The Varsity Student Handbook 2016

Page 1

U of T

e h T Varsity t n e d u St Handbook 2016 in

tshell u n a


21 Sussex Avenue, Suite 306 Toronto ON M5S 1J6 416-946-7600

MASTHEAD Alex McKeen Editor-in-Chief

Jacob Lorinc Managing Online Editor

Jaren Kerr Managing Editor Mubashir Baweja Creative Director

Ariel Gomes Senior Copy Editor

Tom Yun News Editor

Teodora Pasca Comment Editor Rachel Chen Features Editor Lisa Power Arts & Culture Editor Shaan Bhambra Science Editor

Vanessa Wang Design Editor

Shaq Hosein Video Editor Isaac Seah and Tony Lee Web Developers

apable ou are inc y t a h t u .” o e tell s y here to go w m e h t “If someon ll te all, kindly — Teodora of doing it

“Do your readin gs more often, sometime.” — Shaq

Elham Numan Illustration Editor

“Don’t be afra id to change your major.” — Jaren

Sean Smith Sports Editor

Nathan Chan Photo Editor

Advice from The Varsity

get good marks like “You can’t slack of f and you did in high school.” — Tom

Copy Editors Alexandra Grieve, Brock Edwards, Caroline Bocknek, Darya Kuznetsova, Emma Lawrence, Nyima Gyalmo Designers Danielle Meade, Joshua Ugiomoh, Vasileia Al Akaila

“Don’t trust th e Coca-Cola ve nding machine in Sid Smith; it only dispenses soda when it really feel s like it.” — Ariel

always for help and sk a to id a fr a rces.” “Don’t be cite your sou — Lisa

Letter from the Editor You finally made it. After years of mythologizing in your head, of envisioning the independence, the parties, and the new friends — your university years have arrived. During frosh week, I remember expecting to feel homesick. Instead, I introduced myself to everybody and wandered the city late at night for the first time. Everything was exciting and new, until my phone broke right before my first toga party. I was suddenly alone in a different country from home. How do you ‘adult?’ How do you deal when suddenly you’re supposed to be the adult? How do you manage when you no longer have the same support system guiding you? Enjoy these limbo years between childhood and adulthood — do everything (page 24). Make both good and bad choices and have no regrets. Challenge everything you have ever believed in but also prepare to defend those beliefs like never before. Learn to care for yourself, whether that means figuring out how to fix a broken heart or

a broken phone. Find out what you love and get so involved (page 14) that you finally realize the full extent of your strengths and capabilities; you are stronger than you think. From an overview of campus sports teams (page 19) to a more honest map of all three campuses (page 12), I hope this handbook gives you a good starting point for exploring all the possibilities of your new home. Drown out the upper years’ rumours (page 10) but take their advice on handling this first year (page 17). Do not let commuting (page 21) or anything else deter your involvement and stay connected to what is going on around you (page 9). Explore what your city has to offer (pages 4–7) and squeeze out all you can from your undergraduate years because they go by fast. Keep learning about your studies, about the ‘real world,’ and about yourself. Before you know it, you will become a ‘newer’ you. You might have no idea what you’re doing with your life, but for now, you are here. — Rachel Chen Magazine Editor

Contents 02

Advice from The Varsity


Exploring campus cultures


Letter from the Editor


How to survive first-year Life Sciences


A day in the life at UTSG


In the scientific 6ix


A day in the life at UTSC


Campus athletic facilities


A day in the life at UTM


Teams to look out for


Names to know


Backpack essentials


Top news stories


Commuter survival guide


Does U of T live up to its reputation?


Class of 2020 bucket list


Discover U of T


Campus contacts


Everything is art

10:00 AM

A day in the life at

UTSG Robarts Library was the prison in Resident Evil : Afterlife (2010). MASHAL KHAN/THE VARSITY

CHERYL QUAN Since your first time setting foot on this campus, I’ll bet the question, “How will I ever familiarize myself with this place?!” has run through your mind at least one hundred times. A campus as big as UTSG may seem intimidating, but it is also yours to explore with an amazing variety of libraries, study spots, and social spaces. If you’re curious, or not sure where to start, here is one way to make the most out of your day.

11:00 AM

8:30 am: The 9:00 am lecture that I dread every week looms. Before it starts, I can always count on Café Reznikoff to fuel my system with a bit — or a lot — of coffee. Located in Morrison Hall at 75 St. George Street, Reznikoff is always my go-to place for a quick sandwich or a bag of M&Ms and sour keys — especially when my next class is close by at UC or Con Hall. 10:00 am: After class and before lunch, I usually like to get in some studying. I may be a bit biased as a proud New College student, but I believe Ivey Library is one of the best libraries at UTSG. It has a bright, sunlit working area and a convenient computer lab. Unlike Robarts Library, you rarely have to worry about not being able to find a place to sit, and Ivey is never too loud or deafeningly quiet. 11:00 am: Some days, when I feel like I’d much rather be studying witchcraft and wizardry at Hogwarts, I like to visit University College. Unfortunately, I’ll be frantically writing a COG250 essay instead of memorizing cool spells, but at least UC’s beautiful quad and fresh air will put me at ease. Just a minute away, Hart House is also one of UTSG’s more notable buildings. The Map Room, the Quad, and the Arbor Room are just a few places I love to visit in my spare time.

