First Year Reflections

Goals of this post:

  • Talk about my first year experiences

As summer is finishing up, I have decided to reflect on my first-year experiences and talk about what I am excited for about second year.

August 2018

This is where I finally got a place to live at for the school year. All summer long, my high school friends and I searched everywhere in Toronto for a place. It seemed like we would not get a place for the school year when a phone call came. It was my roommate’s uncle, he said that he had a place in Toronto that we could rent out. I then quickly ordered my bed and desk on Ikea and was excited for the school year.

September 2018

The long-awaited journey finally began. School did not begin right away since F!rosh Week comes before the first day of school. F!rosh Week costs $100 for early bird and is 100% worth the price. From the start of the week to the end, F!rosh Week has over 18 events in 7 days. It is a great way to experience the unique events, traditions, and Skule™ spirit. F!rosh Week is also a great place to make tons of new friends.

After F!rosh Week ends, classes begin with review material which leads into the second week where all first-year Engineering students are required to take a diagnostic math test.

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My F!rosh Group

October 2018

At the beginning of October, I had my first midterm. Yes, I said midterm. At UofT Engineering, “midterms” or “term tests” are spread out over the semester and are not in one week like some other universities. At this point, classes were way past the review point and taught university level content. The workload was also starting to get more intense.

In the middle of October I joined the Skule™ intramural soccer team.

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F!rosh Intramural Soccer Team

November 2018

Days started to get shorter and also colder which meant one thing …. winter break is almost here! While every other program at UofT and at other universities had reading week, I attended classes and prepared for my midterm that week since we do not get a reading week in first semester. Schoolwork was at an all-time peak and it was hard not to get behind at this point. Time management was crucial to staying on track.

My first semester project was also finishing up. A company by the name of Tanvas instructed my Engineering team & I to utilize their hardware technology to design effective solutions to assist visually impaired users to track heart rate with a fitness app. Here was my first glimpse into some industry work where I got the chance to be a Product Manager.

December 2018

Midterms finished, and I had some time to prepare for final exams which are usually 40% – 50% of your grade. After final exams, winter break starts. Typically, you get 2-3 weeks of winter break depending on when your last exam is. I spent most of my winter break in Vancouver, Canada.

Engineering dinner dances also start to come out around this time. They are great for getting your mind off school work and enjoying the night with your school friends and upper years in your discipline.

January 2019

Classes commenced for the second semester. Everyone who wants a summer job starts their search now. UofT also has a career fair where companies like Microsoft, Google, Bloomberg, IBM, and Intel come out to hire UofT students. In addition, more resume critique events pop up around this time. I remember staying up late most nights and applying to as many jobs as I could.

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UofT Career fair – Picture taken from https://www.ece.utoronto.ca/news/14698/

The start of the new semester also came with a new semester project. UofT Engineering students get the chance to tackle real design problems for real clients. My groups client was from a small startup. He was looking to develop an app that could be loaded onto a restaurant manager’s order-taking device that would take summaries of orders taken, revenue, and profit from several food delivery apps. The developed app would provide recommendations to optimize revenue streams among various apps. Here I worked as a Design Engineer and a Programmer for an actual client. This was great since I got to work with an industry expert on a real-world problem.

Besides typical job stuff, the highlight of my first year besides F!rosh Week was definitely Godiva Week. Godiva Week is a week-long celebration at Skule™. It has many festivities which include various engineering traditions and events, including a Chariot Race, F!rosh Hardhat Decorating Competition, Ultimate F!rosh, Godiva’s Quest, and Mr. Blue & Gold and Godiva’s Crown Competitions. Godiva week ends with an engineering semi-formal called the Cannonball.  I remember during Godiva Week there were no spots left to see what was going on. All three levels of Sandford Fleming were completely full.

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Godiva Week

February 2019

February was not that special besides the fact that I got my first reading week. During reading week, I got the chance to visit my high school and share some of my experiences at UofT and answer some university questions anyone had.

Most of February was spent doing labs and studying for midterms while also applying to jobs.

March 2019

I finally got some interviews, not many, but it was a start. At this point of the semester I was starting to get burnt out, but it was almost over. Most classes started to finish up, so I used some of my time to prepare for few exams which would take place in the beginning of April.

April 2019

Just like that, final exams are here. In addition to final exams, my Engineering design team had to present our solution to our client.

Finally, after 2 long semesters, first year is finally over.

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Engineering Design Team

After finishing first year, I have definitely changed as a person. I really enjoyed first year and everything that it brought with it. Entering university, I never thought I would be able to easily adjust to the new lifestyle. I am fortunate enough to have had met some amazing people who have made the process that much better. I am looking forward on entering second year ECE and the challenges that are going to come with it.

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