Anthropology: Student Testimonials

Christina Chu

Major: English
Minors: English Literature & Anthropology
 

What factors contributed to you choosing your program(s)?
 
I've always enjoyed reading. I wanted to pursue English as a major, but I was also keenly interested in studying Anthropology. I wanted to attend a school which would be supportive of my academic interests. For this matter, UTSC offered me the greatest flexibility for picking and choosing English and Anthropology as disciplines of study. I think academic success requires an open, supportive community, and UTSC has always enabled me to cultivate my curiosities.
 
Can you describe your program(s)? What is it actually like?
 
In the English program, my favourite part of class is the group discussions. While the whole class may read the same repertoire, it is fascinating to listen to individuals' diverse perspectives. Professors are very friendly and inclusive. Many of my professors have made the effort to know everyone's name in the class, which has made the experience more personal and engaging. Notably, I found the repertoire to be "culturally diverse," in that there are classes which offer texts which may not be traditionally considered as part of the English literary canon. In addition, I've found that the small class sizes for the upper level/D-courses are fantastic for learning, as it really allows you to dive deep into the material for a greater depth of understanding. In the Anthropology program, I have found the labs to be extremely helpful in broadening my understanding through tactile learning with respect to the skeletal models. It is always encouraging to learn with others who are passionate about the learning process. There are also a lot of incredible field opportunities available for students. For example, students in upper years have the opportunity to apply as a field assistant to "work abroad" in Madagascar or Kenya.
 
What tips/advice can you provide to students just starting or considering this program(s)?
 
1) Jump Two Feet In - I'm talking about commitment. Be committed to your academic goals, as well as shaping your academic experience. It is impossible to achieve your best work, if you don't set yourself up for the best possible outcome. You must have a vision for what that success looks like.

2) Be An Expert Learner - You've got to be great at knowing how to fall. You are the only person who can know yourself to the greatest degree, and knowing your own weaknesses will enable you to overcome them. It may not happen overnight, but if are proactive and honest with yourself, you can seek help to make sure it doesn't happen. i.e. The Writing Centre or the Research Help Desk are GREAT resources for ensuring your writing skills are on point. Also, don't be afraid to ask TA's or classmates for help. People are usually willing to help if you are specific about what you are trying to tackle.

3) Be Your Own Cheerleader - Academic learning may be isolating at times, however, if you stick to your goals and reinvigorate your passion along the way, you can absolutely do what you've set out to accomplish.
 
What will you do with your degree after graduation? (Future plans?)
 
I am aspiring to apply to law school following my graduation. I would like to use my passion for language and communication to help others solve problems within the legal realm. Currently, I am interested in pursuing work in Finance and/or Intellectual Property.
 
What has your academic journey during your time been like as you progress toward graduation?

My time at UTSC to this point has been extremely positive. I joined the Salsa class at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre, as well as the UTSC Debate Club. I think it is crucial for students to have exposure to different social clubs and events, which enable a more balanced approach to academic learning. Joining the clubs gave me a great opportunity to meet students from other disciplines, as well as try something new (like Salsa moves) to challenge myself outside the classroom.

Amina Shabeen

Major: Psychology
Minors: Biology & Anthropology

What factors contributed to you choosing your program(s)?
 

I chose the three programs to explore my interest in pursuing a career in the health care field from varying perspectives and disciplines.
 
Can you describe your program(s)? What is it actually like?
 

As much as I enjoyed studying psychology and biology due to course contents that captured my interest, I want to make a special mention of my anthropology minor in socio-cultural anthropology stream which really helped me see the bigger picture. As this program is very multi-disciplinary in nature, I was able to think more critically and become more culturally sensitive-which is essential when pursuing a career in the health care field. I also managed to refine my writing skills and, most importantly, learned to articulate myself more effectively as a result of engagement in dialogues within classes and through various programs and seminars offered by the faculty. The small class sizes and very engaging faculty has enhanced my undergraduate career overall.

 
What tips/advice can you provide to students just starting or considering this program(s)?
 
For anthropology courses, I would highly encourage speaking to professors about your initial ideas for papers and assignments. They do an excellent job of guiding your thoughts which will make the process a little less scary and more enjoyable. I would also recommend making a conscious effort to skim through the readings before class if not read them entirely. For biology courses, it is very important to give yourself enough time to familiarize with the course content. It is okay to fall a bit behind, but it is critical to realize that cramming just doesn't work for many upper year courses. Therefore, even if you fall behind, pace yourself and make a schedule that works for you to get through the material well before the exams.  For psychology courses, information is easy to understand but there is a LOT of content so be sure to make/ access good quality chapter and lecture notes that can be reviewed shortly before the exams.
 

What will you do with your degree after graduation?
 
I plan on pursuing a career in Medicine or Clinical Psychology.
What has your academic journey during your time been like as you progress toward graduation?
In my first year, like most undergraduate students, I did not have much idea of what program I wanted to choose. I went ahead and did the first year life science courses (biology, chemistry, psychology) and some interesting electives. At the end of my first year, I decided to major in Psychology and Neuroscience. After my second year, I realized I wanted to take courses where I can do more writing and socio-cultural anthropology really interested me so I decided to scale my psychology major down to a minor to make space for an anthropology minor. As a student who is heavily involved on and off campus, I found the course load to be very intense. After my third year, I decided to do another minor program switch and scale psychology back up to a major, do a minor in biology (since I almost finished it while working towards Neuroscience major) and kept the anthropology minor. I always stuck with courses I enjoyed and kept checking back to see which program would these courses count towards. Therefore, I am finishing my degree without doing any extra courses than required for completion of a degree.

Maham Aqil

Major: International Development Studies  
Minors: Anthropology and Political Science

What factors contributed to you choosing your program(s)?
 

I took world issues in high school and I fell in love with the subject.
 
Can you describe your program(s)? What is it actually like?
 

International Development is a program that takes a critical approach to development. You get to take core International Development courses and choose courses from other programs such as Health Studies, Anthropology, Politics, Economics etc. Thus, this program has a very diverse aspect to it. One can choose to approach development through many different lenses.
 
What tips/advice can you provide to students just starting or considering this program(s)?
 

1) Don't panic when assignments start to pile up, make a timetable and stick to it!
2) Be proactive
3) get involved! The IDS community is very welcoming and supportive getting involved helps you be part of a huge IDS family.
 
What will you do with your degree after graduation?

Law School

What has your academic journey during your time been like as you progress toward graduation?

First year was a lot of fun and full of surprises, I learned how to study, time manage and made a lot of friends. Second year really enhanced my knowledge of development studies, most International Development Studies core courses are offered in second year. Third year, I went on my Coop term. Fourth year, I got involved in a lot of groups on campus such as Political Science Student Association and International Development Conference. Fifth year, I became the president of International Development Student Association.