Reflections From A Fourth Year U of T Student

Edited by Sophia Savva

As a South Asian woman in her twenties, a commuter student and a participant of numerous U of T clubs, I want to give my perspective on my experiences as a student at U of T. 

Arriving at U of T 

My expectation before entering U of T was that I knew I had to give it my all or it wasn’t going to work out. As a student with efficient work ethic in high school, I still feared that this was not going to make the cut at U of T. I heard rumours about it being one of the toughest schools to complete your undergraduate in but, I wanted to take the challenge and try my best.

Before entering the school, I was nervous about two things: getting good grades and making new friends.

So, I knew I had to put all my effort into school, and I didn’t commit to anything else besides the UTSG Phoenix Dance Team. The dance team was mainly composed of other South Asian individuals who taught, choreographed and learned Bharathanayam (classical dancing), Kuthu, hip-hop, duets, etc. This was a good balance because dance helped me relieve stress when I needed some time off of school. Furthermore, joining this club helped me find new friends that I could relate to and allowed me to invest my energy into something that I was passionate about.

What I Liked About U of T 

There were countless benefits of going to U of T and if I had to do it all again, I’d still choose this school.

When it comes to the academic-side of U of T, I interacted with various professors and T.A.s who supported me in reaching my full potential. These teachers not only taught me the curriculum, but taught me how to focus on improving myself as an individual, especially through the conversations we had during office hours. The bond I built with some teachers made me realize that this school does have amazing professors who are willing to support students along their academic journey.

The individuals in my classes were also friendly and welcoming; we shared many things in common and became close friends over the years.

Once I became more comfortable at U of T, I decided to join Her Campus UToronto, where I was able to share my thoughts on topics I'm passionate about with the U of T community. Expressing myself on such a large platform was frightening at first, but the experience ultimately improved my writing and confidence.

Her Campus also allowed me to participate in extraordinary conferences, where I learned how to stay motivated and go after my goals through various personal testimonials from female speakers.

How I Handled My Negative Experiences At UofT

As everyone has probably experienced, every domain is very competitive and it’s easy to get lost in daily comparisons between yourself and others. It’s easy to drown in all the work and throw away your peace of mind. It’s easy to feel like ‘you’re not good enough,’ due to bad grades or negative experiences. These were all my major downfalls at this institution. 

However, by the time fourth year came around, I started believing that trying my best is all I could do, and this mindset really opened up a healthier point of view about school for me. No matter what downfalls I encountered, I learned to have fun and try my best, because I knew the lessons I learned along the way were ones I’d remember for a lifetime.