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Biochemistry: Student Testimonials

Aryana Singh

Majors: Biochemistry and Human Biology

What factors contributed to you choosing your program(s)?
 
These programs took the topics that I found most interesting in the organization of biological structures and systems, including Organic Reaction and Cellular Processes. Furthermore, as these two majors are fairly similar in their course requirements, I was able to take several electives in order to broaden my knowledge.
 
Can you describe your program(s)? What is it actually like?
 

Through my program, I was able to gain a lot of practical experience. I really enjoyed this aspect of my studies as it allowed me to gain a lot of hands on experience to exercise what would otherwise be understood through reading and theory study. The counter side to having practical experience would be having several hours of class in a single week, which really requires you to appropriately manage your time to stay on top of both the lecture component and the practical component of a course.
 
What tips/advice can you provide to students just starting or considering this program(s)?
 
First, in order to determine whether this is the right program for you, do not hesitate to contact a program adviser. They will be able to help you define your strengths and weaknesses; as well as, inform you of what you should expect as you progress through your program!
 
Second, as the courses that I have taken for my program involve I have needed to write several Formal Reports. I found the UTSC Library Resources and Databases extremely helpful when constructing Formal Lab Reports. Try to visit the Liaison Librarian for your program to understand what resources can help you with your assignments!
 
What will you do with your degree after graduation?
 

I strongly believe that there is so much more that I can gain from my education before entering the work force. Therefore, I would like to continue my post-secondary education through Graduate Studies. It is my hopes to pursue a degree related to my undergraduate studies, but that also allows me to adopt new skills and knowledge of other disciplines of science!
 
What has your academic journey during your time been like as you progress toward graduation?
 
Any journey has its highs and lows, bumps and curve-balls. I would not say that my academic journey was as smooth as it could have been, but I managed to rustle through it! In my first year, I did not have a set goal as to what I wanted to study during my time as an undergraduate student. It was my hope that by taking introductory courses and my second year courses in the sciences that I would be able to build a solid foundation for my interests to understand where I could see myself in the future. As it turns out, my interests were much broader than I anticipated. By the end of my first year, I knew that I wanted to take more electives to have a better perspective of the opportunities at my disposal and chose a program that allowed me to explore my options. By my third year, I was able to take courses that gave me a more in-depth understanding of my areas of interest.


Arika Hisatsune

Majors: Environmental science and Biochemistry
Minor: Biology

What factors contributed to you choosing your program(s)?
 
Since I received an acceptance letter, I always wanted to go for biochemistry specialist. That was my one and only goal. However, after attending my first year of university here, my vision changed. I choose these programs because I wanted to learn more of environmental science after taking first year courses and not only biochemistry. Biochemistry program offers me a deep understanding and application of expensive techniques in class and in labs that will allow me to stand out the most amongst other applicants for the future graduate studies. In labs, TAs are more helpful and you get to hear about their study or research as well, which gives me an idea of what I should expect in my further study. Also, in the environmental science program, professors will tell you about their research studies as well and are really motivated that you get to learn more than what is written on the textbook. Hearing about professionals' research  daily, you will not only get to acquire extra knowledge that other students probably won't have, but also, you sometime get to see the actual instrument and learn about them in depth, which you will need to know for your graduate studies. These two major programs are going to offer me a deep understanding of ‘life' around myself and I knew these programs would make me an overall well rounded applicant for graduate school, especially with multidisciplinary courses required for those majors.

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

Being a part of this program has taught me how to overcome my weaknesses and apply critical-thinking skills to actual workplace challenges or to real life situations. The highlights of these programs are that you will get to pick classes that you are most interested in as there will be a lot of options offered for you to pick from, to complete the degree. Also, as the level of the course proceeds, you get to learn, for example water, in more depth taught by professors that specialize in that field so you get to learn things others won't know.

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

  1. Visit the office hours of your professors or anyone who you know works in your program area. They will tell you of their experiences and their research in depth. Sometimes they allow you to assist in some of their research projects as well. Making connection with professors could allow you to have more potential to work in a department or company and gain valuable work experience. Those experiences could make you outstanding amongst others applying to the same graduate study programs and also, you will have a clearer vision on what you will be working on if you are really going to pursue that field.
  2. Put effort in studying. People might laugh at you for studying all the time, or call you a nerd, but don't mind them. If you have friends in other schools, they might make you feel a little depressed that you have to work much harder than they do to get a good grade since our school requires you to work hard and put in much effort into everything. However, you will gain more experience and knowledge out of those efforts which is a good thing! Keep believing in yourself and never give up and keep putting the effort into studying. Your time will come when it is right.
  3. Get involved with school and meet new people. Meeting people will allow you to have a better connection but also, learn more perspectives. Perspective in any field are important and it won't hurt to learn and know about more perspectives. Getting involved will allow you to have a better resume as well and I use meeting times as my break from studying. Take advantage of the many resources on campus. There are many opportunities you could jump onto at any time! 

