It’s that time of year again: application time. 12th graders are scrambling to finish their university applications and first years are still trying to figure out what their POSt is going to be. To help with the application, HerCampus is scouting out students who seem to have their life together, for great advice on campus life and life on campus.
Name: Kary Cozens
Year of Study: First year
Program of study: I am planning on enrolling in a specialist in Political Science and majoring in Ethics, Society, and Law. Further, I am working on the prerequisites for medical school, which includes most of the first and second-year science courses.
College: University College
Res or non-res? I am currently in residence, but I will be off campus next year.
Can you describe what attracted you to the University of Toronto when you were applying to colleges/universities? What made you decide that U of T is the school for you?
Having grown up in a small town, I had never experienced cities like Toronto before. Therefore, when I had the opportunity to come here on a business trip, I fell in love with everything the city had to offer, the arts and theatre culture, a strong political climate, and the diversity and multiculturalism to name a few. The next summer I came to the University for a summer program, from this I knew that both the city and the university would provide me the opportunity both to grow and be challenged in all of my interest areas in ways that other schools might not.
Can you describe your university experience in five words?
New opportunities and challenges, rewarding.
What are some of your favourite activities/events on campus? Why?
Personally, I enjoy the various academic panels offered through the university. These panels give you insight into what the practical applications of the things you are studying are. Similarly, because of the prestige of the university many of the people who come to speak are renowned in their fields globally, showing you what is considered cutting edge in that discipline.
Are you part of any groups/clubs, and what attracted you to them?
I am involved with a number of groups on campus. First is the Pre-Medical Society, I got involved with this group because it allowed me to connect with other people who are looking at a career in medicine, something that is challenging as an arts student. Second, is the Political Science Association; when I was preparing for university I read an advice column that recommended getting as involved in your major as you can. I took this in stride and ran as the First Year Representative for the course union and was voted in. Third, and the last I will mention is the Canadian Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, this is a Not-for-Profit that works out of U of T and works to monitor and lobby for the adoption of the doctrine of the Responsibility to Protect by governments around the world.
What is your favourite place to hang out on or near campus? Why?
My favourite place to hang out on campus is Hart House because it has everything you need; A library, cafeteria, reading rooms, a gym, and a beautiful quad during the spring and summer months.
Which library is your favourite to study in? Why?
I like to move between libraries so that studying does not get too tedious. For that reason, I rotate between Graham and Robarts. I like Graham because it is a smaller library so it feels cosier for when I am trying to get through my readings. In direct contrast, Robarts is great when I can get a window seat on one of the top floors so I can see the cityscape of Toronto or if I am working on essays or studying for a longer period of time.
If you could carve out your own corner of campus, what are the buildings that you would want to include? Why?
I would choose; Toronto General Hospital, Hart House, University College and Graham Library. I choose these because as with them you get some of the best of everything campus has to offer; the new and the old, the cutting edge and the traditional as well as the overall beauty of campus.
Can you give a quick description of the community that is at U of T, and what you like best about it?
I think the only way to describe the U of T community is that it is incredibly diverse. This is one of the advantages of a campus this size there really is a group of friends or a club for everyone. This is the feature I also best, because of this diversity the number of people you can grow and learn from is extensive.
Do you have any advice for underclassmen (or upperclassmen), as they continue their university career?
Having just about survived my first year there are three things I have learned. First, stay on top of your readings and assignments. Second, is to get involved to some extent outside the classroom. I won’t pretend either of those are groundbreaking bits of information but they really will affect how well your first, and I would imagine upper, years, will go, both academically. Personally when it comes to stress levels. The last thing I will say is to get off campus sometimes, U of T is great but it’s only one part of an equally amazing city so take some time to explore it and have some fun.
Do you have any advice for high school seniors/12th graders who are applying to U of T?
Make sure you know what you are getting yourself into. U of T is great and I am incredibly glad I came here but I think there are a lot of false expectations out there about the school and maybe university generally. Do your research; talk to people who go here and to other schools. This is how you can ensure that U of T is the best fit for you. Similarly, make sure your are willing to put in the work if you want to do well, U of T is a very challenging school, with that comes many opportunities, but it comes at a cost, just make sure you are prepared for that.
How did you know what POSt you wanted after first year? Did you also struggle with indecisiveness?
For me choosing a major was a process. Having studied in a smaller school, I had never been exposed to the incredible scope of subjects that are present at the university. This made choosing a major incredibly hard. So in order to tackle it I figured out what I knew I wanted out of my bachelor’s degree. For me I knew I wanted to something related to politics, at some point I want to be in smaller classes, and I knew that my undergraduate degree is only the first step in my career training. So with this in mind I looked at programs, or a combination of programs, that would fulfill these requirements and was able to arrive at Political science and Ethics Society and Law.
Can you list 3 do’s and 3 don’ts to success? Any other helpful advice?
Do: come in with an open mind, try new or random things in your first year, and work hard
Don’t: take your first year to seriously; it doesn’t determine everything unlike what you might have been told, don’t; expect it to be just like high school, and don’t forget about your health, both mental and physical.