When I first started undergrad at U of T’s downtown campus, I never thought there could be a day when I’d have to commute all the way to the Scarborough campus (UTSC) for, well, anything. School is stressful enough as it is–who needs the additional burden of having to be acquainted with a second campus when the first is already too much to handle?
But halfway throughout this past fall semester, I finally realized what I should be doing after undergrad, and for the first time since high school, I was committed enough to one definite goal that nothing was going to stop me from reaching it, not even the graduate school admission requirement of a course in introductory statistics. After a few days’ despair (St. George does not offer any Level I Statistics course in the Winter semester), I discovered the one and only alternative that would give me the credit by May–taking Statistics twice a week at U of T Scarborough campus.
So I am now officially a Commuter. Despite the tedious weekly schedule and incessant traveling this title entails, I’m actually rather proud of this tiny leveling up of statuses. In addition to an increased privilege to complain about my terribly difficult life via Facebook status updates, I have also gained the benefit of Strictly-for-Napping hours on the TTC that could also be used for completing last-minute readings, provided that the ride doesn’t make me too nauseous.
Below is some stuff I’ve learned that should some of you find yourself in my position–God bless your soul–you might find helpful. Huzzah!
1. How to get to U of T Scarborough (UTSC) from St. George (downtown) campus:
Obviously, there are many ways to go about doing this. The existence of a “UTSC-St. George Shuttle Bus” is one highly contested topic–I have personally never witnessed such a ghostly thing in my entire academic career. So here is what I do: I take the subway along the Bloor-Danforth line east-bound until the last station, Kennedy, where I switch to the 116 bus that drops me within steps of the UTSC campus (for campus map click here). Before noon on weekdays, the 116E bus travels directly from Kennedy Station to UTSC campus, making at most two to three stops in between. This is by far the fastest way, except the 116E bus is rather elusive and difficult to catch. The 116/116A bus is only slower by about 15 minutes. It might take a bit longer if you are caught during high school traffic hours: so far I’ve only encountered the after-school human traffic, at which time the bus is so densely packed with high school kids that getting off the bus becomes an impossible task. The whole process takes about an hour and a half, give or take. It really depends on how frequently the bus makes its stop.
2. When in doubt, follow the blue arrows (or just ask):
I don’t understand how people can find St. George campus confusing. Maybe it’s because I’ve been here for almost four years now and can sleep-walk my way through most of the campus, but I really do feel like the campus has a very simple structure. You basically need to know a couple main roads that cross each other at perpendicular angles, remember a few defining structures (like Robarts) and all buildings have rectangular blue signs in front of them detailing the exact building name and address. Scarborough campus isn’t quite like this. It’s not even as big, but still so confusing since everything–buildings, sidewalks/paths, basements–seems to be somehow connected. And there are wings, a terrifying term that essentially implies “Good luck not getting lost”.
The good thing is, whenever you are at an intersection or a place where several paths converge, there are blue road signs telling you which street is which, and which building is in which direction. If this still doesn’t help, just ask–Scarborough students are very approachable (A big “Thank you” to everyone who was kind enough to help me find my way who I also advertised this blog to).
3. One Registrar to rule them all, one Registrar to find them, one Registrar to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In case you didn’t get the idea from my awesome LOTR parody, there is only one Office of the Registrar. This is terrific news, because it basically makes it impossible for the school administration to transfer responsibilities to some other administrative office that you’ll have to find time in your busy schedule to visit. Here is its contact information. If you need to speak to someone over the phone, don’t worry if the other end is initially a series of automated messages. Just listen to the options presented to you, punch the right key, and I promise you’ll get to speak with someone very soon. Keep in mind that if you are actually registered at the St. George campus, you’ll have to go to your own college registrar for administrative issues (e.g., manually adding a course).
4. Variations of a theme
Much to my dismay, UTSC, unlike the St. George campus, operates on a slightly different schedule. For example:
- Term test dates might not actually be set by the time you have your first lecture for a course
- Term tests might actually take place on Saturdays
- There are actually tutorials from 9-10pm at night (I know because I am enrolled in one. No joke.)
- Course enrollment on ROSI ends at a slightly later date than it does for St. George students (differs about a week). So if you are a St. George student enrolled in an UTSC course and need to add a tutorial, for example, you may have trouble doing this on ROSI. In this case, consult your own college registrar, and they’ll have it done for you in a snap.
- Course code deciphering: Have you ever wondered what’s the significance of the “H1” and “Y1” in our course codes (e.g. BIO150Y1, CHM138H1)? Well, it turns out, each of the three U of T campuses employs a different H/Y code: all St. George campus courses end in “1” (CHM247H1), all UTSC courses end in “3” (e.g. STAB22H3), and all UTM courses end in “5” (e.g. BIO206H5). Therefore, by simply looking at the last number of a course code, you can tell which campus this course is offered from.
5. Beautiful residences; same old furniture.
One of my new UTSC friends had taken the liberty to show me around the places of residence at UTSC, and they are gorgeous! Many of them are rows of townhouses along these small, serene paths, which is a huge contrast from the noise and traffic of downtown Toronto (instead of townhouses, we have lots of Harry Potter-styled dorms). From the outside, the facilities look quite new, and the residence-provided furniture look almost exactly the same as the ones students get in the downtown campus! There is a building reminiscent of Innis residence, except the windows are much larger.
And that’s it for now, guys! I will be updating this post as the semester goes by as I discover more notable differences between the two campuses. But for now, I hope you find this post helpful. Take care, have a great semester, and study hard!
–Lucy the Commuter (YEAH!)