University College was the first college at U of T. MASHAL KHAN/THE VARSITY


Student Handbook 2016

2:00 PM 12:30 pm: If you are a fan of ramen, I suggest checking out Ryu’s Noodle Bar, which is just five minutes from the Exam Centre. I recommend the Spicy Miso ramen, which has ‘mild’ to ‘super hot’ options. My dining experience is always pleasant there and I find myself going back pretty often — and not just because you get a free ramen after your fifteenth visit. 2:00 pm: I also love to study in the Bahen Centre for Information Technology. The modern interior of the centre designed for computer science, computer engineering, and IT research is inspiring; it’s definitely somewhere you can spend hours focused on your work. Bahen is open 24/7 for computer science and engineering students. NATHAN CHAN/THE VARSITY

4:30 pm: The Cat’s Eye Lounge located in Victoria College is undoubtedly a comfortable place to hang out. I have been to many open mic events here and without fail, the Cat’s Eye always provides a relaxing, inclusive atmosphere. On the other side of campus, inside the Terrence Donnelly Centre, is a beautiful bamboo garden that I like to visit regularly. The architecture is undeniably beautiful and the bamboo garden is a great place to hang out, take your mind off of academic stress, and relax for a bit.

4:30 PM

7:00 pm: For dinner, I find myself heading to the Howard Ferguson Dining Hall quite often, as the food there is delicious, wellprepared, and affordable. Like Reznikoff, it’s also part of University College and conveniently located on St. George Street.

The Terrence Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research. NATHAN CHAN/THE VARSITY

3:00 AM 3:00 am: As a night owl, my favourite thing about Smoke’s Poutinerie is how late they’re open — until about 4:00 am! Also, their poutine is always delicious and made with fresh, hand-cut fries. Smoke’s has several locations downtown, with the 455 Spadina Avenue being the closest one to campus. I recommend my favourite dish: the Smoked Meat Peppercorn Poutine. If you’re not a meat-eater, Smoke’s also offers vegetarian options, such as the Rainbow Poutine or the Veggie Deluxe. Canadian food for a Canadian education. RACHEL CHEN/THE VARSITY



A day in the life at

UTSC is relatively small in comparison to UTSG and UTM, which is why navigating through it is much easier. More than anything, we value a positive community and campus experience, so look around, make friends, and join a club to get the full UTSC experience.



10:00 AM

8:30 am: Most morning classes start around 9:00 am, so before lecture, I usually swing by the Tim Hortons near the library to get my caffeine and donut fix for the day. If you are in the mood for something fancy, there is also a Starbucks at the Meeting Place. 10:00 am: Take advantage of time between classes. If you need an absolutely quiet, I-havea-test-tomorrow study session, your best bets are the silent study rooms or study carousels located upstairs in the UTSC library. For group studying, bring your friends to the study spaces near the AC223 lecture hall or the tables in the Humanities Wing.

The Humanities Wing and the Science Wing make up the Andrews Building. KASSANDRA NERANJAN/THE VARSITY

2:00 pm: For those days when you forget your laptop, do not fret! Computer labs in the Bladen Wing (BV) will come in handy. Take the stairs up by the bookstore, and there is a helpful IT desk to answer all of your questions.

12:00 pm: Around this time, I am normally craving lunch. I usually go to the Market Place and grab a shawarma from Paramount. There are plenty of restaurants at the Student Centre, which is just across from the Arts & Administration building (AA). If you are like me and crave Popeyes all the time, there is one near the Pan Am.

5:00 pm: For a quiet place to chill with your friends, The Valley is a great spot. A trail located near the patio outside the Market Place will lead you there — Drake once showed up there to play kickball. 7:00 pm: Before you head home, Scarborough Town Centre (STC) is only a bus ride away. The mall includes a Cineplex where you can watch a movie at the end of a busy day. If you have school work to do though, you should probably skip this step and go home to study some more. The Market Place hosts a variety of restaurants. KASSANDRA NERANJAN/THE VARSITY


Student Handbook 2016

5:00 PM

A day in the life at

This campus is home to students from all walks of life. It’s large enough to host 13,000 students every year, but small enough for you to bump into everyone you know every day — each day becomes a different journey.



8:00 am: With two hours to spare before my morning class, I wander around the campus and wind up at the Nature Trail by Principal’s Road. Walking up towards The Principal’s House, I am struck by how picture-perfect the scenery looks. With insects and birds chirping cheerfully, I twirl in place with my head up and take in the peaceful setting. 10:00 am: I rush down the path back to civilization, into one of UTM’s biggest lecture halls, CC1080. Right before I enter the hall, I decide to grab a bite at the mini Tim Hortons. With a muffin in one hand and my laptop in the other, I walk into class. 12:00 pm: I stumble out of class with a growling stomach, walk to Deerfield Hall, and try North Side Bistro’s signature Caesar salad. Sitting on the couches near the café, I do some school work on my laptop.

10:00 AM

There is a prayer room on the second floor of CCT. ELHAM NUMAN/THE VARSITY

1:30 pm: I rent a bicycle for free at the UTM BikeShare, which is open from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm on weekdays. From there, I bike to Erindale Park, which is very close to campus.

12:45 pm: I decide to head to the Hazel McCallion Academic Learning Centre, better known as ‘The Library.’ My favorite spot is by the fireplace on the third floor, where I occasionally go after classes to flip through a novel.

