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#UofTBTS16: First day of school brings nerves and excitement to students and profs alike

Eric Vanhauwaert is looking forward to participating in intramural sports (all photos by Krisha Ravikantharaja)

The first day of school is usually a combination of nerves and excitement. As classes begin at the University of Toronto, students and faculty across all three campuses are navigating the campus, meeting new people, and setting goals for the school year ahead. U of T News reporter Krisha Ravikantharaja talked to some of them.


First-year student Sarah Hanson sat in Sid Smith waiting for her first university class, ever. In her case, it was "Histories of Violence." 

Hanson, who hopes to study book and media studies, was excited about all of the possibilities the university has to offer.

“I like the bigger campus, and the looser reins university offers [compared to high school],” she said. 

Fellow frosh Eric Vanhauwaert is studying chemistry. In addition to learning to manage all the changes that come with university life, he is looking forward to participating in intramural sports.

For returning students, they've already been through the drill. Some are using their experience to help newcomers to campus. Others, are hoping to focus this year on some of the campus activities and offerings they were unable to participate in during their first year.  

Pier Angeli Taruc, a third-year life science student, and Celina Tran, a recent graduate of the molecular genetics program, both remember getting lost during their first days on campus. So, this year both are working at the ASKme booth at King’s College Circle to make other students’ first week a little smoother.

“Most people have been asking how to get to their classes, Tran said. “Once we make eye contact, they’re usually fine coming over and asking questions.”

Read more about student tools like ASKme booths

Shannan Kallidass (pictured below) is studying international relations. After getting through first year, she wants to participate in more extracurricular activities this year.

“I made it through first year, and my goal this year is trying to get more involved in the university and student life by joining clubs.”

Clubs and campus organizations are also the best part of university for Arika Macaalay, who is in the third year of her program in communication, culture, information and technology, and political science at UTM.

"It may be hard to find a place to belong to in university, but if you look, you eventually find a club or academic society that suits you," she said. 

For some returning students, they still have jitters. 

Linda Zhou, a third-year international student of international relations, spent the summer volunteering in China. 

“I’m nervous because it’s my third year," she said. "I’m looking forward to my new courses, and I want to participate more in discussions and debates in my classes this year.”

Pierre Roquet, who is pursuing a specialist in digital enterprise management at UTM, is dealing with the excitement and pressures of final year. 

"I'm a bit nervous starting this year," he said. "I am going into my last year, and I need to get an internship for next semester to complete my degree requirements. So on top of school work, I need to figure out what I want to do once I'm done. It's all very exciting, but also nerve-wracking."

Students aren't alone when it comes to back-to-school nerves.

Professor Anne Urbancic (pictured below) teaches courses in the Pearson and Frye streams of the Vic One Program and a Capstone course at Victoria College. She looks forward to watch students learn things for the time, but is anxious too.

“I generally don’t sleep the night before school starts," she said. "I want so much for the students to succeed, and I want reach out to them and make sure that what I’m teaching them is not mundane."

Despite this anxiousness, Urbancic says she loves the school year.

“I love the energy of the students," she said. "I really take in that energy, and it animates me. It challenges me. I’m always excited to go back into the classroom.”