University of Toronto: Student life on campus

Where to find the best place for a nap and more
Rachel Chen
Assistant Professor Ariel Chan (right) speaks to third year Chemical Engineering U of T student Jiayi Wei (left) as she leads an exercise involving a multistory distillation tower that the class is using to mimic a bio-ethanol production process in Toronto on September 20, 2017. (Photograph by Michelle Siu)

Unofficial school motto: ‘U of Tears’ (but don’t let that scare you)
Best place for a nap: Nothing beats Graham library’s reading rooms, but if those are full, the Buttery in the Larkin building works
Best cheap lunch: On campus, Innis Café’s burritos and salads. Off campus, hit up Kensington Market.
Best hangover breakfast: Fran’s is open 24/7—you don’t even have to wait for breakfast
Favourite watering hole: Insomnia
Perks of living in this town: Something cool is always happening in Toronto
Best place to study: Emmanuel College Library is gorgeous and quiet
Weirdest tradition: The engineering faculty is full of weird traditions
Best campus event: At University College’s Fireball, unlike other college formals, non-members can attend
Best giveaway: Free vegan breakfasts at the Multi-Faith Centre
Best live music venue: Lee’s Palace

PROFILE: University of Toronto | Toronto, Ont. | Founded 1827

University InsiderRachel Chen, 19, International Relations and English

Drawn in by the beautiful architecture on campus, I chose U of T for its variety of options, academic rigour and international prestige. Campus is gorgeous in the autumn, but still survivable in the snow. One downside—U of T has so much to offer, it could take a while before you find out half the stuff it has.

Students are divided into faculties like engineering and music. Arts and science students can choose between seven different colleges. To ensure the best experience possible, especially if you plan to live in residence, research ahead to find the college with the best social life and living arrangements to suit you. Whether you want to live in a modern high-rise at Woodsworth or a castle-like building at Trinity, U of T has it. U of T also has 44 libraries and various other study spots.

If you do not live in residence, take advantage of university events to stay connected. Frosh week at U of T is the one time competitive school spirit comes out, although it is directed at different faculties and colleges rather than at other universities. I made my closest friends through frosh week and by joining clubs.

With roughly 68,000 undergraduate students, U of T can seem overwhelming. However, do not let its size deter you. There are so many choices regarding programs of study, seminar courses and student groups. Do your research on all U of T has to offer and you will quickly find your niche. Do not be afraid to try something new! Despite all of the fun extracurriculars, U of T’s education is top-notch. Whether by challenging professors or by seeking research opportunities, you will definitely learn so much.

Between U of T’s multiple gyms and the Hart House programs, there are tons of fitness classes you can take. Look beyond paid classes and take advantage of the free drop-in classes. Certain clubs will also teach you for free. I randomly joined Victoria College’s Shadow Dance Club in first year and not only did I make awesome friends, I also learned to Cuban salsa at no cost!

By going to events and working with groups—college theatre, student governments and publications like the Varsity newspaper—you can also meet famous people, get free tickets to shows, and acquire resumé-boosting experience.

Local Vibe
Especially at the downtown St. George campus, Toronto has everything you could want in a city, from all the hippest restaurants to efficient public transit that you will love to complain about. While it might not be the best at everything, Toronto makes up for it by having it all. Whether you want to explore Little Italy or Koreatown, you can do it. The areas around campus are also generally safe to wander around even during the night. However, be prepared because Toronto’s diverse population will challenge your opinions and ideas.

The Skinny
For campus news: For city goings-on:

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