“What I Wish I Knew In First Year”

Hopefully, in the past weeks- we’ve all taken chances, we’ve made mistakes, and we’ve all said Hi!

But, as I learned in the past week, some mistakes can give rise to crucial dips in our academic careers. As a first year student, perhaps I’m the last one to be writing about this. But the title doesn’t refer to my exquisite knowledge, but rather the presentation, organized by Lisa Peden- an academic advisor.

A lot of students have come to her- panicked, disheartened, grief-stricken-


And after hearing what she has to say, have exclaimed with a tone of remorse, “I Wish I Knew That in First Year!”

Hence, Lisa Peden chose to share solutions to some of the most common mishaps she has heard of over the years. Today, I share a few with you:

  1. It is OKAY to drop a course! Dropping a course is not the same as failing a course. As long as you have above 4 credits and meet the prerequisites for your program, you’re all set. If a course is unnecessarily killing your time, and causing you to defocus from other important courses, log in to ACORN, and click on “Remove Course”. It’s as simple as that.
  1. If you really like a course, but worry that it may bring down your GPA, try making it a Credit/No Credit course. You are still enrolled in the course, and it counts for your degree credits and distribution requirements, but not as prerequisites for courses you plan on taking later. USE UP your credit/no credit courses the first year, you get 2 whole credits!
  1. Marks are ALWAYS worse in first year, than they are in second year. Don’t give up! Don’t worry about fulfilling distribution requirements in first year. GET into your program first.
  1. Use the UTM Timetable Planner (https://student.utm.utoronto.ca/timetable/) when selecting courses for the upcoming years. You can view past course outlines (located under the UTM logo at the top),  to ensure that midterms, tests, and exams, do not clash frequently between your selected courses. Also, it gives you an in-depth perspective within the course so you’re not surprised by the material.
  1. Declare your subject POSt as early as possible. Once you get in, you can register right away and get the first pick at course timings!

Those were some heavy tips on strategic planning, on macro-managing if you will. But you may ask-Mahika, what about the daily tasks? Things that bother me, or I have to struggle with every day? I got you covered. Come by next Monday for day-to-day techniques on surviving @ UTM   🙂

Oh and remember, continue to Take Chances, and Say Hi! (Let’s skip mistakes shall we?)

PS- Thank You Lisa Peden for the extremely helpful presentation!


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