Why did you choose your program? What makes it unique to you?
I specifically chose a broader program coming out of high school because I wasn’t sure what I was interested in. At the age of 17, it’s extremely difficult to plan out exactly where your life is going to go and I didn’t want to restrict my learning to a narrow field of study unless I was sure I wanted to pursue it. My hope was to gain more experience and knowledge about all aspects of life sciences so I can make a well-informed decision about what to pursue in the future. At UTM, I was able to explore all domains of biology and really tested by
laboratory and research skills. This program is unique to me because it allowed me to explore other courses that I was interested in and weed out the options that didn’t suit me. In my second year I took a full-year anatomy course and fell in love with anatomy and physiology in my later years. My experiences and knowledge from UTM led me to make the decision to pursue nursing and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way!
What do you think is special about UTM's campus life?
UTM is a smaller campus than most other universities in the surrounding areas, which is why I love the campus life! I got involved with the University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union (UTMSU) during my first year and got to meet so many students
outside of my program and from upper year students. Because it is a smaller campus, I got the chance to create bonds with people through clubs and societies and events on campus very easily. This helped me network and learn more than I would have if I didn’t get involved. I continued with my work and participation with the UTMSU until I graduated and am now the Orientation Coordinator for the incoming first year students. So, if you’re a first year looking for a way to learn more about resources on- and off-campus and make new friends, buy your ticket to attend frosh week!
What is some advice you would give high school students when applying to your program?
My biggest piece of advice for students who are looking to attend UTM for Life Sciences is to come with an open mind and a hunger to explore and learn different things. The university offers a vast variety of courses to choose from – in and out of your program –so I would recommend taking elective courses to figure out what you are good at and what you’re interested in. I would suggest creating study groups to review lecture material and assignments and getting involved with the clubs and societies on campus so you can network and meet new people.
Is there alot of collaborative work or group presentations?
Collaborative work and group presentations are common in your first year of study, especially during lab work. This continues on as you progress through the years, but becomes more intimate because the class sizes are much smaller. While individual work is expected in most first year courses, collaborative work is highly encouraged. If you missed an important note during a lecture, you can reach out to a study group and review material. I found this to be more helpful than trying to navigate first year on my own.
How would you describe the workload and work-life balance?
The workload is fairly heavy during the first year, but it gets lighter as you move into your upper years because you start to get the hang of how things operate at the university. It’s not difficult to maintain a high GPA, while having a part-time job or being a part of clubs and societies on campus. However, you must be able to find the balance between school, work, family, friends, and especially you and your mental/physical health. It is also important to determine what your priorities are so you can better manage your time.
For a Recent Graduate of UTM's Life Sci Program...
A very special thank you to our interviewee...
Hi folks! My name is Simran Matharu and I just graduated from the University of Toronto, Mississauga (UTM) with a Specialist in Comparative Physiology and Major in Biology for Health Sciences. I will be starting the Compressed Nursing program at Trent University this Fall. I'm currently the UTMSU Orientation Coordinator at UTM for all of the in-coming first year students. If you have any questions about UTM, the program or choosing a career, I would love to get in touch. Please feel free to contact me on any of my socials!