7:30 PM

4:00 pm: My friends and I have a midterm coming up, so we book a study room in The Library. Here we can have discussions without bothering anyone or having anyone bother us. The Library offers charging kits for smartphones and some laptops, so staying there later than anticipated is never a problem. They also offer laptops that you can rent for a few hours. 7:30 pm: As I walk to my car in the parking lot, I stop to see a flock of geese crossing the road, with the cars politely stopping to let them pass. Nearby, I see a family of deer grazing through the grass, unfazed by the modern life surrounding them. This moment in nature reminds me why the campus has become home.

UTM actually has wildlife. ELHAM NUMAN/THE VARSITY



Names to know

Meet the newsmakers of U of T


MERIC GERTLER: President An urban theorist who has conducted authoritative research on cities and urban geography, Gertler is the sixteenth president of the University of Toronto. He is responsible for overseeing the university’s operations. Prior to his appointment in 2013, Gertler served as Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Science.











CHERYL REGEHR: Vice-President and Provost Regehr oversees the university budget, as well as academic priorities. She previously served as the university’s Vice-Provost, academic and as Dean of the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work. Regehr’s extensive professional and academic background is in forensic social work and mental health programs.


SANDY WELSH: Vice-Provost, students Welsh is responsible for supervising programs, services, and policies relevant to students and student groups. This includes enrolment, financial aid, international student services, and programs and services at Student Life. Welsh has previously held numerous administrative roles in the Faculty of Arts & Science and in the Department of Sociology.











JASMINE WONG DENIKE: President, UTSU Denike previously served as vice-president, external of the University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) for the 2015–2016 year. During the election cycle, Denike pledged to make the union’s operations more accessible to students. The UTSU represents and collects fees from all full-time undergraduate students at UTSG and UTM. NA









Student Handbook 2016


JESSICA KIRK: President, SCSU Kirk served as vice-president, equity of the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union (SCSU) last year after being the only independent candidate to have won in the election. She has prioritized community involvement and engagement for students.


NOUR ALIDEEB: President, UTMSU Alideeb was previously the University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union’s (UTMSU) vice-president, university affairs. Alideeb ran on a platform that included supporting ethical divestment, creating nap spaces on campus, and combatting tuition and fee increases.

Top news stories

Lawsuits, redesigns, taxes, transit

TOM YUN UTSU LAWSUIT The University of Toronto Students’ Union (UTSU) launched a lawsuit against former Executive Director Sandy Hudson in October 2015. The union alleges Hudson deliberately destroyed confidential information and was improperly issued $247,726.40 severance pay — about 10 per cent of the UTSU budget. The union is suing Hudson for the alleged fraudulent money, plus $200,000 in damages. UTSU previously sued former President Yolen Bollo-Kamara and former Vice-President, internal & services, Cameron Wathey. The union has since reached settlements with both former executives. In December 2015, Hudson countersued the union for $300,000 in damages, claiming the union violated a non-disparagement and confidentiality agreement. UTSU has expressed a desire to reach a settlement; the legal dispute is still ongoing. CAMPUS REVITALIZATION The Landmark Committee at UTSG is redesigning the Front Campus area by: eliminating motorized traffic from King’s College Circle; replacing surface parking with underground parking; planting more trees; and realigning traffic at Hart House Circle. A final draft of the proposal is expected in September. The UTSC Master Plan was released in 2011 and includes: realigning Military Trail; adding more pedestrian-friendly green space; and constructing new buildings. Highland Hall is scheduled to open in spring 2018 and will house the Social Sciences departments and the registrant’s office. At UTM, the university is working on the second phase of the new North Building, which is set for completion in summer 2018. VICTORIA UNIVERSITY’S PROPERTY TAXES In April 2016, the City of Toronto Treasurer and Solicitor issued a staff report advising City Council to request provincial government changes to the Victoria University Act. Victoria University owns the land to several properties, including office buildings and a condominium under construction, which are leased out to private companies. Most universities are required to pay property taxes on non-university buildings; the Victoria University Act does not require this. Victoria University has been exempt from paying over $12 million in taxes from 131 Bloor Street West since 2009 and almost $3 million since 2013 from other properties. City Council has requested a meeting between the City Treasurer and the Victoria University administration; the findings will be brought back to the city’s Government Management Committee in November. TRANSIT DEVELOPMENTS In January, John Tory announced his plan to extend the under-construction Eglinton Crosstown Light Rapid Transit eastward to UTSC and to replace the Scarborough Rapid Transit with an extension of the BloorDanforth subway line to Scarborough Town Centre. Projected costs for the extensions increased after further analysis. In July, City Council voted to move forward with the project. In the west end, Brampton Transit is launching an express bus route from Brampton Gateway Terminal to UTM as part of a pilot project.

UTSU Board of Directors meeting. IRIS ROBIN/THE VARSITY

A public open house for the redesign was held in June. NATHAN CHAN/THE VARSITY

Old Vic is home to Caffiends, a student-run cafe. MALLIKA MAKKAR/THE VARSITY

Line 3 Scarborough Rapid Transit. ADAM E. MOREIRA/CC WIKIMEDIA



Does U of T live up to its reputation? Students weigh in on stress, status, and settling in

Students host a drag show during Winterfest. NATHAN CHAN/THE VARSITY

BOUNDLESS OPPORTUNITY — FOR THOSE WHO TAKE IT DARYNA KUTSYNA Fourth-year International Relations and History

