Career

Planning to Make the Most Out of U of T

A picture of a notepad and pen with crumples balls of paper

My essay writing process. Photo via Pixbay

When I first came to U of T, I had a plan to get the most out of my tuition. I was going to attend every class, join a bunch of clubs, use resources like the Writing Centre and the Career Centre, and go to every single event with free food and/or therapy puppies.

I strongly believed in making the most out of U of T while I was here, which meant making the most out of my education, while also working on my personal and professional growth.

But as the months went on, I slowly started drowning in coursework, readings, and co-curricular activities, and I found that I didn’t have a lot of time for using U of T resources or going to events.

After reflecting on my not-so-great record for taking advantage of U of T resources, I decided to be more intentional and strategic about my activities for the remainder of the year. As a first step, I recently made time to visit the Writing Centre for the first time.

I think university is equally about receiving an education, and equally about improving your skills and preparing yourself for your future career. For me, meeting with a writing instructor from the Writing Centre was not just an opportunity to improve my academic writing, but also an opportunity to learn new writing techniques, and learn from my mistakes, to hopefully better myself as a writer outside of school.

I planned to go to the Writing Centre well in advance so that I could schedule it into my (fairly busy) day. If I hadn’t booked my appointment in advance, I probably would have completely forgotten to go. And by the time I did remember, either my schedule or the Writing Centre’s schedule would be completely booked.

As for the experience itself, I did find the Writing Centre helpful. While a lot of my mistakes were easy fixes (aka embarrassing typos), I also learned a couple of technical tips. The writer instructor I met with was very welcoming and non-judgmental, and gave specific advice about my essay. I can’t say yet if the advice actually improved my essay mark, but the tips I learned will definitely help me with future essays as well.

In general, the instructors of the Writing Centre help you “develop your ability to plan, organize, write, and revise academic papers in any subject,” and provide you with the permanent skills to plan, write, and edit your essays. However, one obvious downfall of the Writing Centre process is that the instructors haven’t read your textbooks or your readings, so they can’t critique your factual accuracy. However, I was more interested in hearing technical advice, rather than receiving just a proofread, so this wasn’t too detrimental.

Going to the Writing Centre, and writing about my experience for my blog, rejuvenated my first year optimism; I’ll (only) be at U of T for two more years, so I might as well make the most of it. But this time around, I’ll make sure to plan for it.