Political Science: Student Testimonials

Joelle Mokhtar

Majors: Political Science and Major City Studies

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

I chose to enter my major in Political science because I originally wanted to pursue a career in Law, so I thought entering a program on political science would best suit my interests. Also, when I was in high school, I had a class trip for my law class and we had met multiple people who occupied as judges, officers, lawyers, etc. I had asked most of them which program they had used for their undergraduate degree, and they had all answered the same, Political Science. Once I finally got into it in my first and second year, I immediately knew that this was a good choice for me. I loved to learn about the current events taking place around the world, and I liked to hear different causes and/or theories in order to make some sense out of it all. For my major in City Studies, I did not know how it started. I needed one more major during the process of adding my majors and I did not exactly want to specialize in political science because I wanted a broad learning experience and didn't want to focus all my capabilities and learning from one main topic. I chose to study City Studies as my second major because after reading the overviews of the required courses for the program, I grew interest in the subject fairly quickly. I wanted to understand how my city that I was born and raised in came about and the policies linked towards building anything in that city. This program is really interesting and I personally had started to learn towards this program by my third year. I did not see this coming but this goes to show how keeping an open mind and trying new things will start to shape your mentality and show you what you truly enjoy and fix you in the direction that you should head in.

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

Political Science is about politics, policies, theories of understanding why all issues possibly exist, and the solutions that would help cease those issues. City Studies is about learning about the city of Toronto and how it formed, all the issues it had been through, policies when developing a structure like zoning by-laws, the official plan, etc. I find this course interesting because I find it nice to know about how we could possibly make changes to our city and knowing the fact that we are capable of making these changes through learning all about it in lectures and courses related to different subtopics such as transportation planning, strategic planning, municipal planning, etc. I would honestly say that I enjoy taking any courses in city studies/planning.

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

1. Take opportunities!!! Join any club to get started on building your resume ASAP because before you know it, you will be walking on that stage, receiving that degree and not realizing that you did not do any extra-curriculars in the meantime. Also, making it harder to get into a grad-school of choice.
2. Take your time in courses! If you are unable to take a full course load every semester, give yourself a break. Spread out your courses. If that means summer school for some years, so be it. If that means another year, what’s one more year added to four? You will complete your degree anyways, so isn't it better to complete it well with great marks and a deeper understanding of your courses/program?
3. Talk to your professors! If it is simply about a question that you had in class but were too shy to ask in lecture, go to office hours and ask that question that your gut has been asking you to ask!!! You would rather know the answer in private than be curious as to what the answer could be by figuring it out for yourself.
 
What will you do with your degree after graduation? (Future plans?)

 
I plan on attending graduate school to get my master’s degree in urban planning.

What has your academic journey during your time been like as you progress toward graduation?
 
In my first year, I took different courses from different subjects; I tried to keep my schedule very diverse with the intention of realizing what I am truly interested in. I took courses in political science, psychology, sociology, media, and humanities. By the end of my first year, it was time to add my subject posts and I had chosen not to specialize in political science, but to major in it, so I had chosen to take a second major in city studies. I did pretty well in political science in my first year, which was why I had not chosen to mainly focus on city studies. Again, I tried to keep my options broad for my future in case anything was to go wrong. I believe that first year is meant to be an introductory year of experience in university and trying to find your strengths so when you reach your next couple years, you will be playing to your strengths. Although I did not join many clubs in my first year, I took it as a year to adjust to university because the jump from high school to university is a big step. In my second year, I had taken my first city studies course and I really enjoyed it. Second year was the year where I tried to join clubs, make friends with people in my program, and got to know professors. In the middle of my second year, I had unfortunately fallen in academic probation, because of the fact that I was over occupied with classes and homework, and work outside of school. Maintaining all those things was hard but that showed me how to pick myself up after falling that hard. By the end of my second year, I picked myself up out of probation, and started choosing my courses wisely. In my third year, I was involved in one club, started being familiar with professors and interacting with more people. By this point in my life, I have realized almost exactly what I plan to do with my life and I started thinking about graduate school and how to write a proper academic resume. By third year, students should have a sense of what they plan on doing for their career and start working on it at this time in their lives. Also, the process of planning includes how to graduate and what courses are left to take in order to graduate for the purpose of having a set out plan and not experiencing any bumps in the road in the meanwhile.