Stretching across three large campuses, with enormous classes and a reputation for remarkably low grades, U of T definitely does not come across as a friendly place. The beginning of my time at U of T encompassed all those things: a seat in Con Hall, a sea of unsmiling faces around me, and a C+ on my first paper. Despite a stellar high school record, U of T felt impossible to crack. I had no idea how others around me were scoring As and participating in coveted research positions with professors and extracurriculars. For days after my first C+, my dream of law school felt more distant than ever. After that dreadful first semester, I gritted my teeth. I took the paper to my professor and waited in a lengthy office hour line to get feedback. I visited my college’s writing centre, and 10

Student Handbook 2016

U of T’s notoriety follows it around like an intoxicating perfume — or a noxious cloud of smoke. Undoubtedly, many students sought out this university for its reputation of academic excellence. After all, we have some of the most prestigious research facilities in North America, and we consistently make top spots in university rankings. Yet, U of T’s prestige also comes with a price: rumours of uncompromising academic rigour, evil TAs, and the infamous ‘bell curve’ only aggravate its reputation. Here, three students discuss their personal experiences in the hopes of debunking some of the ominous myths that surround this institution. Regardless of what you hear from anyone though, ensure that whatever path you choose to pursue is entirely your own.

made weekly appointments with my Trinity One professor. I made an effort to fit debate meetings and G20 research into my seemingly packed schedule, and I found the skills I was developing improved my academic performance. It felt difficult to admit that I needed help, but when I did reach out, help was most definitely there. By my second year, I was balancing a fulltime schedule with several extracurricular activities and starting my own campus club. I realized that, when I was willing to give U of T a chance instead of shrugging off my failures as an inevitable reality, opportunities truly were boundless. Furthermore, I realized that U of T’s support network went beyond academia. I was able to get my resume reviewed at the career centre, glean valuable career advice from faculty networking dinners, and meet some of my best friends in classes and clubs. U of T has been both a draconian institution that threatened my career ambitions and a home. I truly believe that it can be the latter for anyone who gives it a fair chance.



Second-year International Relations

Second-year CCIT

There can be a lot of silence at U of T. I do not say this simply because I spend a lot of time in and around our many libraries; it is something I notice in other moments. Groups of students gather outside class or prepare to jaywalk across Queen’s Park, but everyone seems to be staring either straight ahead or down at their phones. We are all here, but it is so quiet. It doesn’t need to be this way. The #uoftears reputation functions as a self-fulfilling prophecy. We are warned about how unfriendly people are, and as a result, we are unfriendly in return. It’s ironic how newfound independence can come with so much anxiety about making friends. Defying this reputation is mostly a matter of stepping outside your comfort zone, as cliché as that may sound. One of the best things about university, especially one as large as U of T, is the potential to be constantly surprised by the people you encounter and the experiences you gain. Any decision, from choosing a seat in a lecture hall to sneaking into an event for the free food, has the potential to introduce you to unexpected opportunities. If you are the kind of person whose default conversational topic is the weather, you might be worried about chatting with fellow students who are still, for all intents and purposes, strangers. Fear not: bonding with peers at U of T is relatively simple. Look for something to complain about, and you will never run out of things to say — welcome to adulthood. It is your first year and you can cry if you want to, but there is really no need for tears. It gets cold enough here in the True North without artificial distances, so we should work on warming up to each other. As a wise woman once said, “life’s what you make it, so let’s make it rock.”

The popular depiction of the University of Toronto rests solidly on the foundation that this institution is colder, harder, and therefore worthier than its contemporaries. Apprehension and anticipation saturate the mind of any U of T applicant who spent years romanticizing the way this institution ought to be. The school itself, however, is often misrepresented. Although these grand flourishes and firm proprieties exist and permeate every aspect of academia at the institution, U of T is much more than this small facet of the experience. Students may very well claim harsher conditions, a surplus of anxiety, and low GPAs. But they can also speak of outstanding extracurricular programs, impeccable recommendations, and high-grade equipment. There is no one way to attend U of T — there is no ‘right’ way. Every student at this school is composed of their own personal skills, goals, and expectations. When these three components meet on some equal ground, the student experience becomes fulfilling. When these components do not meet on equal ground, one might misunderstand the university as a cold and austere place. When I first came to U of T, I enrolled in a program that did not fit my skills, my goals, or my expectations. Over the years, I came to find a better place for myself at U of T, where I was able to utilize my abilities to achieve my objectives. Any university can seem cold and hollow and hopeless — but only if you let it. Students have an annual tri-campus snowball fight on front campus. NATHAN CHAN/THE VARSITY

“There is no one way to attend U of T — there is no ‘right’ way.”




Get in line AC BUILDING







Exam Hell


Where am I?

Internet Cafe THE VARSITY The nosiest people you will ever meet


A field of deer (no actually)


CCT NarcissiCCT







Bridge to nowhere (where a graduate degree gets you)

Discover U of T

SID SMITH HALL Concrete, asbestos & Marxists (AKA the 60s)










U OF T BOOK STORE Now ripping you off for less!

This here is Yorkville, ST. GEORGE SUBWAY

Simba. You must never go there shopping on a student budget.


