As an alumnus, I have multiple things in my mind that I wished I could’ve done as a student to make my five program run a smoother one. Graduating from one of the toughest institutions in Canada, my academic journey at University of Toronto (St. George) was no joke and based on my overall experience, these were the biggest things that I regret not doing as an undergrad.
1. Strive to attend every class of a course
Unless you are studious, I am sure that most undergraduates have never completed a course run without missing at least one class. However, this is one of the things that I actually regret, especially at University of Toronto, as my days of absence were actually significant lecture days.
2. “Actually” doing the readings
With six courses per semester, catching up on readings is difficult. Most of the time, I found myself skimming through readings or even skipping them. However, there are many times I’ve lost track of particular topics because of this poor habit.
3. Writing a blueprint before writing an essay
I am the type of person who generally “wings” an essay without any solid outline or blueprint. Unfortunately, I found this approach to be more time-consuming because I found myself constantly back and forth between sources and my paper.
4. Bringing your own food
Food at University of Toronto is quite expensive therefore my suggestion to the new undergrads, bring your own food if you’re conserving your school budget.
5. Buying used textbooks
It’s undeniable that new textbooks are expensive. Unless you’re merely obsessed with the smell of new publications, why buy new ones when you know you’ll only use them for one semester or two?
6. Bringing a laptop
As an old-school student, I personally like writing notes on paper. However, this can be hard if you’re professor speaks fast. I suggest bringing a laptop for convenience sake.
7. Living in the campus/Getting a dorm
If you live at least 30 mins away (driving) from downtown, you typically have to leave the house 3 hours before your first class starts so that you can catch the GO and subway. If you lived in campus, waking up a little later would obviously not be a problem.
8. Driving downtown
People would disagree with me on this since the majority of Torontonians HATE driving downtown because of the traffic and never-ending construction. I personally don’t mind especially if I only have one class for the day and it’ll save me 30 bucks from commuting.
9. Asking professors or TAs questions
For some reason, I felt embarrassed to ask my professors or TAs questions regarding assignments. However, I realized how anxious I got when I had a million questions about an assignment one day before its due date.
10. Initiating group studies
Yes, we’re all shy on the first day of the course and we might think that making friends is unnecessary because we’re simply a “number” at school. However, you’re going to require substantial emotional and mental support in those tough first year courses. Unfortunately, I only realized how helpful group studies were in my last year.
11. Lessening procrastination
This is one of the primary things that students keep promising to themselves but never gets fulfilled. I think we can all agree that sometimes, it’s hard not to procrastinate on accomplishing certain assignments or even studying for exams.
12. Keeping your student card (T-card) safe
I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve lost my student card at University of Toronto. You need this for almost anything academic related – school access, printing, borrowing books, etc.