Stephanie Brown

Majors: Philosophy and Political Science

What factors contributed to you choosing your program(s)?
 
I have been interested in politics since high school but taking my first course in Philosophy in my first year made me want to major in that as well. I felt that learning critical thinking, argumentation, and reason would also help me in law school and beyond, as those skills are transferable to just about any field of work.
 
Can you describe your program(s)? What is it actually like?
 
Being in a philosophy program is really great for a number of reasons. At first, class sizes are quite large and the material might be very different from your other courses, but you will find very early on that you will have plenty of opportunity to form your own opinions based on the material in class. I went to a Catholic school, so for me it was exciting to be able to critically engage with topics such as religion or morality. As you go through the upper years, the topics get more in depth and the material is sometimes quite difficult, but your classes will be smaller and you will have a lot of opportunities to discuss the material with your professor and your peers. As a result, you tend to get to know the people in your classes and make friends along the way. Majoring in Philosophy requires that you be prepared to do a lot of reading and writing. Learning to read and write philosophy articles is critical to your success in the program and courses such as Writing for Philosophy are designed to give you the skills you need to be successful in a Philosophy program.
 
What tips/advice can you provide to students just starting or considering this program(s)?
 
Tip #1 - Get to know the people in your program! The philosophy department is relatively small and you'll start to see familiar faces after taking a few classes. Your peers are a great resource to discuss ideas you might have for a paper or assignment. Plus it is really fun and interesting to get to know your fellow students and their views and opinions as well.
Tip #2 - Don't be afraid to start with the B-level philosophy courses right away! Many B level philosophy courses have no prerequisites and are accessible to students without much background in philosophy. If you ever run into trouble your TAs and your professor are always there to help.
 
What will you do with your degree after graduation?
 
I have applied to law school for the upcoming fall semester
 
What has your academic journey during your time been like as you progress toward graduation?
 
In first year, I mainly took general courses at the A level as I was not yet completely sure what I wanted to focus on but settled on doing a double major of Political Science and Philosophy. In second year, I made more connections on campus and joined clubs on groups which led me to get to know a huge variety of people on campus. In third year, I became very involved with the philosophy department as the president of the Association of Philosophy Students. Now I am in fourth year and I am focusing on what I plan to do after I graduate.

Christina Ashley Arayata

Majors:  English and Political Science 

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

I first chose these programs because I had the intentions of going to law school and they were the subjects I did best in high school. I did a lot of research and found out that English majors tended to better on the LSAT's further validating my decision. However, it has become much more than that when I saw what this program had to offer me - intersectionality. I chose a double major because I wanted variety and diversity. I also knew that the skills that I would gain from the English program would be transferable to many of the other fields that I was considering after my undergraduate degree.

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

Being part of this program is absolutely amazing and very different from what I expected it would be like in high school. The courses in both programs look for new ideas and insights providing students with a lot of freedom to explore their interests and passions, which also applies to selecting courses to achieve your major. My major in English, for example, is built upon mainly: theory, contemporary literature, and film while my major in Political Science focuses on Canadian politics and policy and political philosophy. Both programs have allowed me to unpack politics and literature and a vast number of real-world issues like politics or scientific advancement. That's what really got me hooked to my double major, seeing the intersectionality and the intertwining of the skill sets I've learned and applied them in all of my courses and in the real world.

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

1) Explore. Take a variety of courses in your first and second year. Your heart may be set on your program but you could find a new interest that you may want to minor in. Even if you don't like it the knowledge you have learned from it will apply to other humanities courses you may take.

2) Ask Questions. Only after I started asking questions and talking to my professors, did I really start learning and that's when I saw my GPA improve. Not asking enough questions is one of the things I regret the most. I missed out on really learning and other campus opportunities on campus. I know it's daunting to ask questions and talk to professors. But, what I have learned is that no question is a stupid question and that professors care and do want to talk to their students.

