This week at Life @ U of T we will be trying something new! All posts this week will be dedicated to providing you with a diverse set of perspectives on U of T’s college system and the significance or lack thereof of colleges at U of T. As a prelude to our posts, check out past blogger Cynthia’s insightful coverage of the college system.
A question most incoming first-years ask is “what college should I choose?” Not going to lie, I asked that too. All I knew was that Victoria College was a castle and New College, well wasn’t. But that’s just superficial, confused and uninformed Grade 12 me talking. Fourth year me, as a commuter, is very indifferent about the college system. As long as I have access to a writing centre I am a happy camper.
I started U of T as a student at New College. I spent most of my first year at their AMAZING writing centre and other than that really didn’t have much interaction with my college after an extremely awkward frosh. From first year to third year, I lived off-campus – close enough to not stress about commuting, yet still far enough to feel disconnected from college community. I just didn’t feel comfortable with randomly showing up to a college event to make new friends.
As a socially awkward penguin, I don’t really enjoy being rushed into a foreign environment with a ton of strange faces and no familiarity. Socialization, for me , is best taken in small doses—baby steps. As a non-resident student I always felt left out from college life. I knew about events happening through their listservs and was aware of the resources provided by them, but just didn’t take the initiative to get connected with my college community. Remember this is just my story. Colleges have extremely welcoming and fun events for commuters and your experience with your college will be shaped by the initiative you take and the people you meet. I think Victoria College is doing an especially great job at connecting and engaging commuters.
In end of second year, I switched to Trinity College because my POSt – Ethics, Society and Law – is based there and random treks to New College just for a writing centre appointment were getting really frustrating. Yes you can change colleges (contact the registrar of your desired college and ask them about the transfer application process before the end of the school year). Most of my classes, office hours and activity are located at Trinity. The funny thing about this is the day I got into Trinity, I got offered a scholarship from New College. AWKWARD.
I continue to frequent the writing centre on a bi-weekly basis but still have no connection to college life itself. Maybe I’m not part of the right communication channels because I was a latecomer? I also have no clue about student life at Trinity. I just enjoy the complimentary meals at Strachan. But I do appreciate the support and community Trinity has provided me through my one-of-a-kind subject post. I’ve found a community at Trinity, but not through the traditional college student life channels, but rather through my program of study.
But I must say that getting to know my college more is definitely on my graduation bucket list.
I guess my experience goes to show that the college you are assigned is not really a major gamechanger in university. They all have equally amazing resources, student unions and communities. They also all have super helpful writing centres—free of charge! Stay tuned for Vahini, Abdullah and Crystal’s perspective on college life!