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

The degree I earn will allow me to get involved in many fields in environmental science and also biochemistry, but my goal is to be a researcher in either of these fields. The degree will allow me to enrol into a grad school that offers a high education, which will allow me to be a better researcher or technician. Being a great researcher or technician will allow you to make a positive change to yourself but also to the greater society.
 
What has your academic journey during your time been like as you progress toward graduation?
 
First year was a rough year, and I'm not going to lie about it. I am sure that a lot of you had the same experience as I did and are scared of the next year or so, but do not worry, your upper years will be better. First year for me was really rough, I am an international student and being away from home by myself was tough but also, the school workload was way more than I expected. Chemistry and biology were not that bad, however, physics was really terrible such that I had to study everyday every minute yet my result did not come out as I wanted. I had friends who never studied but got a perfect mark on midterm or final, and I envied them. However, I did not have any problems with finding or making friends because I went out for residence events and was a member of intramural soccer team on campus. It was not easy for me to go tryout on the first day by myself, but I am glad that I did it because I made a lot of friends there and upper years on my team helped me get through a rough year. These activities helped me through the transition from high school to university. In second year, I learnt what I learnt in first year in more depth. I also got involved with school, went to office hours and I had to manage my time wisely and sometimes, I felt a little overwhelmed, but I made a lot of connections here that helped. I adapted my study habit from first year enough that in second year, I was on my butt all day and studying for my classes. My grades were great, and I regained confidence in myself. I am currently in my third year and I now have a great connections with my professors from last year that I go to their office hours, even though they are not currently my professors, to talk about topics that were brought up in my class or something that pops up in my head. It has not been a smooth nice path, but it definitely grew me as a person and I have learned lessons that I can apply to in the future.


Fat Malazogu

Majors: Biochemistry (Co-op) & Chemistry

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

In my first year of university I became really interested in how the human body works at the molecular and biochemical level. I wanted to gain a greater understanding how we are affected by different compounds, microbiota and the natural environment that surrounds us. The availability of co-op for Biochemistry, which gives you the opportunity to gain work related/research experience, also attracted me to the program. In addition, you can stand out of the crowd by combining the Biochemistry program with a wide range of major or minor programs

Can you describe your program(s)? What is it actually like?
There is quite a bit of variety with the Biochemisty program at UTSC. There are numerous courses that you can take that will familiarize you with the theory in biochemistry and its application. I especially enjoyed the rigorous lab courses where we applied our knowledge from lecture. My 1st and 2nd year consisted of basic life science courses where we covered general biology, chemistry, and calculus. However, after my 2nd year I was able to enroll in a lot of courses with interesting lab components. Some examples include Analytical Chemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology Laboratory, and Microbiology.
 
What tips/advice can you provide to students just starting or considering this program(s)?

  1. Think about what type of profession you want to have when you graduate. There are numerous resources on the web, you can talk to a family member or acquaintance etc. to give you a better idea what it's like working in that field. Would Biochemistry be a good fit to help you get there?
  2. Look at the "UTSC Calendar" for upper year courses you might be interested in. That may help you decide if this program is right for you.
  3. Having a good Life/Work/School balance is really important. Don't pass up on opportunities, however don't take up more than you can handle.

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

I enrolled in the Biochemistry major because I believe it provides a lot of flexibility of what you can do with it after graduation. I will possibly go into the medical field, pharmacy, or a graduate school program related to those fields.

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

My 1st and 2nd years of study mostly consisted of general chemistry, biology, and math courses. In second year my friends prompted me to join the Biology Student Association (BioSA), there I became a 2nd year representative. Student organizations are a great way to develop your leadership and soft skills while getting the chance to give back to the community. Generally, in the second year and onwards I found there is a lot more freedom with respect to course selection. I enrolled in several chemistry and biology courses with lab components and a couple ecology and evolutionary biology courses. I also started to volunteer in an ecology lab (The Cadotte Lab) and I have been fortunate enough to facilitate ecology FSGs (Facilitated Study Group). Third year has also been very eventful for me. I had the privilege of utilizing the skills gained in my classes to attain a co-op placement in a laboratory, where I am now. I hope to bring back the knowledge/skills and apply it in my studies.