3) Take time to yourself and have fun, it's hard being a student! Many of us are full-time students, work part-time jobs, have family commitments, and extracurricular activities on and off campus. It gets busy and it gets overwhelming and I know that first hand. That's why it is crucial that you take the time to yourself to unwind and take care of yourself both physically and mentally: exercise, eat as well as you can, hang out with friends, watch a movie - do things that help you relax and unwind.

What will you do with your degree after graduation?

The area of humanities is a broad area of study that even in my last year it has been quite difficult to pinpoint what I really want to do with my degree. But, I have narrowed it down into applying for: masters in public policy and administration, masters in industrial relations, or law school.
What has your academic journey during your time been like as you progress toward graduation?
In my first and second year, I did a variety of courses along with my program prerequisites to not only expand and discover my interests but to also fulfil my breadth requirements. Taking this variety of courses helped find me find what I'm interested in and solidified my decision in doing a double major in English and Political Science. In my third year, I started really focusing on finishing up the different courses I have left for my degree as well as getting involved with SELF as their Chair Coordinator. Now, in my fourth year I am finishing up the few credits I have left, applying for professional/graduate schools, and continuously pushing myself for new experiences and better academic performance.

Whisang Chu

Specialist:  Political Science

What factors contributed to you choosing your program(s)?
 
My interests were always in the social sciences, but I had joined the Pre-management program in thinking about my future. However, I came to learn that my strengths were more useful to me in the social sciences rather than in other areas, so I decided to change majors.

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

The political science program was very different from the Pre-management program at UTSC. Personally, I felt like a number in large lecture halls and in the political science program I felt more comfortable. The TAs in the Political science program really helped me out in the year I switched programs, because they offered individual help and support. The smaller tutorials were very helpful and created an environment where you could get to know the TA and other classmates, which I liked a lot more. The Political Science program is a very interesting program where students are able to voice their opinions and apply things they learn in class in real life situations, and really engage in discussions with peers and professors. The professors and TAs are very intelligent and great at teaching as well, which I found very important. I am very grateful to many of my TAs and professors I have met throughout my years at UTSC.

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

Attend lectures, pay attention, and ask questions. Understanding material from readings may be good, but not enough to do well. If you engage in class discussions and ask questions, not only will you remember the material better later, but your overall experience in the class will improve. Don't be afraid to disagree with something your professor or other classmates say. Most of the time you are not the only one who thinks so, and many times there is no right answer. Your opinion is very important, so voice it!

What will you do with your degree after graduation?

I plan on getting an internship or looking for a job in the field of international relations. I do not necessarily plan on working in the government, but if I am able to get Canadian citizenship, that is definitely an option. I may also pursue a Master's degree in Global Affairs either in Canada or in the United States in the future.

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

First year was very difficult for me. I am an international student from Brazil and my graduating class comprised of only 54 people, so it was really like a small family for me. When I arrived, it was very different and difficult for me to adapt. As a result, it took me longer to really get used to the University routine, and did not know how to get help. The program I was in was not very enjoyable to me, and so I decided to switch out from the Pre-management program in my second year. In my second year, I was still deciding what program to join. With the help of some friends and support from family, I looked for help from the school and found out they were very helpful. I was able to join the Political Science Program because there were no requirements to join it, and immediately began taking Political Science courses. I was still thinking about pursuing a psychology major or minor as well, but later decided to choose the specialist program for political science. Once I took political science courses, I was genuinely interested in the course material and the TAs in my courses really helped me succeed. I constantly asked them for help and they were so kind to take the time to really try to help me. I still struggled a bit, but because I had support, it was definitely more enjoyable and I felt happier. By the end of my second year, I was still behind in Political science credits to graduate within 4 years, so I decided to stay in Canada and take summer courses. As they were C-level courses, the classroom sizes were a lot smaller and I really liked that. It was less intimidating to ask questions in lectures and talk to the professors, which helped me understand things a lot better. In my third year, I was still taking required courses for my program, and trying to fulfill some of the breadth requirements needed to graduate. It was a lot easier to follow a guideline because by then I had decided to specialize in political science. The courses were still very interesting and I decided to follow the international relations stream, which interested me the most and I really enjoyed my classes. Overall, the courses went well and I was happy to have joined the political science program. I am currently in my fourth and last year. The first semester went by well and I am looking forward to my last semester at UTSC. D-level courses are very different, in a good way. They offer much smaller classroom sizes and the seminar courses are very interesting because you learn a lot from the professors and from your peers. They are basically discussions you have with your peers, led by very intelligent professors. They teach you a lot, and make you think in a way that you may not have before. I really enjoyed them.

