Why did you choose your program? What makes it unique to you?
I have always been passionate about the rights of children. However, a large influence comes from that of my grandmother, where she and my grandfather established a school and orphanage for children in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The way she talked about each of the children with admiration and love warmed my heart because she was using her gifts to help the most vulnerable in society: children. Since her passing in 2018, my passion and activism for children's rights only grew stronger, and there was always a part of me that wanted to continue her legacy. The way I
hope to drive this passion into action is by becoming a Human Rights Lawyer, and the programs I am pursuing opens these doors. As a program, Ethics, Society, & Law allows their undergrads to engage with an array of disciplines during their studies: philosophy, religion, anthropology, sociology, and much more. The engagement with professors and other students in a more seminar-based setting was attractive to me. Not only will the discussions be more engaging, but it would allow me to strengthen skills such as critical thinking and analysis, which will be helpful within the legal field and other areas of professionalism. Within the social sciences, I believe Political Science is a major that creates easy and solid connections with all other programs. With its exploration in political theory, international relations, and politics of society, it grounds students to engage with issues that confront individuals, groups, and societies within local, national, and international contexts. This body of knowledge will then provide the different understandings and open opportunities to reform the legal system in such a way it would benefit the weak and vulnerable, like that of children. Finally, I am pursuing a minor in Women & Gender Studies because I want to learn and expose myself more to how constructions of gender, race, class, and sexuality shape the world in which we live today. By the end of my bachelor's degree, I hope to build new understanding and breaking stereotypes that do harm more than good within our communities.
For an Ethics, Society, Law & Poli Sci Double Major Student...
Do you feel there's a good support/transition program for freshman students?
UofT is unique in the sense it follows a ‘college’ system that is popular with schools in the UK. At UofT, there are 7 different colleges, and I myself belong to Trinity College. In association with Trinity, I am confident saying the college has great academic resources that help their students thrive in many, if not all, areas of study. From Academic Dons who can guide you in your work, writing centres that help to edit and focus your essays, to the college’s own archives, Trinity's academic resources helped me succeed in my courses during my first year. Personally, I also found that the small community of my college allowed for deeper connections not only with students in my graduating class but with upper-year students as well. However, one thing I will stress to future potential and incoming students: Branch out! Finding yourself in a college may narrow your circle of friends and relationships, but after a while, be sure to make connections across campus. UofT is a big school, and there are many other great students just like yourself to get to know and connect with. Take the challenge get to know somebody from one of your courses, your clubs, and more. I assure you most people enjoy new interactions!
How would you describe your first year at UofT?
My first year at UofT was a time of growth and friendships. Growth, as in my knowledge and understanding of the world and its workings. By the end of it, I was fascinated by all that I have learned, unlearned. My thinking widened but also became more focused and had more depth. Being a university student is a different experience: you are pursuing a degree and learning things that peak your areas of interest and things you are passionate about.
Then there are friendships: you meet a variety of people with different backgrounds and interests. I believe everyone you come across and interact with within your university years have some form of influence. In fact, the interactions you make become more personal and intentional as you navigate to find a group of friends and allies that will support, encourage, and reassure of your successes as a student and as a member within the community.
What is some advice you would give high school students when applying to your program?
I would offer high school student two pieces of advice:
Engage in extracurricular activities that you are passionate about, but do not limit yourself to one thing. However, keep in mind: Avoid splitting your energy and efforts to multiple things. Instead, stick with one or two and give it your all! Within this context, come back to this saying: Sometimes doing less is to do more.
Study hard. This is probably no surprise but studying consistently and effectively will open so many doors, not only to the universities you want to go to but to jobs and opportunities you want to pursue. Studying hard with the help you build the energy and confidence to do well in every other aspect of your life!
What’s the biggest change from high school to university work and classes?
I would say the biggest change from high school to university is the assignments themselves. Although I was accustomed to writing essays, the topics, style, and specificity the assignments demanded were very different.
Personally, throughout high school, there was a certain way I found myself approaching my writings as I felt comfortable gravitating towards certain styles and tones. In university, however, this will greatly depend on your professors and TAs. For example, you and I might be in the same course but because we have different professors, the expectations we need to meet to do well may vary little or significantly. I believe as an incoming first-year student, one of your biggest challenges would be to understand what your professors and TAs are looking for. Although this may take some time, once you figure this out, your assignments will improve in style and grade. Best of luck, you got this!
A very special thank you to our interviewee...
Hello! My is name is Eunice Yong and I am an incoming second-year social science student at the University of Toronto. Here, I am pursuing a Double Major in Ethics, Society, & Law and Political Science, with a Minor in Women & Gender Studies.
My passion for human rights, specifically children’s rights, led me to become actively engaged as a Youth Delegate & Ambassador with Children First Canada in the past three years. With this organization, I have drafted the first Canadian Children’s Charter with 29 other youths across Canada, hosted awareness events, and helped spark panel discussions about the wellbeing of Canadian children. I was also a former air cadet with the title of Warrant Officer 2nd Class (WO2) at 872 Kiwanis Kanata Air Cadet Squadron back in my hometown in Ottawa!
During COVID-19, I have been keeping busy as a Student Employee with the Government of Canada’s Science and Parliamentary Infrastructure Branch, where I am responsible for policy research and analysis, and developing policy analytical tools. In my spare time, I enjoy singing and playing the guitar, journaling, and working out to keep my body and mind in shape. I always welcome new connections and discussions, so please feel free to message me via social media!