Eric Lentz

Majors: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Immunology and Disease

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

I chose my program based on my interests and the post-undergrad programs that it could help prepare me for. Sometimes I found it hard to balance these two factors, and I switched between similar programs and into and out of minors a few times throughout my undergraduate years, before settling on the program I graduated with. For example, the double major I graduated with is fairly similar to the specialist program in molecular biology and biotechnology, and I spent a great amount of time debating between the specialist program and the double major I eventually chose. Ultimately, I chose the double major because it allowed me to pursue a wider range of topics and interests of mine (which could be helpful to my path after undergrad), plus it would give me a bit more room to take additional courses not required by my program since a few of the courses for the two majors overlapped with each other. I knew that I wanted to do a program that was relevant to molecular biology and human health, since those subject areas fascinate me and I was considering applying to medical school and other programs for which a biology major would be useful. I developed a surprising interest for chemistry after first year, an interest that was further magnified when I took organic chemistry in my second year. Taking the biochemistry major required me to take just a bit more chemistry than the molecular biology specialist would, allowing me to pursue my interest in chemistry, develop a greater skill (ex: use of chemistry lab equipment) and knowledge set, and would give me access to a second faculty (ie. DPES) and the opportunities that come along with being part of that faculty. I was also considering applying for some type of Master’s of Science degree after graduation and wanted to keep my options open to the possibility of pursuing some area of research either wholly or partially relevant to chemistry (ex: medicinal chemistry). As a precautionary measure, I always considered the pre-requisites for a wide range of professional programs when making my program and course choices (ex: if I applied to med school and didn’t get in, I wanted to have the courses to be to able apply to programs in pharmacy, dentistry, and optometry, for example). For instance, physical chemistry is required for U of T pharmacy (a backup choice of mine), and is also a course that can be applied towards the biochemistry major, which meant that I did not need to take it as an extra elective course, as I would have to with the specialist. Similarly, combining two programs that shared courses allowed me to have more space for elective courses such as bioethics and English that were pre-requisites for optometry and U of T pharmacy, respectively. Compared to some of the programs mentioned above, the required courses needed to apply for most medical schools in Canada are very few and simple, and I knew I would be able to cover all of them by just completing the courses required by my program. I was in a linguistics minor at one point and then in a statistics minor at another point, and although I had completed some of the courses for both minors, especially the statistics minor (ex: I took STAB27 because it would be useful for applying to some Epidemiology MSc programs), I eventually decided not to do either because trying to complete them while completing my major requirements and pre-requisites for various post-undergraduate programs would be too tough, and having a minor on top of my majors wouldn’t provide me with any big benefits.

