess.

know your rights! 

this tenant survival guide is long, but it’ll run you through a crap ton of useful legal things. give it a glance, or refer to it if you get in trouble.

viewings

this inspection checklist can be useful! some of the questions feel a lil stupid but it can help to give it a look over before you go to a viewing. it’ll give you a better idea of what to look out for, and remind you of lil things you might otherwise miss. like outlets. outlets are hella important.

aanyway.

this is just the information i’ve gathered through personal experience navigating the system. i realize that it’s mostly geared towards UTSG, just because that’s… the area i know about? i mean, the sites should still work for scarborough and ‘sauga, but i don’t know the nuances of those markets. if anyone comments with tips for utsc and utm, i’ll add them on.

proud of ya if you made it to the end of this post. here’s to having a place to live!

over n out,

aska


Apr 17

hand over the bodies

Hello! Someone told me theres a 4th year anatomy course where you get to work with cadavers. Do you know which course this is? I tried looking at course descriptions but none of them say “cadaver” (which is understandable lol)

——————————————

hi there,

my best guess is that you’re looking for ANA400. its timetable listing reads that ‘anatomical dissections’ take place as a part of the course, which could indicate that you’ll be doing hands-on cadaver stuff. if you want to find out more, you can look it up in the artsci timetable or on this division of anatomy page.

it seems promising, cause it looks like there’s a pretty extensive application process to be able to register for the course. if i had a limited number of cadavers for students to work with, i’d vet the students pretty thoroughly too.

if you want to be certain of what this course offers, i’d recommend talking to the division. but yeah, this is my best guess– i think, but i’m not sure, that i found it.

hope this helped you find what you’re looking for!

over n out,

aska


Apr 13

counselling! cw: mental health

Does uoft offer therapy? My friend at another uni said it was a part of her tuition and set up appointments.

hello and welcome,

thanks for asking, cause this is something we should all know about.

resources-for-the-run-down rundown time. options! delightful! not all of these are necessarily set up by u of t, but i figured the more you know the better, right?

below i’ve given you everything i’m aware of, and you can weigh whether or not each will meet your needs. i’ve also tried to include what i’ve heard about each option. never worked up the guts to take the plunge and get help myself (working on it !!) but if i ever do, i’ll update this with personal experience lol

1. help line

some people love it, some people hate it– i was at a mental health forum a week or so back, and peoples’ experiences with this seemed to vary dramatically. i guess it depends on whether or not you call at peak times– apparently wait times can be over an hour, or there can be no wait time at all. but! good2talk is an always-open mental health helpline for young adults, so  it is a resource available to you should you wish to give it a try. it’s also bilingual, if that plays a role in your accessibility.

a lesser-known one is the gerstein crisis centre, which you can phone at 416-929-5200. as far as i know, this isn’t affiliated with our lovely lifesci library of the same name. they pick up 24h/day and serve anyone 16+.

what i like about the help line option is that you don’t have to leave your home to talk to somebody. a lot of the time when i’m coming down from an anxiety attack, the last thing i want to do is bundle up and head outside. i want blankets, pajamas, and the safety of my own room. phone help lines are probably good for this feel.

2. health and wellness

from what i’ve heard, this is generally not the way to go. there’s a really high demand for the counsellors at health and wellness, and i’ve spoken to people who have waited 4-6 months for an appointment once they’ve obtained a referral. i don’t think it’s the fault of anyone working there, and while i understand peoples’ anger, i’m hesitant to take an adversarial stance with the staff and admin on this issue. to me, it seems like the system itself is just overwhelmed and we need to be funneling more resources into it. which is a whole tangent you didn’t ask for. get to the point, aska, cmon. 

to get an appointment, you can call, book online, or visit them in person. more on this here.

i’m pretty unfamiliar with the system and couldn’t find much else otherwise. if you feel up to it, you can give this a try. it’s supposed to be the main u of t-organized resource for mental health therapy.

i don’t know how long this is gonna be up, but at least during this exam season, you can get drop-in h&w counselling at robarts. appointments are 45min beginning every hour 5-10pm. and and and, they’re offered in NOT JUST ENGLISH but hindi, mando, and punjabi. give it a shot if you’d like, this year it runs til april 30.

3. embedded counselors

these tend to be a lot more accessible than health and wellness, from what i understand. they’re essentially counsellors from h&w assigned to a college/program and operating at a location close to them (which helps if you live in res, i guess). because they serve a smaller demographic, it follows that they’d be easier to get an appointment with. i want to stress, though, that this is just something i’ve heard from friends’ experience– a friend at trin managed to book something the next week, i think.

i believe you can phone h&w to get an appointment with these as well, but some also have alternative methods of contact you can give a try. eg. for the innis ones, you can drop into the registrar’s office and ask, or speak to specific staff who can hook you up.

here are links to all the ones i’m aware of (a very limited list):

utsg

trin, vic, innis, uc, kpe (undergrad and grad), engineering, grad students in general. anything i didn’t link here, eg. other colleges and professional faculties should all still have embedded counsellors! just call h&w and ask for whatever you’re affiliated with.

utsc

psych, english, anyone living in res

utm

send help ?? could not FIND anything. really sorry, i’ll keep looking and see what i can add for yall ‘sauga kids. maybe utm doesn’t have embedded counsellors, though?

