Applied Statistics: Student Testimonials

Ian Jr. Il Won

Specialist: Mental Health
Minor: Applied Statistics
 

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

I had a significant interest in the field of Mental Health. I was confident that this is a field in which I wanted to pursue my career in as I was interested in helping people with various mental health challenges. This program offered in University of Toronto Scarborough gravitated me into applying to this school, as I was confident that it would extend my knowledge in assessing, diagnosing, and treating various mental disorders. While I was in the process of taking the program requirements to finish this specialist, I came across the statistics courses that were needed to finish this program. These statistics courses stirred up my curiosity as I found another interest and skill in which I wanted to keep on studying onwards.

Can you describe your program(s)? What is it actually like?

This specialist in Mental Health is going to provide a deeper understanding in the clinical aspects of Psychology, mainly focusing on the pathologies of the mind. Mental Health Studies allows for exploration in the different etiologies of mental illnesses and the extent to which it impacts the brain. This program provides opportunities to assess, diagnose, and treat various mental health challenges. Studying statistics helps to practice the fundamentals of statistics, to collect, organize, analyze, interpret, and present data. Certainly, it enhanced my quantitative skills, and the ability to minimize uncertainty in decision making. There are a variety of courses they offer in the field of Mental Health and Statistics, here at UTSC, which allow further understanding in aspects like research methods, clinical-based approaches, etc.

What tips/advice can you provide to students just starting or considering this program(s)?

1) Stay organized. Make sure you know your program requirements and plan it out. Volunteer opportunities, part-time jobs, extracurricular activities, having a social life, personal commitments, and maintaining a high marks require a large time commitment so, prioritize and plan it carefully.
 
2) Always make relations with professors in your courses. Make an effort or take the initiative to talk to the professor, especially when you are interested in applying to Master programs or post-graduate studies. The professors will more than gladly help you by answering questions about post-graduate studies. If you are not at this point, then look into the research the professors are conducting. UTSC offers work study opportunities, which allow you to explore the different research studies and career options, while gaining hands-on experience by working alongside the professor and other students.
 
3) Enjoy what you study and explore. There are so many great opportunities in which you can connect and obtain information about possible job careers. While taking electives or program requirements, there are bound to be areas in which stir your curiosity and may help narrow your career path. Try and explore the different extracurricular activities you can participate in these diverse and numerous clubs and events will lead you to gain extraordinary skills which are helpful in the work force. Eliminate the paths you are sure you don’t want to pursue your career in, that way you can narrow your search. Ultimately, pursue in the path you are gravitated towards.

What will you do with your degree after graduation? (Future plans?)

Specializing in Mental Health and having a minor in Applied Statistics allows you to apply your knowledge and the science of psychology to their assessment, diagnosis, and treatment as well as having deep understanding in designing effective experiments. These programs allow both experiential learning in two separate areas in which I believe I can integrate the key skills that I obtained for what I want to do in the future. I hope to pursue my career in research positions in which I can transfer my knowledge from my statistics minor while constructing and analyzing data. Ideally, I would want to find a career in which I can implement all the skills that I have gained and built from my Mental Health Specialist and Applied Statistics Minor.

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

In the first year of my studies, I took the program requirements for mental health, as well as business, economics, and math courses as I had a grave interest in this field at the time. During this year, I explored the different extracurricular activities that UTSC offered and joined a number of them. When second year came around, I began taking mostly the program requirements for my mental health specialist. In third year, I leaned toward the cultural-psychology courses as that was my main area of interest. This was the year in which I decided to do a minor in statistics; therefore, I took the second and third year courses to completing this minor. I believe that there was a big jump from my second to third year in my studies, in terms of work load and course content. My fourth year contained the last courses in finishing my specialist in mental health and minor in applied statistics. It's been a long and tough journey yet; I know that my time and effort paid off considering how far I've come and by knowing which path I am headed off to.