Camille Galindez

Major: Political Science
Minors: Public Law and Women's & Gender Studies

What factors contributed to you choosing your program(s)?
 
When I first came to UTSC, I thought I was going to specialize in Political Science. I was interested in becoming an immigration lawyer and thought that this was the best way for me to build a strong foundation of skills and knowledge. This plan changed as UTSC taught me the strengths that came from bringing an inter-disciplinary approach to learning. When I took classes in women's and gender studies as an elective, I began seeing areas and themes that were discussed in my political science classes. This included themes such as equal rights, the realm of work, and migration. Seeing these intersections helped me see a new way I could bring together my learning experiences. As a political science student, I was getting an understanding of the technical aspects of policy and politics, while studying gender classes helped give me contextual framework. When the Political Science department introduced the Public Law stream and distributed the course offerings, I thought that these could help me towards my goal of becoming a lawyer by giving me a better understanding of the legal system.
 
Can you describe your program(s)? What is it actually like?
 
Being a part of these programs really helped me develop my ability to be an independent learner, develop my understanding of the areas, and think critically about the world around me. While the assignments were research heavy, professors usually gave you topic suggestions that were broad enough for people to pick something they truly were interested in from the classes. Junior courses were broad enough for people to really explore the topics within political science, gender studies, and public law. It is this ability to explore areas I may have not been exposed to before that changed my interest in becoming a lawyer to choosing the master's program I'm currently enrolled in. I was interested in immigration because of my parent’s decision to move from their home to Canada, in search of better opportunities. I saw the importance of having work in the immigration process. However, the ability to dive deep into Canada's political and legal system helped me see work in a whole new way in Canada's context. The ability to really get into these topics helped me see all the new ways I could interact with the immigration process and other social issues through my new understanding of work.
 
What tips/advice can you provide to students just starting or considering this program(s)?
 
Talking to professors can be absolutely terrifying but it is such an integral part of the learning process. If office hours are too big of a step, I recommend getting in touch with the Departmental Student Association's to find out when they'll be hosting mix and mingle events with the professors. This is a good way to get to know your professors but also get to know professors who will be teaching courses or areas you're interested in. Go to the AA&CC and Writing Centre, I cannot stress this enough! They have program specific resources that can help you. Whether it is for research skills, study skills, or career development, they can help you in your realm of study. The Writing Centre is another great place. Find out if there is anyone there who specializes in the subject area you are writing for. As a graduate student, I still find myself using my school's writing centre. Go to all of the networking and extracurricular events. The Lunch and Learns and Mix and Mingles that I attended helped my understanding of all the ways the program branched out into the world. People provided invaluable advice for the working world. However, I think the best piece of advice that I got from these events was that it was okay to fail and that it was okay to not have an answer for everything.
 
What will you do with your degree after graduation? (Future plans?)
 
I've already graduated and my degree from UTSC has really helped me throughout my master's program in industrial relations. Those readings may seem heavy at times, but they have helped me a lot! I find myself referencing and revisiting them throughout my courses. My master's program really emphasizes the disciplinary approach and I'm able to use what I know and try to push myself to see subjects from different disciplinary lenses. In addition, what I learned through the public law program has been foundational for my understanding of the main issues of my program. Because my program goes very deeply into labour law, the things I have learned from public law courses have helped me really strengthen what I'm currently learning. However, one interesting piece that I got out of the political science program was the quantitative analysis credit that I needed. Being exposed to how statistics and social science intersected gave me the leg up I needed in my master's program.
 
What has your academic journey during your time been like as you progress toward graduation?
 
