Media & Press

The First Semester is Over

1 January, 2017

Haleema Khan

Exciting, challenging, and rewarding, are all suitable words to describe the past four months. The GO Train inspires my creative thoughts to wander – proving to be a great place to write Schulich blog posts. The first semester of university has just wrapped up and I am finally on my way home to Niagara Falls (as I’m writing this post actually)! I have experienced a lot this semester –  some struggles, some successes, and a lot of learning curves. Through all of this, I have seen a lot of self-growth.
Toronto is an amazing city; it is impossible to be bored here. I try to take some time out of the busy university routine to explore the hidden gems in this city. I think the fast-paced environment is absolutely energizing, reinforcing my productivity on a day to day basis. One of the reasons why I chose this school was because of the location – I needed a change in my setting, and it has shown to be a great change thus far. 
I have met some amazing people at the University of Toronto, seven of which are featured in the photo above. I am lucky to go to a school with so much diversity. I think I have made friends from almost every continent in the world (Antarctica is a tough one to cross off the list though). It’s so fascinating to hear stories about my friends’ cultures and traditions – it’s almost as great as actually traveling to the places they’re from. Also, the professors here are incredible; in contrast to the common myth of U of T profs, they actually take the time to help students and are super approachable! I have had the privilege of getting to know some of my professors on a more personal level by seeking extra help and guidance during office hours. 
Transitioning from the smallest high school in Niagara Falls to the largest university in Canada is a big change. Academically, the university life has been a huge challenge, but a positive challenge nonetheless. Unfortunately, I think challenge is perceived in a negative way, when in fact it IS OFTEN POSITIVE. I think after all of hurdles I face here I will come out as a student with many qualifications, who will have learned and grown from my mistakes and failures. I faced a similar challenge in grade 9, but eventually overcame this challenge by grades 11 and 12. The high school routine became familiar, things became easy, and I needed a change, a new obstacle to face. This is why I chose U of T’s Life Science program. As my philosophy professor says, “Think of the pain as spice”. The spice is definitely not mild here; it is the Frank’s RedHot XTRA hot sauce. But spice is good, it keeps things interesting and progressing.
My train ride is nearly over. I want to end on a final note; I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to go to the University of Toronto with the support of the Schulich Foundation. Sometimes as I am walking back from a lecture to my residence building, I get a glance of the CN Tower and think, “how did I get so lucky to go here?” Thank you to the Schulich Foundation for this amazing opportunity, and to the University of Toronto for pushing me to my limit every day.