Throughout my time here, one of the very first things people ask you – also a common ice breaker during frosh week – is what you’re studying, as there are more than a few things out there to major, minor, or specialize in. And with it being ROSI season and all, I decided to take another peek at the calendar, and realized that there were even more options out there.
Within fifteen minutes there were at least three programs I couldn’t stop thinking about, and I was on the verge of an instant-love-at-first-academic-sight that only a U of T student would understand.
I know that first and second year course selections are on the horizon, and I thought I would dedicate this entry to everything I wish I could have taken but didn’t realize sooner.
Diaspora & Transnationalism Studies
Diaspora and Transnationalism Studies, is an interdisciplinary program started in 2005, that draws on both social sciences and humanities (artsci’s rejoice!), and is my current first love (sorry History, it’s a close second). And it is my favorite major by far because of the amount of flexibility it offers, not to mention U of T is the only place that offers it in Canada! Involving several departments such as Political Science, Religion, Geography, (and much more!) alongside core DTS classes, this degree will never feel vanilla. Did I mention the Centre for DTS hosts awesome events such as conferences on Diasporic Diners?
Book and Media Studies
Because it’s not like the media (or books) are a huge part of our world right? Ha! And I don’t mean stories based on vampire fan fiction –I hope no one is turning 50 shades of red right now by realizing what I’m referring to – but this degree offers so much more. Book & Media Studies looks back in time and analyzes the roles of both within history. Not to mention, the SMC Print Room is practically a Dave Hester heaven with its collection of related antique memorabilia.
And for one of my personal favorites –and by favorites I really just mean how I stared longingly at the course calendar when I realized this was a real thing and then angrily shook my fist at the U of T skies for not taking this from the start- is Victoria College’s minor in Material Culture! Calling all ROM-ies (Tuesdays always make up for the doom of Mondays), this one is for you. The best part is how this program relates to other programs including Renaissance Studies, History and Near & Middle Eastern Studies (on a side note: check out the groupings of courses you can study with NMC, right down to the details of Egyptology!)
One Programs are one of my biggest regrets of things I wish I had done in first year, and are a great way to dive right into what interests you. The programs and their streams vary by what each college offers, and vary from Trinity College’s International Relations or Ethics, Law and Society programs to University College’s Engaging Toronto. Small classrooms and big discussions are the perfect way to integrate into first year and the wider university community. The best thing about the one programs is that they still leave plenty of room for taking other classes on campus, so you most certainly can still experience taking a ____101 in Con Hall and get your Mean Girls on.
Ultimately what looks like a trap of a big university, is actually anything but. While it seems obvious that a school as large as ours would mean more opportunities, more specialties and more diversity, this is often forgotten. The biggest challenge after this however, is deciding to study something that sounds a little out of the ordinary – and thats perfectly okay.
Sometimes, we’re all a little too focused on what comes after the end-game, right down to the vacation villas we dream about, and completely overlook where we are now. Do you like the subject? Are you passionate about it? Is it available? (In most cases, as you can see, it probably is!) Sometimes, that’s all you need for the end-game to find you in four years. To everyone who has ever had to explain their unique sounding major to perplexed facial expressions, here’s to you!
What are some of the most interesting classes you’ve taken, or hope to take?