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

This program provided me with an excellent understanding of the academic and practical skills (ex: lab techniques) knowledge base in the fields of chemistry/biochemistry, molecular biology, and human biology. The subject areas covered in the combination of my programs complemented each other very well and allowed me to use my foundational knowledge in subjects such as chemistry to understand other subjects such as microbiology. For example, learning about chemical reactions and organic molecules in a course such as organic chemistry (CHMB41/42) was very useful for courses like biochemistry (BIOC12/C13), which in turn was useful for understanding subject matter covered in courses such as microbiology (BIOC17) and BIOD23 (topic was virology when I took it). Or it was interesting to take genetics (BIOC15), where I learned about the molecular biology of genetics and then later learn more about the chemistry behind our genetic structure in CHMC47. There were many cases where taking two courses from each major at the same time nicely complemented each other, allowing me to use the what I learned from one course to strengthen my understanding in another. For example, I loved being able to use my knowledge of organic chemistry reactions to understand a field of biology such as immunology or even evolution (ex: learning about how the chemical basis behind genetic mutations which are so important in the discussion of evolution). While academic knowledge is important, it is also crucial to know practical skills if you are to better understand a subject area, and especially crucial if you are interested in pursuing research in that subject area, as I was. Both programs provide many opportunities for lab work, as demonstrated in courses such as BIOB12, CHMB41/42, BIOC23, CHMC47, BIOC15 and BIOC17. Lab work can also be a refreshing way of learning things because it often involves collaboration between your peers (which is something that lectures rarely provide), they provide hands-on learning, and they help you to see/do what you learn in class, which always helped me to learn class material. For example, it is very cool & exciting to learn about infrared spectroscopy (IR) in organic chemistry then have the chance to do IR yourself in the lab with molecules you synthesized or to learn about chromatography in several different courses (ex: CHMB41, BIOB10, BIOB12), then finally have the chance to try it yourself in BIOC23. However, lab work/assignments can also be very intense (ex: 4h labs in most chemistry courses after 1st year), and there can be a huge jump from junior level courses to senior level courses, especially with respect to chemistry. For example, in CHMB41/42 the lab assignments were fairly short and there were only a few of them, but in CHMC47, full lab reports including IR, NMR, and chromatography analysis were due for each lab. It is very important to prepare for labs well in advance so that you are able to work efficiently while in the lab and so that you are able to focus on the aspects of the lab that will be important for post-lab work/assignments. Labs will only be rewarding if you properly prepare and organize yourself for them beforehand - otherwise they will be very stressful – and I have experienced both! In terms of lectures, the majority of my required courses had web option, which was very useful to me. However, I would warn against being completely reliant on web option because many students fall behind on watching the lectures and end up needing to watch many hours of lectures the day before an exam. Being in class also gives you the opportunity to ask questions and interact with your classmates. Many biology exams place heavy emphasis on multiple choice questions, which can work to your advantage or disadvantage depending on your learning style. However, as you move into more advanced courses, multiple choice questions become less common (but not obsolete). Textbooks are also not mandatory for most biology courses, but can be a very helpful resource and sometimes Profs take their exam questions directly from the same textbook that students don’t bother to ever glance at.