My undergraduate experience was a rollercoaster. I finished strong in my first year. Anxious about my undergraduate experience, I would frequently visit the AA&CC to talk about my study habits and how I could make sure I could stay on my path towards graduate school. However, my transition into second year was met with a couple of personal challenges that affected my studies. Finding support through student services was imperative for overcoming my personal challenges and succeed in my third year. Fortunately, through the support I received from student service departments, I was able to bounce back and become more involved with my academics. By third year, I was narrowing my academic interests down and by fourth year, I was taking a lighter course load focused specifically on areas I was interested in such as an independent research project. My experience between first to third years was imperative in accomplishing the independent research project because of its need for taking my learning towards its own direction.
 
 

Srusti Pandya

Major: Public Policy Co-op,
Minors: Political Science and Biology
 

What factors contributed to you choosing your program(s)?
 
I have been changing programs from my first year at UTSC till recently, my 4th year fall semester. I came to UTSC interested in pursuing a Chemistry co-op program and ever since then, I have shown an interest for programs in biology, psychology, management, environmental science, health studies and political science. As I progressed throughout my undergrad, I was always curious to explore the wide variety of courses UofT offered. Having always been a science student, I decided to use these four years to explore my interests and discover which program I can thrive in. Multiple factors, like academic & personal interests, future career opportunities, professors and academic performance, have contributed to these choices. Ultimately I decided on these program choices, specifically Public Policy co-op, because of the multidisciplinary nature of the program. It encompassed my multiple interests, as it allowed me to take courses in public policy, political science, management, health studies, while also giving me valuable professional experience in the industry.
 
Can you describe your program(s)? What is it actually like?
 

The multidisciplinary approach to this program allows you to gain a deep understanding of public policies and government processes, while still being able to study and apply this to your other interest areas. This program equips you with the qualitative and quantitative analytical skills you would need to be successful policy analysts. In my case, it even enabled me to be a successful business analyst. This is in large part due to the great professors in the department and the classroom dynamics, which allow you to actively interact with the professor and other students. You can always count on professors to help you with coursework as well as guide you in your professional aspirations. Another highlight of the program is the co-op option where you have the opportunity to apply your skills and knowledge at great placements, in the public, private or non-profit sectors. Through my 8 month placement at Cancer Care Ontario, a provincial agency under the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, I was able to grow professionally and personally. The exposure I received and network I built made my Public Policy experience truly comprehensive. This is largely attributed to the rigorous Public Policy program and resources offered by the Co-op department and AA&CC. Although the courses and co-op search can be difficult, successfully overcoming these challenges makes a tremendous contribution to your professional and personal growth.
 
What tips/advice can you provide to students just starting or considering this program(s)?

 
1) Public Policy is a great program to be in and at an early stage one of the things I would advise is to really use the opportunity to explore your interests. In order to be successful in any program you need to have a passion for what you are studying and have a purpose for studying it. This enables you to thrive in it and be able to face any challenges. The best way to really do this is to push yourself outside of your comfort zone and do the research. This can mean exploring different courses, talking to faculty members about opportunities in public policy, connecting with students who have gone through this program and meeting with representatives from AA&CC and the Co-op department. The key is to really internalize your program choice and ensure what you are studying complements your interests, skills and aspirations.
2) The second piece of advice I would give is to be active on campus. One thing I have always kept consistent throughout my four years is my extracurricular activities, along with seeking out new opportunities. These experiences allow you to meet new people and network. You will find you have a lot in common with them, yet still realize that every UofT student has a unique story to share. As you build your network, you will learn of new opportunities which can only add to your growth. In addition, being involved with clubs and DSAs makes you feel like you are part of a community yet still allow you to stand out. Your extracurricular activities will be just as much of a learning experience as your classes.
3) Have fun! As a 4th year student, I can say how important and memorable your undergraduate experience is. I know it can be stressful and you can often lose direction. It's just as important to take the time out to take care of yourself as it is to work hard in school. This involves managing your time and giving yourself a break when needed. Remember, there is no one path to being successful so always go for the experiences that reflect who you are as an individual.
 
What will you do with your degree after graduation?
 

