Ever since high school, I had this idea of university being a fun experience where you get to make many friends and only do the courses you absolutely love. I had this idea of having an amazing social life, venturing out to try new experiences and being independent.
In my first yer at university, I had to go through POSt at UofT for the Computer Science program. This meant that I had to work really hard on my academics. I was also commuting during my first year so I barely had time to participate in any clubs or on-campus events. Towards the end of my first year everything started to shut down because of Covid-19.
The second year of university went by in lockdown. Now in my third year, I have really started exploring the campus and different clubs. I have also started to focus on enjoying my university experience along with studying and academics. Since my fourth year is approaching, I decided to plan things out the best I can so that I can make the most out of my last year.
First I used the Degree Explorer to determine how many credits I need to complete until I graduate and which courses are left to finish my program requirements. This really helped me visualize what my next academic terms are going to look like. I realized that I would need an extra 6 months to graduate. At first, I felt really bad about this but then I tried to have a positive attitude towards my degree taking a few months longer. It is not ABNORMAL or BAD to finish your degree in more than 4 years. In fact, it might even help to take things slow as it can help in figuring out your next steps. You could always use this extra time to cater to what you need out of your university experience or what happens after you graduate.
I always had a misconception that companies and graduate schools cared about how long you took to graduate. This always added to my guilt of not being able to take a full course load in all of my semesters. Upon attending workshops with grads and discussing this with them, I realized that that is completely untrue.
While exploring campus, I found so many buildings or libraries that I was missing out on. I also started exploring things around campus such as cafes, restaurants. I found out about academic resources such as the writing centre, Academic Success events and much more.(All the events are listed on CLNx for registration!)
I strongly believe that the key to finding balance between a social life and academics at university is to take things at your pace. Taking breaks and accessing all the clubs and social opportunities on campus is not something I will regret. I realized that wasting my break time scrolling through my phone (instead of thinking about or using all these resources) has got to be one of the worst decisions I have made!