Two subway seats on a TTC train at St. George station. Chihiro and No-Face from the movie Spirited Away sit waiting for their stop.

Once upon a U of T…

Raise your hand if you chose your college during university applications based on how it looked. No? Just me?

Even if you were more thoughtful than I in that decision-making process, I think that we can all agree that our campus is a breathtaking place. Everywhere you turn, there is another Instagram-worthy moment to capture. Since founded in 1827, the St. George campus now contains an eclectic mix of architecture: often we see grand castles lined with ivy juxtaposed beside more modern buildings made entirely out of glass. Even now as I enter my fourth year, I still discover gorgeous parts of campus that I never knew existed. I've compiled a short list of some of my favourite and most frequented areas on campus. I took some photos and edited them to make them a little more 'storybook.' Try not to look too closely because I am not what you call "good" at Photoshop. Two subway seats on a TTC train at St. George station. Chihiro and No-Face from the movie Spirited Away sit waiting for their stop. This is technically not an area on campus, nor is it particularly scenic. But as a commuter, St. George Station is the first thing I see before getting to school. You can say that after leaving this station, I am "Spirited Away" to a whole new place. The bamboo trees and shrubs in the Donnelly Centre. Rafiki from The Lion King sits on the wooden floor, meditating outside his natural African habitat. Being a Life Sciences student, many of my classes reside in the Medical Sciences building, adjoined to the Donnelly Centre. There is a cute bamboo garden that makes for a breath of fresh air in a building of sterile labs and glass. I like to sit here before classes with a coffee and have a quiet moment. An old bookshelf in the Thomas Fisher Library. An image of Belle from Beauty and the Beast has been imposed on top. She is on a ladder looking through the books. The Thomas Fisher Library is like the infamous Robarts Library's older and wiser grandfather. Sometimes when I come to Robarts to study, I pop in here to see what exhibits are on. Just being around all those huge, beautifully bound books makes you feel smarter before you endure four hours of cramming in the #TurkeyLibrary. The Garden of Peace and Understanding (cheesiest title ever). Disney Mulan is sitting on a bench looking like she is in the middle of peace and understanding. When Robarts gets a little, you know, prison-like, I go to EJ Pratt Library over at Victoria College. Right beside Pratt is this garden that definitely lives up to its name. It's a perfect place for contemplation and "Reflection."  The Simpson Family have left their iconic sofa in favour of the sinfully comfy ones in the JCR. Tired of studying and need a nap? The couches in the JCR at University College are literally PERFECT. The Knox College staircase. An image of Cinderella was imposed over it, in the movie scene where she leaves the ball and her shoe behind. Knox is a postgraduate college so there is really no reason for me to be there. Still, I can never resist passing through it. Well, more like rushing through it - I use it as a scenic shortcut onto St. George Street, because like Cinderella, I am usually late and usually hurrying home to do my chores homework. The arched corridor in the UC quad. Cartoon Harry Potter is flying under an arch trying to catch the Snitch. Last but not least, how can I attempt a list of U of T architecture without referencing Harry Potter? As a member of UC, the building and quad are probably the closest thing I'm going to get to Hogwarts. And although I'm not learning cool spells in Charms class, U of T is still a pretty magical place. What are some of your favourite scenic views on campus? How much did you cringe at my attempts to reference the movie within each picture? Leave me a comment or send us a shout-out on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram!

4 comments on “Once upon a U of T…

  1. Hi Nancy,
    So I recently went to the orientation program at Innis college, I really liked going there and meeting new people and learning alot by choosing courses. Going there I found the upper year students extremely helpful and fun to get along with but my question is i dont really know anybody from there in my college and i noticed some students already made some friends. Is this the only time along with frosh week to make your friends and how do you get out of your comfort zone and strike a conversation with anyone when you think they may have already made friends?
    Thank you

    1. Hi Qurat!
      It’s always intimidating stepping into an environment where you don’t know anyone and feel like everyone else has already established friends. But your outgoing attitude and involvement in school events before school has even started tells me that you won’t have any issues making friends!

      The Innis academic orientations are definitely not the only way you can meet new people and make friends. For me, participating in frosh week was a nice boost before school started – it made me feel more comfortable about coming to UofT and making sure I knew at least one other person here! I was even a frosh leader in upper years so I got to meet new students and make new friends. If frosh isn’t your thing, there are other opportunities as well. If you’re living on res, you’ll for sure become very close with your housemates. If you’re a commuter, the ICSS commuter lounge is also a good place to hang out and bond with fellow Innis commuters.

      Also, don’t restrict yourself to your college! Joining student groups/clubs/teams on campus are a great way to get out of your comfort zone and meet people who share similar interests with you. Classes are an easy way to make friends too; you’ll already have conversation topics i.e. how boring your lecture is or how behind you are on your readings (a topic that is always relevant, in my humble opinion).

      Don’t get discouraged just because you think everyone else is busy with an already-established group of friends. You may feel awkward or that people aren’t willing to just meet random strangers and become instant friends, but I guarantee you many other students feel the exact same way too. As cheesy as it sounds, just getting yourself out there and being friendly and respectful will always pay off! Just give it time and eventually you’ll find yourself getting along fine. If you see me on campus, I’m totally a friend!! Come say hi! 🙂

  2. Hi Nancy,
    I read some of your posts and i think they are amazzing! they were so detailed and so helpful thank you for that. Nancy i will be going to U of T this september and i am the first in my family to go to Uni, do you think it would be possible for you to send me your first year schedule:) It would be so helpful to just to get an idea. BTW i am going to life sciences.
    Thank You,

    1. Hello Qasim,

      How exciting! Congrats on your acceptance!! *party streamers emoji*

      Detailed info and instructions about your course selection process as a newly accepted student in A&S can be found here:

      All life sci students pretty much take the same courses in first year. They’re pre-requisites for upper year courses. I took:
      CHM138/139 (Organic and Physical Chemistry, respectively)
      MAT135/136 (Intro to Calculus)
      PHY131/132 (Physics)
      BIO120 (You will also need BIO130, but I didn’t take this because I had a transfer credit from high school)
      Please note that there are also equivalent full-year courses to the above that you can take; this is just a matter of personal choice and preference.
      PSY100 (Intro to Psychology; took it as an elective)
      IMM250 (Immunity and Infection; required for my immunology minor)

      Keep your breadth requirements in mind as you plan out your schedule as well!

      I like to use because it lays out your courses and you can see if there are time conflicts.

      Any other questions about course selection can be directed to your college registrar. Just send them an email or call them! They’re very knowledgeable about these types of issues. Good luck!

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