by Jim, Jane, Jennifer in Grade 11 and Jewel in Grade 12

The outbreak of the novel Coronavirus epidemic in 2020 has spread all over the world. Facing uncertainty due to border restrictions, many parents and students feel unsure about the future. To better understand their current needs and efforts, the school is honored to invite 18 outstanding graduates including Sherry, a junior at the University of Toronto, and Clarissa from UBC University. Clarissa will share her learning experience with the students in Grade 11.

Sherry majored in toxicology, pharmacology, and genetics, while Clarissa majored in neuroscience, natural science, and human-computer relations. Both introduced their experiences with courses and university life in their respective schools. Moreover, they focused on aspects of college applications and university learning characteristics that students were concerned about, as well as what skills high school will need to cultivate in order to adapt to the university environment, as well as how to better integrate completely into an unfamiliar living environment.

The first year of university is always tough, especially when we are not familiar with our schoolmates. This is particularly true for international students like us and being in a strange environment to study for 4 years is a very difficult challenge. Furthermore, a completely different educational system and cultural setting, which require that we take more time to fit in, will add to the challenge. Our senior, Sherry, thinks that living in the school dormitory is a very good opportunity for us to get to know students from all over the world. In addition, when exchanging ideas, we can also build friendly relationships with others in a short time. Sherry said: “In contrast, the life in university is freer than that in high school. You can choose to accomplish all the regular college courses in advance and get the credits for graduation early, or you can select the courses based on your schedule and then complete them at your own pace. It is important to make the most of your spare time, and it is just as important to integrate yourself into the society you are in to become more social. It is also good for you to join clubs if you want to participate in social activities. This helps us develop our skills comprehensively as well as helps us to get to get to know other students from different faculties at the university.”

Clarissa told us: “usually every lesson in university is very content-rich, and one lesson might even contain the equivalent amount of knowledge found in one unit in a high school course. There are two sections to every university major: the first includes compulsory courses and the second, optional courses. Normally, students enroll in a three-step process of: branching out, choosing a major, and studying the branch courses within each major. In addition, the notion of ‘what we learn is what is mandatory for the test’ does not exist in university. Extracurricular research and self-growth are always more important for professors. For example, creative thinking and coming up with novel ideas are always more likely to be recognized. The Q & A time every week is extremely valuable, as any difficulties you might encounter through the week can be aided by either the professor or a tutor.” In campus life, it is always important to maintain the necessary mental energy and sufficient physical strength to maintain your well-being. For instance, an unscheduled exam often requires a healthy body to survive through it. Therefore, adequate preparation, revision and organization will help us build a solid foundation that will make us be able to navigate our way through university.

Through this face-to-face experience, we have a clearer understanding of the current epidemic’s impact of different universities’ attitudes towards international students, while specific admission analysis and subject selection helped us to think about our choice of a university major and the near future senior year course selection. We will always persist in our dream and make our way towards our splendid future.