If you’re reading this you probably got accepted in life sciences program at UTM. If that’s the case, fuck yeah! The next 4 years are very crucial to your future, so you need to make sure you’re taking the right steps and having the right strategy. This little guide is now one year old and I believe last year, many people found it useful. So take a look and see if you can learn something you don’t already know:
1. Your mandatory courses
You probably already know that you need to take BIO152, BIO153, CHM110, CHM120 and MAT134. And if you didn’t know already, then yeah you need to take BIO152, BIO153, CHM110, CHM120 and MAT134. I can’t really help you out with the bio courses. They’re indeed easy af. Just show up, learn, study, do the tests. But here’s the case with CHM110:
There are 2 profs teaching this course. One is named Krish, the other one is Poe. If you’re not amazing at chemistry, and you kinda struggle with it, and you can’t handle unorthodox methods, do not take CHM110 with professor Poe. Do not take CHM110 during your first semester. Take it during your second semester with Krish and then later in the summer take CHM120 with him!
Now for MAT134, there are plenty of Profs for this course. Make sure you check their ratings on ratemyprofessor.com before taking their class. If you are kinda struggling with math as well, stay away from Professor Yu and stick to professor Fuchs.
2017 Edit: If you’re planning on taking MAT134 in the summer, make sure you’re ready for the workload. The material will be compressed af, it’s gonna be absolutely mental.
2. Your electives
Your mandatory courses will add up to 3 credits, meaning that you can take 1-2 more credits! DO NOT TAKE LANGUAGE COURSES AT ALL, unless you already speak that language and you just wanna take it so you can have a higher GPA. You’re already using your brain to the max, you don’t need another language on the side. SOC100 is one of the most popular electives around here. Of course if you are taking SOC100, it is better if you go with professor Innocente. There’s another prof for this course, her name is Jayne Baker, but she is rather strict compared to professor Innocente.
2017 Edit: In my second year I realized that most Anthro courses are bird courses, and most history courses are rather difficult. Religion courses are mostly easy, but we do have people complaining about Christianity and it’s heavy work load.
If you are thinking about medschool, there are a bunch of other science courses you need to have in mind: Physics and Psychology. Before taking them during your first semester, make sure you can handle the workload first!!! Here’s a suggestion: take your mandatory courses during your first and second semester, plus a bunch of easy electives, and then sacrifice your summer exclusively for Physics. Or not. Doesn’t matter. You don’t HAVE to take it during your first year. You can worry about it later.
If you wanna go to medschool and eventually become a doctor, it is better if you own a physical copy of all your science textbooks so you can go back to them later and study them for MCAT and shit.
However, if you think you don’t need physical copies, ask around and I promise you will find an ebook for whatever textbook you are looking for. The key is to know the right people. There are so many amazing and kind people on UTM Facebook groups (see tip #4). Chances are, one of them will send them to you.
Also, you have absolutely no reason to buy the textbooks from the UTM bookstore, unless you wanna pull your pants down and shit on your money. Buy from the students. It’s cheaper. You’ll need money. They’ll use some money. It’ll all be good mate. Trust.
4. Facebook groups
There are Facebook groups for most of the courses you are taking. Join them. People post notes and stuff on them.
If there are no groups for your course, well, make one. You don’t always have to be a lazy piece of shit, you know..
I really do wanna continue writing because I feel like I didn’t really write much for this tip, but I can’t think of anything cuz it’s pretty fuckin’ straightforward.
I found OneClass.com even more helpful than Facebook groups sometimes. There are so many good stuff here. It will cost you 70$ a year though. But it’s worth it. But then again, if you want one year worth of chemistry notes or math notes here, you might not be able to find it. Everything else is pretty useful though. And if you are a note-taking freak yourself, you can upload them and get rewards!!
2017 Edit: ONECLASS IS NOW 100 FUCKIN DOLLAR PER FUCKIN YEAR CAN U FUCKIN BELIEVE THIS! Still worth it tho.. To be frank, OneClass saved my ass in all my electives.
During your time at UTM, some will probably ask you : What’s your major? What’s your minor? The things is, you don’t have a major or a minor yet. You will choose them after your first year. This link gives you all the programs that UTM offers: http://www.utm.utoronto.ca/programs-departments
Make sure you decide what you wanna do soon, so you can meet the requirements of your program.
2017 Edit: If you’re looking to get into medschool, make sure you check out the Specialist programs. After a conversation I had with my academic advisor, I learned that students who complete a specialist program have a better chance of getting accepted to MedSchool. Of course you’d still need all the good marks and experience, but if the medschool of your choice had to decide between a specialist student and a double major student with the same gpa and experience as the specialist student, they’d go for the specialist student. I personally switched to a Bio specialist after learning the fact. But anyways, don’t worry about this too much for now, you still have time to think about all of this.
GPA is important, especially if you wanna go to medschool. But nowhere does it say that you are OBLIGATED to have a 4.0 throughout your Uni life. So if it’s not 4.0 yet, don’t worry. I’d say stick around 3.0 or even higher for your first year and you’ll have more than enough time to increase it. Don’t stress too much over this, k? Check all the groups to find out what courses would make decent electives for you. And as I mentioned before, take the language course of the language you speak! It will boost you up like fuck!
However if you a genius and you have a 4.0 at all times, then by all means, have it!
2017 Edit: During my second year, I met so many people who had GPAs below 2.5 or even 2.0 when they first entered the program, and now have 3.0+ GPA. Though it is important to have good marks, shit will happen and you might have an absolute shite start in the program. Don’t take it too hard on yourself because that will just cause more failure usually. It happens to a lot of people, it’s the pressure of starting university, but you can always make up for it.
I’m gonna keep this short cuz I’m getting tired. I’m doing this for free anyway, you should be thanking me for fucks sake.
Yeah so, Go to Frosh. Frosh is a great way to meet the people in your program who have more resources than you. Chances are, you will learn a thing or two, and you might even find someone who will send you notes and textbooks for free!
And here’s my most important tip for you:
Prepare to fail. Because you will. at one point or another you will fail something, a test, a quiz, a lab, or even a course. It’s okay. No one said studying here will be easy.
Once you accept the fact that failure can happen anytime, you’ll have an easier time recovering from one.
2017 edit: Bonus tips for new kids
In this last part, I’m going to give you some advice about UTM in general.
Get involved: there are many events on campus, from gatherings to parties to movie nights. Just attend them every now and then. Trust me when I say you don’t want to isolate yourself.
Join a club: Clubs are like genders; while you’ll probably only stay in touch with 2 of them throughout the years, there are still a staggering number of clubs on campus for all sorts of interests/backgrounds. When you join a club, you become a part of a tight af community which means more friends and who doesnt want friends, right?!!
Start a club: Other than the satisfaction in being a leader and bossing around and inviting 500 people to events and having 10 people show up, starting a successful club will look good on your resume too!
DONT TAKE A FUCKIN STUDY ROOM IF YOU’RE GONNA BE THE ONLY ONE USING IT!
Add people: Facebook is the best way for you to stay connected. Add as many UTM students on Facebook as you can. Make sure you have mutual friends with them, or else it’d be just creepy. Chances are, a few of them will invite you to some events.
Don’t compliment yourself on UTM Confessions page: It’s just pathetic. Don’t do it.
Don’t try to fight with the geese: Bad memories, lads. Don’t ever try messing with the fuckers. They’ll fuck you up.
That’s about it. Hope you found this little guide helpful. My Facebook is: Arian Salari and on instagram you can find me @ArianxSalari. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions!
Arian J. Salari