Eggheads of OISE



Formerly home to great athletes and home to formerly great athletes

GARDINER MUSEUM Please don’t tear me down



Baristas and bookworms


LAW (Bay Street hopefuls)


Drake lived here

Emmanuel take the wheel

E.J. PRATT LIBRARY Looks better inside



Margaret Atwood’s favourite ‘turf’ UNIVERSITY COLLEGE



ST. MICHAEL’S Former old boys’ club


Ugliest building second runner-up UTSU MONEY




GERSTEIN KNOX Emperor Gertler’s quarters



SCANDAL FACTORY You’ll never see the sun

The Colosseum feat. adjunct profs

BANTING AND BEST MED SCI: built to keep applicants out

Norman Foster wuz here

Glass Box

ENGINEERING BUILDINGS: deodorant optional

U of T’s Empty


Everything is art le ic t r a is h t n e Ev LISA POWER

Who decides what constitutes art? This is a question humans have grappled with for centuries. Everything can be considered art; each paper you write and poutine you consume. Every night spent working on your assignments, slowly but surely, you are honing your craft. It is unfair to differentiate between biology and English, or math and theatre when it comes to artistic value. They all require passion, conceptualization, and dedication. Art is simply the mastering of a craft to the extent of inspiration.


Art is also found in snapshots of life. The art of the successful all-nighter. The art of the 90 per cent test score. The art of the school/social-life balance. It’s more than a picture on a page; it is a way of being. Strive to understand art and its prismatic, multifaceted nature. You practice art in everything you do, so take pride in that. Don’t hold yourself back by comparing your art to others, and you will succeed.

Exploring campus cultures U of T is not just an endless trudge from class to class LISA POWER U of T is known for its expansive environment, which can make people feel small and unimportant. But with over 450 student groups between the three campuses, there is not a shortage of areas for involvement. Before you know it, you will be seeing people you know all over the place. The best place to start is the ULife website, because it has an extensive list of the recognized student groups. Here are some categories to consider:

POLITICS Involvement with student politics and political interest clubs has many benefits. Not only can you help serve your peers, you also contribute to positive change. It serves as an opportunity to develop leadership skills – something lecture halls do not always teach. Examples: (s)he, Debate Club, Model United Nations HOBBY AND LEISURE Rank a list of everything you love from one to 10. There is likely a campus group relevant to each of your picks. While studying our respective program material, we tend to lose sight of the other activities we love. It is important to keep those forms of personal enrichment, and it is also the best way to meet like-minded people in such a large institution. Examples: Hart House Chess Club, Electronic Music Community, Beekeeping Education Enthusiast Society, Harry Potter Club LEADERSHIP Groups that focus on leadership development are invaluable, because it is not a skill you can develop on your own. Practice is key, which includes interacting with others, making connections, and building relationships — these experiences are at the heart of many campus groups. Example: college student councils, Black Ties, STRIVE, Greek Community

SOCIAL U of T has a reputation for being dull and dreary. Social groups add much needed relief from the everyday grind of lectures, labs, homework, and exams. Forming new friendships is also a great way to learn, explore, and shape your experience at U of T. Examples: LGBTOUT, Life Science Student Network, The U of T Commuter Club, Unhaltable Hackers COMMUNITY SERVICE There is more to life than studying and community service groups can help you find just that. Generosity, consideration, selflessness, and altruism help enrich your soul while you enrich your community. Examples: Best Buddies, Helping Hands, Supporting Grassroots Initiatives, Youth for Humanity WORK AND CAREER DEVELOPMENT Let’s not forget that university is a training ground for your future. Groups that specialize in professional career development can lend an advantage in today’s competitive job market. Build experience, network your way to the top, and it will be smoother sailing when you graduate. Examples: Pre-Law Society, Etiquette Club, Entrepreneurs Society, The Public Speaking Club



How to survive first-year Life Sciences WAN XIAN KOH

Advice from upper years

ARIANA TANG Second-year Life Sciences

ABIRAMY JEYAGARAN Fourth-year Molecular Biology Specialist

MARTA HANISZEWSKI Fourth-year Molecular Genetics and Microbiology Specialist

“Once you get a good group of friends to study with, it makes it easier. Everyone else is motivating you. You just have to find that group of friends that you can study with, that you feel comfortable with, that you can trust. I found my group with First Year Learning Communities.”

“Don’t go to class if you’re just going to sleep. It’s a waste of your time. Don’t waste your money on textbooks, go to short loan. Just be aware of deadlines and make sure that you’re studying, but don’t beat yourself up because it’s a new experience and you’re going to have hurdles. But that’s okay, that’s part of the learning process.”

JESSE LI Fourth-year Neuroscience and Physiology Double Major

SOOMIN MAENG Third-year Immunology and Physiology Double Major

SEAN IHN Third-year Biochemistry Specialist and Neuroscience Major

“Time management is something you will learn throughout first year. A lot of the profs tell you to read things in advance, but I think that is very, very unpractical and doesn’t really happen. It depends on the style of learning, what works best for you.”

“Facebook groups were very useful because people post notes and the really good seniors were posting their notes; most of them were really good. That’s something that you can trust.”

“If you see people that are better than you [or] see people that have accomplished more than you, of course you’re going to feel a little inferior. It’s natural, but don’t give up because of those people. Instead, be motivated by those people.”

“Go in with not super high and not super low expectations. Go in knowing it’s going to be hard, but also with the mindset that you’re going to do what it takes to do well. [A] lot of people don’t really do that well in first year because they go in thinking that they’re going to get 50s, that they’re going to fail everything. And then they fail because they don’t expect that they are going to do well.”


Student Handbook 2015


Life Sciences students find themselves battling low course averages and large class sizes in an effort to maintain competitive GPAs for admission into professional and graduate schools. However, U of T also has one of the most diverse programs, led by brilliant and dedicated professors. The price to pay? Our sanity. Fortunately, according to upper year students, anyone can survive their first year with the right mindset, the right friends, and the right dose of caffeine.