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

  1. Research each course before taking or choosing it There are plenty of resources that allow you to do this, and I’ll start with one of the most important – LOOK AT PREVIOUS COURSE SYLLABI! Both the Biology and DPES (chemistry, environmental science, physics) department post syllabi each year right on their websites, and these syllabi give you the best understanding of course content, course structure, and course workload (ex: number of assignments, weight of each exam). I used previous course syllabi MANY times to help me gage the intensity of a course and whether it would be interesting to me. However, it is important to note that syllabi can change from year to year, especially if your Prof differs from the previous Prof. Nevertheless, topics covered in each course remain fairly constant from year to year (unless it is a 4th year topics course), so consulting the syllabus is a good way to see if you’d be interested in a particular course you don’t have to take (ex: many programs require you to take just a few courses from a long list of courses, so looking at syllabi can help you choose which of these courses to choose). Knowing the workload and subject matter covered in each course will allow you to plan how you will approach that course and organize yourself around it before you start. Syllabi often also list textbooks and other resources the Prof recommends/requires, so you can even start to do some preliminary reading about certain course topics if you’re really motivated or if you’re unsure whether you’ll enjoy the material (hint: you can usually find the textbooks for each course in the course reserves section of the library if you want to do this. I write more about the course reserves section in my next point of advice) In addition to course syllabi, also ask other students who have taken the course for their opinions about the course. If you hear students say a course you need to take is difficult or that the textbook is important, follow their advice and prepare accordingly. However, try and get as many opinions as you can because what one student may find difficult or easy may not be so difficult or easy for you. Never shy away from a course just because one person tells you it is difficult – always use your discretion! Ask yourself whether you NEED to take a particular course or pursue a particular program. Some courses sound extremely interesting but can leave you with a very big workload and take away your time from courses that are more important to you. For example, I developed an interest at the end of my second year in pursuing the applied statistics minor, which led to me needing to cram many of the courses required for the minor into my fourth year. I eventually decided to drop the minor because attempting to complete the minor in my fourth year (when I was also submitting applications to grad/professional schools and being invited to med school interviews) would make things very difficult for me, and while I am interested in statistics, adding a minor in statistics on top of my double major wouldn’t be that useful to the career path I was interested in. Part of what influenced my decision about the statistics minor is that I researched the statistics courses I would need to take in my fourth year, which included emailing the supervisor of the minor and asking how difficult it would be to take all those courses in one semester/year, especially considering that many involved computers and I had never taken computer science.
  2. Take advantage of University resources You pay thousands of dollars each year to be a university student, so it is only right that you take hold of all the resources the university offers to students. Never feel shy about asking a Prof for help with a course or going to a department such as AA&CC for academic or career counselling – you are paying lots of $$$ for these resources. The AA&CC holds many workshops that are not only helpful in contributing to your academic success (ex: study skills workshops) but also workshops that are valuable to your success with work and/or post-undergrad life/options. For example, to prepare for the MMI interviews conducted by many Canadian medical schools, I went to an AA&CC workshop that taught me more about the MMI, which allowed me to participate in a mock MMI held by the AA&CC. The AA&CC is also involved with other initiatives such as the Career Learning Network (CLN), which is a website that posts many jobs, research positions, and other opportunities for students; one-on-one time with an academic or career counsellor; the Extern job shadowing program; and the work-study program, which is an excellent way to earn some money while you study. Although many people find Profs to be intimidating, you should never feel like you cannot approach your Profs with questions, whether those questions be about course content or about choosing a particular program. However, please be wise when doing this as it is not a good look to be asking a question already answered on your syllabus. Profs hold office hours (and are paid to do so) because they want to be asked questions by students, so do not fear visiting your Prof at his or her posted office hours. In fact, visiting Profs at their office hours can be an excellent way to begin building a relationship with your Prof which will be useful if you ever want to ask them for career advice or if you want to conduct research with them. Profs have dedicated their career to the subject they teach so they are happy to see that students are interested in the subject they are so passionate about. Secondly, don’t be afraid to ask Profs appropriate questions about things like courses, programs, or career opportunities. For example, if a particular course you want to take lists a recommended pre-requisite that you haven’t taken, don’t be afraid to email the Prof to ask how important taking that pre-requisite is. If think you are really interested in pursuing a particular field of study after you graduate that your Prof is involved with, don’t be afraid to email your Prof and ask if they can take some time out of their busy schedule to talk about your interest in continuing studies in their field of study. I asked Profs about courses, program choices, and career planning many times and always found them to be pleasant and willing to talk to me. A final resource I’ll highlight is the library’s course reserves section. Located at the very front of the library, the course reserves section contains one or more copies of the textbooks required by each course at UTSC. You are able to take out a copy of any textbook in the course reserves for 3 hours. Textbooks are very expensive, and many are rarely used in biology courses, so course reserves provide a much cheaper alternative to buying textbooks. Also, if you do buy a textbook, they are often extremely heavy, so instead of lugging it back and forth between home and school, you can just use the copy provided by the library. Why not spend some time between classes reviewing the textbook material to see if there is anything important or if there are any questions in the book that might appear on an exam? Top-secret hint: If you take out a 3 h loan course reserve less than 3 h before the library closes, the book won’t be due until the next day because the 3 h time period stops when the library closes and then resumes when it opens the next day (but remember the library can be open up to 24h around exam time). If you need to use the UTSC Writing Centre or English Language Development Centre or the Math and Stats Learning Centre or if you need to attend FSGs or book an appointment with a librarian, never feel hesitate to do so. It is the job of the people who work for these centres and resources to help you, so never feel shy to get their help. If you think they can help you succeed, USE THEM! For example, I am a native English speaker but still went and took the Academic English Health Check test offered by the English Language Development Centre to check if my academic English was at a level that might be required by some of my more reading and writing heavy courses. FSGs (facilitated study groups) also provide an excellent way to review and re-learn material that you may not normally do otherwise.
  3. Follow your interests Follow your interests, both academically and otherwise. With regards to academic interests, if you are interested in taking a course outside your program, go and take it if you are able to. For all you know, it could lead you to change up your program or career interests. However, remember to research that course a bit beforehand as I mention in tip #1 because you don’t want to be stuck taking a very demanding course you took for interest in a semester with very demanding courses your program requires you to take. I always tried to take at least one NON-biology or NON-chemistry course per semester amongst all of my biology and chemistry courses that semester because it is always nice to study something a little different. Not only did it help take my mind off of all of the biology and chemistry, giving me a bit of a break, but it helped me to expand my horizons. For example, after taking GGRB28 as an interest course, I became really interested in global health, which lead to my current interest in international politics. The breadth requirements that you must complete at UTSC are also a great way to pursue or discover your interests outside of your program area, and I would encourage people to not leave all their breadth requirements until their fourth year for this reason. For example, I only took linguistics because it would fulfill the English breadth requirement but I ended up loving it and almost pursuing a minor in it (not to mention that taking introductory linguistics allowed me to take an interesting course in semantics course that fulfilled my history breadth requirement). Secondly, follow your interests outside of the realm of academics. If you are interested in drama but are not a drama student, get involved in the UTSC improv team or audition for a drama show! If you enjoy tutoring, plenty of departments offer tutoring opportunities, some of which are paid! Or visit the gym! Or get involved with a student/departmental council! It is crucial to develop a life beyond academics, not only because many post-undergrad schools look for students who have volunteered or been involved with extra-curricular activities, but because being able to take time to live a life outside of studying to enjoy yourself really helps you to stay motivated and prevent burnout when it comes to your academic life. Don’t be so afraid of falling behind in school that you don’t do anything outside of school but don’t place so much focus on extra-curricular activities that you fall behind in school.