Taylor Cassidy Paulite

Major: Chemistry
Minors: Psychology and Applied Statistics

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

A whole bunch of factors in my academic and social career contributed to me choosing this specific program. As a high school student, I always felt like I've succeeded in science. Thus, pursuing anything “Chemistry” felt just perfect to me. So when I started my first year at the university, I intended on double majoring in Biochemistry and Human Biology with the intent on being a dermatologist. As the first year of university started, I joined clubs and took psychology as my breathe requirement. After many months, I did not enjoy Biology as much as I thought I would - with the skipping of classes and dreading reading the textbook, I looked up the course requirements for switching into just a Chemistry program and it felt perfect. So after a year in Biology, I decided to quit Biochemistry and to switch to just Chemistry. Alongside that termination in first year, I found out that I enjoyed Psychology as well. Psychology gave me tools to answer modern day psychology questions such as "how does your childhood affect your personality" or "how does financial stability affect someone's perspective on life and achievement". Through the journey of learning these tools, I have felt like pursuing a minor in this field is worthwhile. After my second year in university, I left the full-time student life to be a full-time worker as part of my co-op program. Through the year off I have learned a lot about myself, such as my great independent, leadership and creative skills and about workplaces. What I learned about modern workplaces is that one key is extremely crucial, knowing how to work with data. After learning basic statistical analyses in my STAB22 requirement for Psychology, I decided to give a minor in Applied Statistics a try. And to this day, I have no regrets.
 
Can you describe your program(s)? What is it actually like?

This program combination is very challenging in a sense that no courses overlap, you learn many new things every day. Although challenging, it is rewarding. Depending on how you are as a student, you can either hate or love this program combination. In my case, I love it. I am used to hard work and changing environments, thus making this program very smooth and easy going for myself. Therefore, if you plan on taking this program combination, be prepared to learn new things every day and to learn a lot more about the world in comparison to taking just a specialist in one field.
 
What tips/advice can you provide to students just starting or considering this program(s)?

Tips and or advice that I can provide to students that are starting or considering this program is that being a well-rounded student is very critical in the workplace. Although the science field is very prestigious, it does not have many employment opportunities in comparison to business or computer science. It is great for research but not for industry based careers. Therefore, add in a practical minor, which is what I did, an Applied Statistics minor. Also, add in something you love, which for me was Psychology and Chemistry. Right now, I see limited jobs in my field but I know through my well-roundedness I believe I can create or find a job that mixes together all of my skills. Therefore, all in all, my advice is to make sure you choose a practical part of your degree, choose a part of your degree you are in love with and make sure you stay a well-rounded student with this program.
 
What will you do with your degree after graduation? (Future plans?)

 
What I plan on doing with my degree is to seek my options, since my program is in different fields, I plan on trying a job in Business, that combines both the insight of theories used in Psychology and practical skills used in Chemistry and Applied Statistics. Therefore, I plan on going straight to industry based work rather than research. I believe that I am better suited to learn more about the world through working with different companies and growing within those company walls.

What has your academic journey during your time been like as you progress toward graduation?
 
My academic journey has been quite a bumpy ride. My first year, I had a lot of confidence, thinking I can get a 4.0 GPA and join a lot of clubs. But through the hardship, I had to change my majors for my degree mentally, around 50 times. The sometimes tedious mandatory classes have taught me the critical skills that I needed, but initially dreaded, since I was given so much freedom as a university student. However, after a summer semester, work-study job, great extra-curricular activities and my love for powerlifting, my third year was the best year. I learned to manage all my classes in a timely manner as well learning to apply my knowledge from my classes to the outside context. It also taught me that GPA is very important but it should not run your life, therefore if you do make a mistake causing a small dip in your GPA, don't sweat it and learn from your mistakes. Everybody makes mistakes, therefore don't cry that you make one, you're human. After my second year, I went straight to a year long co-op job, which made me miss my academics. A full time job is a lot less challenging than university content and rather repetitive and relies more on efficiency than creativity. This allowed me to forget about my academics and focused more on interdependent skills. Through all this learning from the inside of the textbook and out, both the life of a full-time student and full-time co-op student has helped me with both the critical thinking skills at school and efficiency skills at work that will prepare me for the real world after graduation and the end goal to graduate.