Why did you choose your program? What makes it unique to you?
I have always been very inquisitive growing up. When I began learning about human biology in high school, I started to become more curious about how we, as humans, function the way we do. I chose to do a double Major in Neuroscience and Psychology because while Neuroscience covers the biological and chemical basis of how we work, Psychology focuses more on explaining behaviours. These two majors are integrative to each other, and what I learn from one major can
often be applied to the other. This combination is something that I find to be unique, as well as the wide variety of courses available to each. These courses can range from broad to more specific topics that help personalize your major to suit your interests.
For a UofT Life Sciences Student...
How would you describe the workload and work-life balance?
Depending on the program, the workload and type of work given can vary. In my first year as a Life Science student, the majority of my workload came from assigned readings that don’t seem like much on their own but pile up quickly if you fall behind. In addition to this, chemistry and math courses assign weekly question sets that took up most of my time outside of the readings. Although it can seem overwhelming while still getting used to university life, it is possible to maintain a social life and succeed academically. Setting a consistent schedule of when to complete work during the week helped me find more time to spend with friends and go about my life outside of coursework. Overall, until you’re familiar with your specific workload and know what to expect, it’ll take time and some trial-and-error to find a work-life balance that fits your schedule.
What is some advice you would give high school students when applying to your program?
The biggest piece of advice I’d give to students applying to either of these programs is to have a sense of what study methods work best for you. In first year, a
majority of the required courses for both the Psychology and Neuroscience major are memorization based. I believe that the amount of information given within one class was equivalent to about a week of material in high school. For Neuroscience and other Life Science programs specifically, having a solid understanding of basic chemistry and calculus concepts is incredibly important. Grades in these classes might be used to determine acceptance into your program after first year and can be hard to keep up with if you aren’t comfortable with foundational material.
What do you think is special about the UofT campus life?
Something that I think is special about the university’s campus life is the college system. With UofT being such a large school, it can be intimidating as a new student to think about where you fit in. This system divides Arts and Science undergraduates into one of seven colleges, creating a smaller community that helps to develop a
sense of belonging. Each college holds specific events for members throughout the year that allow you to meet new people and get involved in the community. Furthermore, each college has its own student union and student-run committees its members can join in addition to the abundance of clubs and associations ran university-wide. I also think getting involved with smaller, college-run groups can help build confidence and skills for joining larger roles like the UTSU for students who may not be quite there yet. Getting involved in my college’s upcoming Orientation made me more comfortable to get involved with other initiatives outside of it.
How would you describe residence? Would you recommend someone live on-campus? If so, what advice do you have for them?
Living on residence is something that I found to be very convenient. Not having to commute to campus gave me more time to study and keep up with friends. Additionally, residence was a great way to meet people as there are almost always weekly socials or other students in the common area. For these reasons, I would recommend anyone who can live on-campus to do so. If someone is planning to live in residence, I would recommend attending your college’s Orientation week. At least for my
college, Frosh groups were divided by residence house, making it an easy way to meet people in your building and on your floor.
Finally, are there many research opportunities?
Absolutely! There are plenty of research opportunities you can find both on-campus and off. One of the benefits of attending university downtown is its proximity to a handful of research hospitals and laboratories. A lot of hospitals close to campus even have research programs specifically for undergraduate students that run during the summer. At the beginning of each semester, the university’s Work-Study Program posts paid positions relating to each field of study, with many of these positions being in research. In addition to these examples, second and third-year students can apply for the Research Opportunities Program, in which a student joins a professor’s research project. Having prior research experience can be beneficial for some of these positions, but it’s not always a requirement.
A very special thank you to our interviewee...
Hello! My name is Jaden Groulx and I am a second-year student at the University of Toronto pursuing a double major in Neuroscience and Psychology. The guidance I received during first year from my upper-year peers had an incredibly positive impact on my university experience, and I hope to do the same for both incoming and prospective students. Feel free to contact me on social media with any questions you may have about my program or university life, I’d be more than happy to help!