Kelsey (class of 2020) from U of T 

I should have been far away and across the ocean in Canada at this moment if not for the Coronavirus. During the day, I would sit in the classroom with my classmates from all over the world to listen to the professor’s lectures. At night, I would chat with my friends and study in my dorm. In my spare time, I could enjoy various kinds of convenient facilities on campus. On weekends, I could explore every corner of the prosperous city of Toronto. However, due to the epidemic situation in Canada, I can only stay at home all day long and have online lessons alone. Moreover, because of the 15-hour time difference, I must stay up late a few days each week. To be honest, such a “university” life is a bit monotonous. But even so, I am still looking forward to my new university courses because I chose them, they were not mandatory. Therefore, I try to adjust my mentality, and try to be actively involved in this special university life. 

There are many special things about my special “university” life. Online classes mean that learning is completely self-controlled. My classes are all in liberal arts, which requires a lot of reading and in-depth understanding. Therefore, it is necessary for me to make a reasonable arrangement for how many pages of books to read and which videos to watch each day. Although there are few assignments and exams in these classes every week, the accumulation of knowledge has a deep impact on each test. Because lectures and articles often have information that is difficult to understand, I need to take the time for in-depth study. The amount of university study per week makes things quite stressful for me. 

But there are some benefits to taking courses at home. Recorded lessons can be repeatedly watched, considered, and paused when we encounter something we cannot understand. Most professors will provide PowerPoint lectures, materials, and useful links, so it is necessary to make use of these resources to compensate for the drawbacks of online courses. Moreover, I think it is very helpful to create a learning atmosphere for myself. For example, I made a fixed schedule and know which classes I will study for which length of time each day. Practicing good previewing can help me concentrate better in class and helps keep me away from distractions. I also try to learn to connect learning to life because professors may reduce the content of online classes, so I need to be able to integrate them on my own. 

At U of T, everyone formally enters their majors when they become sophomores, so freshman courses are all introductory courses for different majors. The required scores to pass the classes are high, and there is also a high failure rate of students who cannot reach these grades. Also, it’s not guaranteed that I will get a good result every time I try. The University of Toronto, the top university in Canada, always has people who are more talented than I. I have had several bad grades, which also made it clear to me that I can’t relax in my studies. 

Although I cannot communicate with my professor face-to-face, I can send my questions by email. In addition, the university provides office hours every week where I can ask the professor questions, and there are also tutorial periods with TAs. Chinese students also have a self-organized WeChat group on campus. If you have any questions, just send it in the group and others will absolutely help, discuss, and exchange information with you. Although we cannot meet, the group is always bustling, which makes me look forward to seeing them in person in the future. 

In summary, although my university life is not as fantastic as I originally imagined, my every day is busy and full of things to do. Everything is on the right track as I continue to adjust and adapt to new situations and difficulties.  

Study hard, enjoy life, and always look forward to tomorrow when you get to university.