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#UofTBackToSchool: ASKme ambassador answers your questions if you're new to campus

Akanksha Shelat, a computer science and cognitive science student from Dubai, knows the campus inside and out now that she's in fourth year. This is her second year as an ASKme ambassador (photo by Geoffrey Vendeville)

Upper-year student Akanksha Shelat answers some of the most popular questions about U of T

Every day during University of Toronto orientation, Akanksha Shelat is bombarded with questions. 

The fourth-year computer science and cognitive science student is an ASKme booth ambassador for the second year running. 

“I love sharing my experiences with people,” she says. 

She might not be able to tell you the meaning of life – although yes, a professor did jokingly ask her that once – but she knows how to get a TCard, how to join a student club and where to find the best grub on campus. She helped U of T News answer some of your questions. 

1. Where are some good places to eat on campus? 

If you're tummy is grumbling, try using this online campus map to find eateries. (Choose your campus in the top right-hand corner.) “My personal favourites are The Green Beet in Gerstein Library and The Cube in the Bahen Centre,” Shelat says.

We asked U of T President Meric Gertler and the university's director of culinary operations, Chef Jaco Lokker, for personal recommendations.

Have questions about university meal plans? See the food services site for help. 

2. Where can I find a campus map?

It's not always easy to find your way at Canada's largest university. But you can find directions online using this digital map. It even plots a course for you if you plug in the names of buildings, from Sidney Smith to Isabel Bader Theatre, for example. 

You can pick up a paper copy at the Nona McDonald Visitor's Centre at 25 King's College Circle. 

3. How do I get a TCard? 

Your TCard is your permanent student ID. You will need it to borrow books from the library,  work out at campus gyms and show your kids how awkward you looked in university. The good news is that you can obtain a TCard at any of the three campuses. 

On the downtown Toronto campus, the TCard office is on the first floor of the Koffler Centre at 214 College St.

At U of T Mississauga, the TCard office is on the lower level of the CC Atrium, room 0160A.

And at U of T Scarborough, the office is on the fourth floor of the Bladen Wing. 

But wait: you will need proof of citizenship, government-issued photo ID and your letter of admission (or student number or JOINid). 

4. How do I get involved with student clubs? 

Missed the clubs fair? Not to worry. The university's directory of campus organizations, Ulife, has an extensive list of campus clubs that you can browse alphabetically or by interest.

You can also find a club – and load up on swag – at the University of Toronto Students' Union today until 3 p.m. About 170 clubs and course unions will have booths along St. George Street, from College Street to Hoskin Avenue and Harbord Street. The UTSU also hosts a Winter Week of Welcome in January along the same lines.

5. Where can I work out? 

It's time to get physical. The downtown Toronto campus is home to the Athletic Centre, which has seven gyms, three pools, a strength and conditioning centre, indoor track, squash courts, dance studio and more. It's up to the standards of elite athletes like U of T student, Olympian and world champion Kylie Masse.

You can also get your sweat on at Hart House, the Varsity Centre and Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport.

At U of T Mississauga, the Recreation, Athletics and Wellness Centre, in the William G. Davis building, has three separate fitness areas and a running track.

And at U of T Scarborough, you have the Toronto Pan Am Centre, co-owned by the City of Toronto. The centre has four gyms, two Olympic-sized pools and a climbing wall more than 12 metres high. 

6. How can I connect to campus Wifi?

The wireless network “UofT” is open to current students, faculty and staff. To connect, you need your UTORid and password, and your UTORid must already be activated. There is a step-by-step guide here

7. How do I know where my classes are?

For that you need ACORN (Accessible Campus Online Resource Network). It helps your sign up for classes, update personal information, check your fees balance and see your grades. If you're having problems enrolling in courses, you should contact your registrar.