One of the best things about an undergraduate degree, especially one in Public Policy, is that it equips you with the essential skills needed to be successful in any post-grad direction you take. Whether you want to secure employment or study further, all the doors are open for you. Upon graduation, I have a few directions I am considering. Since I continue to work at Cancer Care Ontario on a part-time basis, I may return to the organization on a full time basis after graduation; or find employment in another public sector organization in Toronto. Alternatively, I may take a year off to pursue a public policy internship or social entrepreneurship in India. In the long term, I see myself completing a Masters in Public Policy and/or a Masters in Business Administration. I think one of the key things is to not stress about committing to what you will do after graduation. Continue to explore and gain different experiences!
 
What has your academic journey during your time been like as you progress toward graduation?
 

My first year at UTSC focused on taking the key courses for the sciences, while also exploring out of the sciences to learn more about management and economics. Outside of academics, I joined clubs and began to socialize and meet new people. I also opted out of the co-op program. By second year, I was more used to university life and had developed good study habits. I continued to take more courses in the sciences and maintain involvement on campus. This was also the year I took courses in the social sciences and started volunteering off campus. As I broadened my exposure, I began to reflect and critically think about my interests and future aspirations. At the end of second year, I made a big change and decided to pursue a Public Policy major and opt back into the co-op program. I was initially hesitant to do so because I didn't know what to expect but it turned out to be one of the best decisions I made. I was able to fully immerse myself into the coursework and gain a better understanding of which direction I wanted to head in. The first half of my third year was spent juggling public policy and science coursework, clubs, volunteering, a part-time job and seeking a co-op placement. The second half was spent at my co-op placement: Cancer Care Ontario. Now being in my fourth year, I recently decided to do another program change and switch from my second Human Biology major to a double minor in Political Science and Biology. The focus of this year has been completing my program requirements and trying to squeeze in as many interesting courses as I can. I also look forward to completing an undergraduate thesis in innovation policy. I am also continuing my involvement with clubs and a part-time position at Cancer Care Ontario. While I look forward to graduating this June, I am also trying to make the most of the last few months of my undergraduate experience. Although my academic journey has had a lot of ups and down, it has been a great memorable experience. The impact it has had on my personal and professional growth is tremendous!

 

Zabikhulla Yari

Specialist: Political Science
Minor: Public Law

What factors contributed to you choosing your program(s)?
 
Coming to UTSC, I knew I wanted to study Political Science. Because I was interested in history, politics, and law in high school, I knew that Political Science would be the right fit. One thing that I was surprised and delighted to see, is that students were required to take multiple programs. This would allow us to specialize in different areas. After exploring other options and taking courses in Public Law, I knew that this is something I wanted to minor in. Much of this interest stemmed from my appreciation of the laws and the court system we have in Canada. This encouraged me to take more public law courses, and eventually I decided to complete the minor.
 
Can you describe your program(s)? What is it actually like?

 
Public Law is a fantastic program. Not only do the courses rigorously train you academically, but they were also intellectually appealing. I have taken courses on the courts, constitution, employment law, human rights, and much more. Our instructors are also distinguished professionals who always go above and beyond in assisting their students. If you are planning to pursue a Law degree, this is the perfect program for you.
 
What tips/advice can you provide to students just starting or considering this program(s)?
 

First and foremost, do your readings. You have probably heard this everywhere, but completing the assigned readings is crucial to understanding the lecture. Second, engage in class discussions! Not only will you get those tutorial participation marks, but being active in classrooms will help you understand the class content. Lastly, get involved with campus clubs! The Political Science Students' Association, The Debate Club, and Model UN are excellent choices. This is where you can apply your knowledge and meet your fellow peers.
 
What will you do with your degree after graduation? (Future plans?)
 

I am planning to work for a year and then apply for graduate school. I am hoping to pursue a Master's degree in International Relations or Public Policy. We'll see!
 
What has your academic journey during your time been like as you progress toward graduation?
 