In the scientific 6ix Science hubs around the city CONNIE LIU

MaRS is located in the Discovery District. YASSINE ELBARADIE/THE VARSITY

SICKKIDS HOSPITAL The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) is among the leading pediatric hospitals in the world. With an integrated network of care, research, and education, SickKids receives almost 300,000 visits in their clinics alone each year. It is considered one of the most research-intensive hospitals in Canada. A cohesive team with diverse skill sets make up the foundation of this teaching hospital affiliated with the University of Toronto. Over 800 researchers work together in a spectrum of disciplines, from cell biology to neuroscience. Clinicians and scientists search for innovative solutions and technologies that would provide the best care for children. SickKids is a global leader in medical research and is recognized internationally for its discoveries. It is also home to many Canadian firsts, including the first successful separation of conjoined twins, first bone marrow transplant program, and first living-donor kidney transplant in the paediatric population. MaRS Bringing together an interdisciplinary group of entrepreneurs, researchers, educators, and scientists in a centre of innovation, MaRS is on a mission to transform ideas into a ground-breaking reality. MaRS provides a platform of commercialization for scientific discoveries: entrepreneurs get access to capital, mentorship, and laboratories to experiment with their designs and inspirations; and corporations are able to invest in talent, creativity, and entrepreneurship. In partnership with its stakeholders, MaRS has developed several programs to help its clients access the market. Current initiatives include the Advanced Energy Centre, Building Future Leaders, Data Catalyst, MaRS Catalyst Fund, MaRS Centre for Impact Investing, MaRS EXCITE, MaRS Solution Lab, and Studio Y. MaRS empowers entrepreneurs, which is why the impact of its discoveries resonates beyond its glass walls.

GAIRDNER FOUNDATION AWARDS AND TALKS The Canada Gairdner Awards, valued at $100,000 each, distinguish seven top scientists for their contributions to medicine, global health, and scientific leadership. As the most esteemed medical award in Canada, they are presented annually in October at a black tie gala hosted by the Royal Ontario Museum. The Gairdner Foundation hosts National and Student Outreach Programs, where current and past awardees tour the country and speak with the next generation of scientists at over 20 universities. An annual symposium is also held in Toronto to further explore the themes presented in research by current Canada Gairdner Awardees. UNIVERSITY HEALTH NETWORK Toronto Western Hospital, Toronto General Hospital, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, and the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute make up the University Health Network (UHN). As teaching hospitals affiliated with the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto, the UHN provides education and medical training. It is at the forefront of research and patient care with over 1,000 trainees; it’s known for the mentorship and support system it provides for the next generation of researchers. There are currently five research centres based in these hospitals that cover the spectrum of translational, clinical, and basic science research. From cardiovascular sciences to population health, the UHN is consistently on the edge of new discoveries. Just this past year, the UHN performed the world’s first triple-organ transplant of the liver, pancreas, and lung in a single operation. DALLA LANA SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH The Dalla Lana School of Public Health (DLSPH) at U of T is a leader in public health, with world-renowned experts training hundreds of graduate students each year. The field of public health encompasses the prevention of disease and injury through education, policies, and research. The DLSPH’s HIV Studies Unit has pioneered the social and behavioural approach to HIV research. Its faculty members have worked in overcoming health crises, such as the 2003 SARS outbreak. DLSPH graduates continue to apply their education beyond the school. Alumni have gone on to academia at Harvard University and biosciences with the Canadian Armed Forces. THE VARSITY


Campus athletic facilities SEAN SMITH The University of Toronto has some of the best sports facilities in the country. With Tcard in hand, students have access to the same resources that our national teams used to train athletes for the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games and the Rio 2016 Olympics. The facilities provide opportunities for students to train, compete in intramurals, attend drop-in programs, and watch the Varsity Blues compete against other universities.

UTSG The downtown Toronto campus is littered with fields, arenas, and high-performance athletic centres. Perhaps the most iconic is Varsity Centre located at Bloor Street West and Devonshire Place. It houses a 5,000 seat stadium and a 400m running track. The varsity football, soccer, lacrosse, and rugby teams all compete here. At the Hart House Athletic Fitness Centre, you can work out in a building that’s nearly 100 years old. The state-of-the-art equipment is almost anachronistic against the stunning gothic architecture. The building houses a suspended indoor track, an art deco pool, as well as gym and fitness equipment. The Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport is in its second year and is home to brand new weightlifting facilities. The varsity basketball and volleyball teams play their games here. The building also houses the David L. MacIntosh Sports Medicine Clinic, which offers athletic therapy, message therapy, physiotherapy, and chiropractic treatments. The Athletic Centre (AC) is the most comprehensive of all the UTSG facilities — though it may be the ugliest. A 200m indoor track, three swimming pools, seven gymnasia, and a strength and conditioning centre are but a few of the features located within its massive, concrete walls. The AC hosts varsity swimming and track and field events.

UTSC This campus is home to the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre (TPASC). Built for the games, it offers a strength and conditioning studio, a cardio studio, a 41-foot rock climbing wall, a diving tank, and a hardwood field house. TPASC is one of the most technologically advanced sports facilities at the university: there is a portion of running track equipped with pressure sensors and motion capture technology, and the depth of the pool is adjustable.



Student Handbook 2016

The Recreation, Athletics and Wellness Centre (RAWC) is another multi-purpose sport facility comprised of a 25m pool, three gyms, a sports medicine clinic, and an indoor running track. The centre also has a dance studio and hosts both the national and provincial training centre camps for Olympic weightlifting.

