Balance, Classes, Connections, General, People, Places, Profs, Student Life

Reflecting on #JoyatUofT

Happy Reading Week, U of T! When considering what my #JoyatUofT is, I had a hard time coming up with just one thing. As U of T is such a large, diverse campus with so many resources, activities, and classes, it’s difficult to pinpoint a single thing that I love about U of T. #JoyatUofT is a campaign to encourage students to reflect on what brings them the most joy at U of T (and you can win a coffee gift card, if you use the hashtag)!

Picture of the word "Joy" and the hashtag #JoyatUofT

What’s your #JoyatUofT? (Source: studentlife.utoronto.ca)

Besides the many, typical great things about U of T (free food on campus, great location, lovely architecture…I could go on and on), what brings me the most joy is the great professors, teaching assistants, and instructors I’ve had over the years. From the moment I stepped on campus until now, every single professor I’ve had has made a point to strengthen and develop my skills, engage in my learning, and be the most available that they can possibly be.

I’ve learned my greatest lessons in some of U of T’s lecture halls. From the professor on my first day of classes that said, “Hello. Welcome to your first year at U of T. It’s going to be a long and exciting journey, so let’s get started,” to the teaching assistant that reassured me that I could write and could do it well, I’ve felt the most joy from having an awesome teaching support system.

One of the best professor stories that brought me the most joy happened last term, when my professor made a point to memorize all seventy students names, even the ones who rarely spoke up. Through that dedication and enthusiasm, I truly became aware of how great it is to have professors who are willing to engage, and make their students feel welcome.

Picture of 50 Ways to Take a Break card

I’ve been encouraged by my profs to take regular breaks, so I found this card to be really helpful!

As I mentioned in a post earlier in the year, I used to be scared of my teachers and professors. But that all changed when I began to see that they were just people, not scary figures that intimidate a classroom. The reason I bring this up is because I encourage you to reflect on the term so far. As it is Reading Week, we’re officially at the halfway point until Summer vacation. (Can you believe it?) Personally, I’ve tried to make it a goal to engage with my professors, whether if it’s through classroom discussion, email, or office hours. I haven’t always been successful, but now that I’m reflecting on it, I can see that I can always make improvements.

Now that my midterms are over (until classes resume and I have lots of assignments due), I think Reading Week is the best time to reflect on if you’ve accomplished what you set out to do. I’ve made it a priority to ask for help when I need to, and it’s been difficult for me to do so in the past. I constantly had an inner monologue of: “What if my question is useless? I don’t understand what’s going on, but I’m too scared to raise my hand and ask.” But my real #JoyatUofT has been to break free of those fears and develop who I am as a person. My #JoyatUofT has been the wonderful professors, teaching assistants, and instructors who have supported me throughout my journey.