My academic journey has been full of personal and professional growth. Starting first year, I was getting used to this new environment. I'll be honest; I did not do well academically. At all. However, with the help of Academic Advising and Career Centre and other support groups on campus, I was able to get on my feet and succeed both academically and socially. Starting second year, I became involved on campus. This allowed me to make new friends and build connections. In third year, I started working on campus and become increasingly more involved. I'm not sure how the science works behind this, but being involved on top of your academics increases your marks. You will genuinely feel more connected to the community, and as a result happier which leads to quality academic work. Lastly, my final year has been full of exciting and new opportunities. The hard work throughout the years has paid off. I was hired as a research assistant by my professor and I also work at the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Nonetheless, my years at UTSC did not come without challenges. There were many. However, persistence and dedication is key. There are many resources available at UTSC, I highly recommend to take advantage of them!

Abby Leung

Specialist: Political Science
Minor: Public Law

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

When I was in Grade 12, I was struggling to decide what I wanted to study in university and as a result, I applied to a number of programs at a number of universities. My high school encouraged students to explore numerous career paths and as a teenager, I had (and still have!) a passion for many subjects ranging from biology, chemistry, history, dramatic arts, and law! I spent some time thinking about my strengths, my goals for the future, and my passion to help others and I began to narrow down my choices after attending the March showcase at UTSC where I met a number of students at the Political Science department who discussed not only the political science programs at UTSC but also a new public law minor that would focus on the laws and court systems in Canada. After much reflection, I decided that I wanted to use my strengths in writing and critical analysis to help others and thus, I chose to specialize in political science and minor in public law at UTSC because I wanted to learn more about the courts, the political process in Canada, and how politics and law affects everyone every single day whether we know it or not.
 
Can you describe your program(s)? What is it actually like?
 
Studying political science and public law is amazing because not only do you learn about the legal system, the courts, and the law itself, but you also learn valuable academic skills that tests you intellectually and trains you for a wide range of careers outside of university. The courses allow students to think critically about the law and of the institutions within our society which allows students to use and develop their critical and analytical skills which are very crucial not just for university courses but for any career once students graduate from university. The political science program as well as the public law program train students to use these skills as well as writing and logical reasoning and apply them in university courses and the world outside of university.

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

As a first year, I was blown away by the amount of work that you had to complete every week in order to understand and solidify the content not just for one course but for five different courses! Always start your readings and your work early because the work will pile up and before you know it, final projects, essays, and exams will be lurking just around the corner! In addition, the professors and staff at the university may seem intimidating but they are there to help students with any questions about the coursework so if you have any questions about the coursework, student life, careers after graduation, or about life (!) talk to the professors and the university staff on campus, they are there to help. Lastly, students should be active not just in their classes and studying but also around the campus itself. A great way to get involved with campus life and to meet new friends and peers is to join different student organizations and clubs whether the clubs are linked to your program or not. By joining different organizations, you'll get to meet new people who are in your program as well as people who are not in your program so that not only will you meet new friends, but you will become a person who will be more integrated within the UTSC community.

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

I am planning to apply and attend law school after graduation where I hope to earn a JD degree!

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

My academic journey has been more stable than others but I mostly attribute it to learning about the university and the experiences of students at the university level prior to attending UTSC as well as polishing my studying and reading habits. Taking a number of courses outside of my program in first year allowed me to have an appreciation of the different programs at UTSC and I was able to make friends with students who were not in my program. I finished my first year feeling confident about myself and decided to become more active in extracurriculars around the campus since I had decided to solidify my academic skills prior to engaging in more extracurriculars. I began to broaden my critical thinking skills in second year as my courses began to become more centralized in political science and delved into more specific subject material. After finishing my second year, I decided to take on new experiences and diversify my education by studying criminology with other U of T students at Oxford University in August through the Summer Abroad program. As I begin my third year, I hope that I can continue to succeed academically as well as to continue to help students around campus through my involvement in student organizations on campus. My academic journey has been very memorable so far and I hope to create new and exciting memories in my third and fourth year!
 

Sam Nami

Specialist:  Political Science

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

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

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

 
Stay on top of readings, Ask professor questions Stay on top of political updates
 
What will you do with your degree after graduation? (Future plans?)
 

Hopefully law school
 
What has your academic journey during your time been like as you progress toward graduation?
 
The first year was met with challenges adapting to the new environment Second year was difficult in terms of getting to know professors and academic circles Third is stressful for GPA