Teams to look out for SEAN SMITH Whether it’s overhearing a conversation on the subway, seeing someone repping their team colours, or watching a game in a sports bar with a panoramic view of more screens than you could possibly take in at once, sport permeates nearly every facet of our lives. The university boasts some of the best amateur sport in the country and some of the best athletes in the world — the best part is that U of T students can attend Varsity Blues regular season games free of charge. The Varsity Blues make up a total of 44 teams competing in 26 different sports, which can make finding a team to follow or a sporting event to attend very overwhelming. The following is a brief look at the standout teams and players to keep an eye on this year: One of our most decorated teams last year was women’s volleyball, whose home games are held at the Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport. They are the defending Ontario University Athletics (OUA) and Canada Interuniversity Sport (CIS) champs, winning the CIS banner for the first time since 1976. Following their 19–0 undefeated season, the team was awarded the OUA Team of the Year Award, and Alina Dormann was awarded the CIS Rookie of the Year Award. In swimming, both the men and women posted unparalleled seasons, each winning the CIS banner this past year. Blues swimmer Kylie Masse also qualified to represent Canada in the 100m backstroke at the Rio Olympics and holds the Canadian record in the same event. Despite winning only three of their eight games last season, Blues football will forever be a must-see. Attending a post-secondary football game is a rite of passage and Varsity Stadium is a venue steeped in football history. The stadium used to be the home field for the Toronto Argonauts and hosted some of the most legendary Grey Cup games — notably the 1950 ‘Mud Bowl’, where bad weather and field conditions covered the players in mud from head to toe by the end of the game. U of T track events will also be great to watch. The women’s team successfully defended their CIS title last year, while the men brought home the OUA banner to hang in our halls, earning their first CIS podium finish in over 20 years. Watching varsity sports is not only a show of support for your school and fellow students — it is a fun and rewarding diversion from academic stress. While we may not be a Pac-12 school, the calibre of our teams and athletes make Varsity Blues games a worthy way to spend your night out.












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Backpack essentials How to lighten your load SONALI GILL Regardless of your academic year, it can always feel like you are at war with the university during the semester. For first-year students adjusting to new academic and social environments, these challenges can appear even more daunting. There are a number of tools available to help you weather the challenges: your backpack is one of the most important ones. Do not make the mistake of overloading your backpack with unnecessary items; this undermines productivity and needlessly increases the weight on your shoulders. Instead, take note of the items you absolutely need to carry to school each day: 1. REUSABLE WATER BOTTLE Benefit: The university does not sell bottled water on campus, so it is more likely that you will buy coffee, juice, carbonated drinks, and energy drinks to quench your thirst. All of these items are high on calorie content while some, such as coffee, are diuretics that dehydrate you. Tip: Make use of the water fountains around campus and always keep your bottle filled. 20

Student Handbook 2016

2. $40 CASH IN YOUR WALLET Benefit: You never know when you’ll run into a business that doesn’t accept debit or credit. Keeping cash handy also helps cover emergency transportation or phone calls. Tip: In the unfortunate event of losing your wallet, the loss of a smaller sum hurts less.

oranges, mangoes, pineapples, cherries: there is an abundance of mouth-watering options to choose from!

3. WINTER ACCESSORIES Benefit: Mittens, scarves, earmuffs, and gloves are absolutely essential if you’re attending university anywhere in Canada. Nobody can write exams with frost-bitten fingers. Tip: Designate a certain part of your backpack for their storage. This helps maintain order and keeps you from losing these items.

6. SMARTPHONE Benefit: Your smartphone is capable of handling all your everyday needs. You can check your email, record lectures, and maintain your calendar all in one place. Remember: there is an app for everything! Additionally, there are several phone charging stations on campus, including some in Sid Smith. Tip: Do not bring your laptop to campus every day. It needlessly increases the weight on your shoulders. Carry it with you only when you plan to actively use it; for example, when you are writing an essay. If you need to conduct research for an assignment, use one of the many computers available at libraries around campus.

4. FRUIT/HEALTHY SNACKS Benefit: Simultaneously tasty and power-packed, carrying fruit to school will mitigate the temptations of the mighty food trucks along St. George Street. Fruit can be packed into small, leak-proof boxes and you can add a granola bar or two for crunchy snackage. Tip: Changing the fruit you bring to school is a good way to keep things interesting. Strawberries, kiwis, apples,

5. FLASH DRIVE Benefit: You can use it to transfer and retain information easily. Tip: This device is excellent for lastminute printing at the library.

Tips and tricks for non-res students

Commuter survival guide

ASHVI SHAH Shout out to all the students living in Pickering, Markham, Brampton, Oakville, and beyond. The struggle is real. U of T is a hardcore commuter school, but commuters often feel left out of campus life. Fortunately, these past couple of years travelling on the beloved TTC have taught me a thing or two to share.