What will you do with your degree after graduation?

I will be starting medical school in September.

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

First year focused on the basics of biology, chemistry, and physics. I also took calculus I and II and psychology. While I felt that many topics in these courses were a review of Gr. 12 material, many students did not encounter some of the topics covered in first year in their Gr. 12 courses at least to the extent that they are covered in first year (as indicated by the high failure rate in midterms for these courses), so do not make the error of brushing off first year material because it initially seems very easy. I also used first year as a time to explore the UTSC’s resources, explore different programs, and seek out clubs and other extra-curricular opportunities. In second year, the subjects get more specific – ex: instead of taking first year introductory biology which covered a bit of ecology, evolution, physiology etc., you are required to take full courses in ecology, evolution, and physiology. In my second year I also really started to look at courses I would need to take for post-undergrad programs/schools such as medical school or optometry school etc. and I spent a lot of time planning what courses I would need to take or be interested in taking in 3rd and 4th year. I also thought more about what research and other activities I should pursue in order to be a competitive applicant for post-undergrad programs I wanted to apply for. In third year the courses get much more specific, and your program gives you much more freedom in the courses you can choose (ex: they give you a list of 10 courses and you only need to take any 4 from the list of 10), allowing you to pursue your area of interest and also allowing you to have more control over your schedule and what you would like to learn. I also used third year to explore my research interests because I was interested in so many areas of biology and chemistry and I was seriously considering applying for a MSc in my fourth year. Lastly, I spent time planning out my third and fourth year courses so that my fourth year could be a bit lighter. I didn’t want to be overwhelmed with demanding courses required by my program in my fourth year when I would be applying for different schools and possible travelling out of Toronto for interviews for different schools. By my fourth year, I had already completed almost all of the courses required by my program, allowing me to pursue courses I found interesting while also making sure I didn’t take any very heavy courses that weren’t required (even though I really wanted to take some fancy but demanding chemistry courses) because I knew I would be spending a lot of my fourth year writing applications and possibly having to attend interviews outside of the city for different post-undergrad schools. Many post-undergrad schools place a very heavy emphasis on the courses taken in your final two years, so do not try and make things easy for yourself by taking a bunch of easy A-level courses in your final year because doing so will reflect badly upon you in your application. You will also continue to be involved in different opportunities (ex: research) throughout your fourth year while you take courses and apply for or consider post-undergrad opportunities so you must continue to keep a very fine balance between all three. Many students take summer courses earlier in their undergraduate years, allowing them to take less courses in their fourth year which gives them more time for things like writing applications for post-undergraduate schools. However, although I took some summer courses, I kept my fourth year (and all of my years) full because some programs like U of T medicine give GPA benefits to students (ex: dropping a certain number of your courses with low marks) who took a full course load every year (or in the last two years) in university, but foregoing these GPA benefits to get a better GPA by taking less courses may be a better option for you.


Mitali Uppal

Majors: Biochemistry and Neuroscience

What factors contributed to you choosing your program(s)?
 
I love chemistry and the brain and hope to get a PhD in biochemistry, specializing in neurological epigenetic.
 
Can you describe your program(s)? What is it actually like?
 
Biochemistry is very molecular based, very hands on program which requires a lot of problem solving while neuroscience is more recall and understanding of how structures come together for form the intricate system.
 
What tips/advice can you provide to students just starting or considering this program(s)?
 
Always attend class even if its web option, use office hours as much as you can and practice a lot and be consistent.
 
What will you do with your degree after graduation? (Future plans?)
 
Masters of biochemistry/ PhD in biochemistry
 
What has your academic journey during your time been like as you progress toward graduation?
 
First year was difficult because it was hard to get into the system and find a way to study that would work the best. Since my double majors are so different and require different skills, I had to explore various options. Second year was a shade better because I knew how to approach courses and third year was good because the courses are more focused and it was a lot more fun learning.