How to survive first-year Life Sciences

[dropcap]L[/dropcap]ife Sciences students find themselves battling low course averages and large class sizes in an effort to maintain competitive GPAs for admission into professional and graduate schools. However, U of T also has one of the most diverse programs, led by brilliant and dedicated professors. The price to pay? Our sanity. Fortunately, according to upper year students, anyone can survive their first year with the right mindset, the right friends, and the right dose of caffeine.


NATHAN CHAN/THE VARSITY
NATHAN CHAN/THE VARSITY

Ariana Tang, second-year Life Sciences

“Go in with not super high and not super low expectations. Go in knowing it’s going to be hard, but also with the mindset that you’re going to do what it takes to do well. [A] lot of people don’t really do that well in first year because they go in thinking that they’re going to get 50s, that they’re going to fail everything. And then they fail because they don’t expect that they are going to do well.”

NATHAN CHAN/THE VARSITy
NATHAN CHAN/THE VARSITy

Abiramy Jeyagaran, fourth-year Molecular Biology Specialist

“Once you get a good group of friends to study with, it makes it easier. Everyone else is motivating you. You just have to find that group of friends that you can study with, that you feel comfortable with, that you can trust. I found my group with First Year Learning Communities.”

NATHAN CHAN/THE VARSITY
NATHAN CHAN/THE VARSITY

Marta Haniszewski, fourth-year Molecular Genetics and Microbiology Specialist

“Don’t go to class if you’re just going to sleep. It’s a waste of your time. Don’t waste your money on textbooks, go to short loan. Just be aware of deadlines and make sure that you’re studying, but don’t beat yourself up because it’s a new experience and you’re going to have hurdles. But that’s okay, that’s part of the learning process.”

NATHAN CHAN/THE VARSITY
NATHAN CHAN/THE VARSITY

Jesse Li, fourth-year Neuroscience and Physiology Double Major

“Time management is something you will learn throughout first year. A lot of the profs tell you to read things in advance, but I think that is very, very unpractical and doesn’t really happen. It depends on the style of learning, what works best for you.”

NATHAN CHAN/THE VARSITY
NATHAN CHAN/THE VARSITY

Soomin Maeng, third-year Immunology and Physiology Double Major

“Facebook groups were very useful because people post notes and the really good seniors were posting their notes; most of them were really good. That’s something that you can trust.”

NATHAN CHAN/THE VARSITY
NATHAN CHAN/THE VARSITY

Sean Ihn, third-year Biochemistry Specialist and Neuroscience Major

“If you see people that are better than you [or] see people that have accomplished more than you, of course you’re going to feel a little inferior. It’s natural, but don’t give up because of those people. Instead, be motivated by those people.”