The Mentorship Spot
Curious About UofT St. George?
Updated: Jul 28, 2020
Leanna Lui is a second-year student at University of Toronto St. George Campus. She’s doing a specialist program in Global Health in the Life Sciences Stream.
1. Why did you choose to go to University of Toronto for the program you’re currently in?
The University of Toronto has a great reputation. It is a world class institution with a strong background in research. I was especially interested in getting an early start in research and the University of Toronto was the best choice. I was fortunate enough to be connected to a professor during first year and began publications.
The University of Toronto also offers a great varsity program. The varsity program there strongly encourages its athletes to pursue high performance goals, while also maintaining stellar academics. With previous fencing experience, I joined the varsity fencing team in my first year and it has been, and continues to be, an incredible experience. From meeting a diverse range of athletes to winning the women’s overall Ontario University Athletics banner, the University of Toronto varsity fencing team has greatly encouraged me to become more active in student life and athletics.
2. Do you have tips on saving money (e.g., textbooks)?
I would definitely recommend looking for online versions of your textbooks before buying them at the bookstore. Generally students have already compiled a Google Drive with PDFs of the textbook and solution manuals. However, if those are not available, I would suggest joining a textbook exchange group. There are tons of students looking to sell their textbooks.
In general, I would also suggest cooking more at home/residence if you have the chance. Going out to eat becomes very expensive and you’re better off buying groceries for the week, and cooking for yourself or with friends!
I would also suggest creating a budget spreadsheet for each month outlining expenses and allowed spending. This will keep you financially accountable.
3. Are there any rumours you think should be addressed for your university?
The University of Toronto is a challenging school, but it’s not impossible to do well in academics, while also maintaining a healthy social life. It’s all about how you allocate your time, and working effectively and efficiently.
4. Is there any advice you would like to give to high school students about your university, or general advice?
Maintain a healthy work-life balance. While at times it may seem like a daunting task, you’re much better off reviewing a bit each day, taking a few breaks here and there, socializing with friends, and going to the gym, than cramming for hours on end. Plan ahead and don’t over-stress.
5. How have you gotten involved on campus, and how do you balance school and student life?
I’m part of the varsity women’s fencing team. It’s definitely a challenge balancing school and student life, however, it is 100% worth it. I make sure to plan my week ahead, and generally, I have a good idea of how each day runs. If I have practice that day, I keep my workload light. If I have a competition, I try to work ahead of schedule to ensure that I don’t fall behind. I’d say discipline is key. I’m pretty strict with myself about how I allocate my time to ensure I can be as involved as I am on campus, while keeping up with academics.
6. What do you like about your program?
There is a range of specializations/majors/minors offered at the university. One of the other reasons I chose the University of Toronto was for its diversity of programs. I am currently doing a specialization in global health with a double minor in bioethics and immunology.
7. What would you change about your school/program if you could?
If I had the opportunity to change something about my school/program, I would change class sizes. In my first year, my largest class was about 1800 people and on average, the class sizes ranged from 200–400 people. I am currently in second year and class sizes have not decreased. I believe that students would benefit from smaller class sizes and increased communication with professors.
Interviewed by Shamir Malik
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