First of all, it’s important to keep in mind that on Mondays through Saturdays, the TTC trains run from 6:00 am to 1:30 am, and most buses run from 6:00 am to 1:00 am. On Sundays, trains run from 8:00 am to 1:30 am, while buses run 9:00 am to 1:00 am. Write down these times somewhere — they come in handy when you’re deciding whether to crash at a friend’s place or how much time you need to get downtown early on a Sunday. In my first year, my student liaison mentioned that you should always have something to do on the subway: sleep, read, or listen to music. Do something, because if you stand — or sit when you’re lucky — in that crowded, rickety subway with nothing to do, you will quickly lose your patience. If you have some leeway with time, stick around campus to beat rush hour and leave for home after the worst of the crowds are gone. Of course, the commute itself is not the only problem — so are the 8:00 am classes. Often, there is no time for a healthy breakfast and trudging a huge bag around campus all day sucks. So does not getting to attend late-night events and having on-residence friends who rarely understand the trials. However, none of this means we cannot enjoy life at U of T.

Be sure to check out places commuters and on-res students alike can hang out, such as the commuter lounges. Most colleges have lounges with couches, a TV, or a foosball table. My favourites are the Innis, New College, and University College lounges. Innis even has plastic cutlery for when you urgently need some. It is also important to make friends with students living on residence. They can let you crash for the night if their residence allows it, and they can get you access to exclusive perks. For example, my commuter friends and I play pool in the Innis residence because our friend lets us in. Most importantly, keep an eye out for free food events. Both UTSG and UTSC have active Facebook groups dedicated to free food events. There are also fun events organized by college student associations, sometimes specifically for commuters. Innis had a free TTC Metropass draw every month, so watch out for similar contests. Finally, have a great time, meet new people, and enjoy U of T as much as you can.




Class of 2020 bucket list Twenty things to do before you graduate GRACE MANALILI

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Visit a new library or study spot every time you study. You have probably heard of Robarts, but trust me, it is only good in tiny doses. This way, you can find out which study spot works best for you. Introduce yourself to as many people as possible, especially during the first two weeks of classes. Really try to put yourself out there, because the people you meet make up most of your university experience. Learn a new dance; there are plenty of free or cheap dance classes offered by student clubs. Attend a screening at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Better yet, attend a premiere. If you are already broke though, you can just peruse the TIFF calendar to find out when your favourite stars will be grazing the red carpet.

5 Visit all three campuses. 6

Use the gym facilities. You are already paying for them, so let the memberships help you meet your fitness goals.

at least one frat party; you really 7 Attend have to try it at least once. up in an anti-hangover, 24-hour 8 Sober breakfast place. Fran’s is a favourite! 9 Go to class in your pajamas. Go to an exam in your pajamas. Show with your equally sleep-de10solidarity prived classmates.


Student Handbook 2015

Ask a professor, a TA, or an upper year in your field out for coffee. Most will be more than happy to answer whatever questions you may have.


Attend a conference in your field. Apart from providing free refreshments, they are also great networking opportunities.


Pull an all-nighter. Whether that involves drinking with friends or cramming for a test, it is part of the university experience. Don’t do it too often though!


Take a selfie at Convocation Hall, where the Mathlete scene from Mean Girls was filmed and where you will eventually receive your degree. Look around, even if you never have a class there.


Audit an interesting class that you are not enrolled in. Introduce yourself to your professors the first day of every class. It might be scary at first, but it will help them personally get to know you.


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Take part in a cause that matters to you. Just don’t attend a protest in three inch heels. I did that. Do not do that.

Get midnight takeout. Feel terrible about it later.


Volunteer with The Varsity. Join our community and participate in whatever — writing, editing, design, photos, videos, illustrations — interests you. Have fun — make the most of your undergraduate experience!

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Campus contacts DIVISIONS Faculty of Arts & Science 416-978-3384 Engineering Undergraduate Office of the Registrar 416-978-5896 Ontario Institute for Studies in Education 416-978-4300 Rotman Commerce 416-978-3339 Innis College 416-978-2513 Trinity College 416-978-2687 New College 416-978-2460 St. Michael’s College 416-926-7117 University College 416-978-3170 Victoria College 416-585-4508 Woodsworth College 416-978-4444 CAMPUS SAFETY Campus Police (UTSG) 416-978-2323 Campus Police (UTSC) 416-287-7398 Campus Police (UTM) 905-828-5200 HEALTH AND SUPPORT Centre for Women and Trans People 416-978-8201

Sexual and Gender Diversity Office 416-946-5624 Multifaith Centre 416-946-3120 For Chaplains: Sexual Education Centre 416-978-8732 Anti-Racism and Cultural Diversity Office 416-978-1259 Family Care Office 416-978-0951 Aboriginal Student Services 416-978-8227 Students for Barrier Free Access 416-967-7322 LGBTOUT Health and Wellness Centre (UTSG) 416-978-8030 healthask@mail.studentlife.utoronto. ca Health and Wellness Centre (UTSC) 416-287-7065 Health and Counselling Centre (UTM) 905-828-5255 CAMPUS MEDIA The Varsity 416-946-7600 The Underground (UTSC) 416-287-7054 The Medium (UTM)

CIUT FM 89.5FM (UTSG) 416-978-0909 Fusion Radio (UTSC) 416-287-7051 CFRE Radio 91.9 FM (UTM) 905-828-2088 Hart House Review TRANSPORTATION TTC 416-393-INFO (4636) MiWay 905-615-INFO (4636) GO Transit 1-888-GET-ON-GO (438-6646) Via Rail 1 888 VIA-RAIL (842-7245) Beck Taxi 416-751-5555 Bikechain (UTSG) 416-978-6849 BikeShare (UTSC) BikeShare (UTM) BOOKSTORES UTSG Bookstore 416-640-7900 UTSC Bookstore 416-724-8213 UTM Bookstore 905-828-5272 Bob Miller Book Room 416-922-3557



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