All throughout high school, I was certain that I would attend McGill University. The out-of-province, big university experience was all I dreamed of up until my senior year of high school. However, when time came around to visiting schools, my mind quickly changed. All my expectations of being in a new city and province were shattered. Instead of feeling excited, I felt lost. It was only then I realized that I needed a stronger sense of community from a school to be able to see myself going there.
I was hooked on to the University of Toronto after I saw the beautiful old buildings seamlessly embedded into lively Toronto. The history and traditions of the school mixed with the modern and upbeat landscape of Toronto excited and lured me in. What really gave me a sense of belonging at the school was the college system. Each student in the Faculty of Arts and Science must belong to a college. As U of T has over 60, 000 students with buildings and classes scattered over the Discovery District, the colleges are communities that act as home bases to students on campus.
I found comfort in the idea of having a small community I could belong to while still attending one of the best universities in the country and world. U of T is known for having world-renowned professors and alumni but for me, it was also a place filled to the brim with opportunities. I was completely enticed by the numerous clubs, specialized courses, and endless amount of resources.
I entered my first year as a general social sciences student taking all sorts of courses from Introduction to Economics to Myths of French Sensuality and had course sizes of 25 students meeting in classrooms for lectures to over 1000 students meeting in Convocation Hall for lectures. I took one English course on a whim knowing that it would be something that I would enjoy. I fell in love with English because it was a subject that allowed me to express my ideas freely and critically think about the material we were studying in a way no other subject I was taking could. At the end of my first year, I ended up switching from International Relations to English.
A big part of this decision was based on the fact that I didn’t enjoy my social science classes nearly as much as my humanities classes and as a result, I put much more work and effort into my humanities courses. Realizing that I would be spending four years studying one subject and building connections in that field, I decided to pursue my passion and make the most of my university experience by learning about something I was truly interested in.
This year I am pursuing an English Specialist Major and a Book & Media Studies Minor. On the side, I am taking classes from the Psychology department to continue exploring my interest in the field.
My one piece of advice to anyone making decisions about universities and subjects of study is to consider all the factors that come into play. Throw all your pre-conceived notions out the window and really sit down and think about what you want. More often than not, your gut instinct will guide you the best.