My New Life at the University of Toronto

My New Life at the University of Toronto

Hi again CIS students! My name is Dong Thao, for those who do not remember who I am and I am the second Alumni group of CIS. Just a little flash back before I continue; I finished my grade 12 in St. Catharines (Niagara, Canada) at Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School and chose The University of Toronto to be my university.

So you want to be in university? Get ready, a lot of fun comes with a lot (and I do mean A LOT) of work. First thing first, yes the myth is true - you will have lectures that have 1200 students in it. In my case, it is my Political Science lecture. My advice to you, if you have trouble concentrating beside a person that rustle their muffin lunch every 5 minutes, is to pull out a recording device and then listen to the lecture again at home.

Second thing you will definitely notice is the crazy over-lapping homework and tests. You were told you would not have more than 2 tests/exams in a day? Well prepare for the worst because it might be remotely different in university.

Third, in high school in a day I have around 7-8 hours of class. In university however, for a whole week I have 11 hours of school. I find that fantastic as an outgoing yet over achieving student. In university, you might end up having a lot of free spaces and time on your schedule (with the exception of the engineers or life science students). Really, your schedules might be a whole lot more busy, or a whole lot empty.

Forth, your lunch might be at random time every day. My Monday lunch is at 10am while my Tuesday lunch is at 12pm.

Fifth is the fact that you might not even pass some of your tests. I know this might bring you to tears, but it’s true. Because the lectures are so fast pace, it might not be your type of learning. Trust me, I am killing myself trying to study my Economics first test. Oh and speaking of Tests and doing well; what you think you might be good at, might not be the case in university. Proofs? My Physics marks are currently higher than my Economics marks. More proofs? I did not take grade 12 Physics. There are more to come, but I will let you experience that yourselves.

One may ask then: what are the good sides of university life? The good sides here are the fact that you will be able to find your group of friends in no time. Especially in a university so big like the University of Toronto - you are bound to find friends you can relate with. What I also love about this university is that we have 7 associated colleges, and each student got to be a member of one of these colleges (Mine is Trinity College). What more fun about our college system is the fact that we are compared to the houses from Harry Potter: University College is Griffindor, Trinity College is Slytherin, Victoria College is Raven Claw and the rest of the other colleges are Hufflepuff. This is completely student made by the way, so don’t go complain to the administrative office because they might have no clue what you might be talking about.

The college system helped me made a lot of friends, especially in Trinity College as it is the college with the lease amount of students. Because we have such a small community, we are tightly knit and it is easy to make friends too. Being in Trinity college is a great experience for me because we carry our traditions. We are the only college on campus with a democratic government, which means everyone is allowed to take part in making the decision of how we want the college to operate. Trinity college also has its own special Wednesday night dinner call the High Table Dinner where we are to wear our traditional gowns to our beautiful lunch hall to eat together.

I am also enrolled in the Trinity One International Relations Program - a program I got in by writing exams and noting my extra-curricular activities and my leadership experiences. This one program or any one program at the university will greatly help you expand your networks with your professors and colleagues - which I might say will come in very handy towards your future in any occupations. I have a plus point for being one of the students in the One Program because every two weeks, we have a special lunch with special guest speakers!

You see, being in a university is tough but if you find your balance; you will go far and have a lot of fun my friends. Cheers and good luck! I am going to proceed to study for my mid-term exams now.

Thao Trinh - First year student of University of Toronto, former Prime Minister of CIS Student Council 2012-2013.