4. counseline

seems like this is mainly targeted to utsg artsci kiddos. in-person as well as online counselling is available at this outlet running out of the faculty of social work. there isn’t a lot of info for how intake works, but you can try shooting an email at the project coordinator, whose contact info is available here.

this may be a good LGBT+ friendly option, cause they collab with the sexual/gender diversity office.

5. OISE

seems like our lovely OISE runs a clinic for counselling and therapy. you’d be speaking to a student doing their clinical, but under supervision by a professional. there are associated fees, and i’m not sure if uhip covers these but it might. the clinic site recommends that you call intake and ask about a specific program to get further details, and apparently subsidies are available in some cases.

i’m a lil iffy about this one, just cause they do record your session for training purposes. i mean, they delete it after, but i wouldn’t be fully comfortable knowing that my session would be accessible to someone other than my therapist and i. just something important to be aware of, i guess. i understand that it’s probably important for the facilitators to be learning from the sessions they’re carrying out.

6. external counselling

in my experience, if you struggle to get help from any of these other options/don’t feel like you have the energy to give them a try, looking for something outside of u of t may not be a bad idea. if you haven’t opted out of the university’s insurance plan, you have coverage under the universal health insurance plan, or uhip.

this essentially means that if you choose to see someone outside of the university’s system, you’ll get refunded $125 per visit at most. you can do this 20 times a year, which doesn’t sound too terrible compared to most of the 7-8 visit limits on other options. it also gives you more flexibility with who you choose to see, and where you go.

7. stella’s place

i’ve never been, but stella’s place looks promising. really, really promising, actually. they do mental health help for young adults 16-29 free of charge. i don’t know what wait times are, but it does appear that they’re actively working to make them shorter.

you can find their contact info under this FAQ page, or visit them at 18 camden. it’s a half hour’s walk/10 minute streetcar from robarts. they do these sessions 3pm on thursdays where they walk you through all the options they offer, and i think if you attend these you’re automatically eligible to join their groups as well as get individual counselling. if it works better for you, walk-in counselling is offered tues/thurs 3-5 to anyone, regardless of whether you’ve attended stella’s place previously!

did i mention it’s f r e e ?

8. online option

i believe studentcare is running an online counselling service that works under uhip coverage as well. you talk to a licensed psychologist through a video call, kind of like skype i guess, but with a different software. and you get the convenience of not having to trek to an in-person clinic and wait.

9. side-options

they’re not in any way professional therapists or counsellors, but residence dons and commuter dons have received basic mental health training and may be able to help you out, maybe while you’re waiting to see a real therapist. it’s a better option than not having anyone to reach out to, in any case.

i’m hoping to see this list of options expand as u of t starts to address the deficiencies in its mental health help system.

if you’re reading this and know of anything i didn’t mention that you think should be on here, or if you’ve had experience with any of these options and have advice to impart, comment it below and i’ll edit this post accordingly.

over n out,

aska


Apr 12

another day, another POSt

Hi! I took the min amount of courses a full time student can take so I should have 3.0 FCE at the end of the year right? So I can’t apply to a POST? What happens then? I have to wait until next summer or will I have to apply in the coming fall semester as soon as I complete 1 more FCE to make 4 total? Also I want to major in sociology but I didn’t take perquisite course (took a different soc course) & I can’t take it in the summer so do I have to apply to random programs then just switch later?

——————————————

hey there,

if you took the minimum amount of courses to still qualify as full-time, you should indeed have 3.0 FCE by the end of the year. you’re correct that this bars you from applying to a POSt right now, and unfortunately there’s no POSt application period in the fall. it only happens in two periods once a year, generally beginning near the end of winter semester and in the middle of the summer semester.

this puts you in kind of a weird place.

my recommendation to you depends on your plan going forward. there are two possibilities:

1.you’re taking summer classes and will have another 1.0 credit once the first summer semester is up

there’s a rule that prevents students from enrolling in courses once they reach 4.0 credits and aren’t registered in a program. if you are taking enough summer classes to have 4.0 by july, i’m worried that this will kick in for you before course reg, and you’ll find yourself unable to come back for fall/winter next year. what you’ll want to do with this case is request programs during the second request period. this request period depends on what program type you’re going for, and you can find those dates here.  i dunno if you’re well-versed on program types, so if you’re not you can read up on them there as well. to check what kind of type your programs are, ctrl+f them on this page. 

yikes, i feel like one of those automated phone lines you call and have to press 5 buttons before you can speak to a real human being. press 8 for more information. press 9 to repeat this message. press 0 to revive aska-with-a-personality from the hellhole that is exam szn :(( my apologies for being as dry as a piece of two-week-old bread.

… i don’t know what i’m throwing this gif in for. it serves no purpose other than making me a lil uncomfortable.

since you won’t be able to get your soc prereqs by then, what you should probably do is pick placeholder programs. this’ll ensure you’ll be able to register in courses, and they’re easy enough to drop at the end of next year if you still want to switch to soc. i’d go for random type 1 programs, as they don’t ask anything extra of you. it’s basically just so your acorn continues to function and treat you as a student following the rules. loopholes!

2.you’re not taking summer courses/enough summer courses to have 4.0 by july

with this, i’m relatively confident the no-course-enrollment rule will not affect you. what you’ll have to do in this case is just wait til next year’s program enrollment period. this, thankfully, gives you time to complete your soc prerequisites without having to throw placeholders into your ACORN.

hope this helped! best of luck with what exams you have left, and feel free to shoot me another question if you run into any trouble with this.

over n out,

aska

 


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