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17 Things Every U of T Student Should Do Before They Graduate
Top photo courtesy of UTSC, bottom photo by Amarpreet Kaur
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17 Things Every U of T Student Should Do Before They Graduate

Stroll Philosopher’s Walk, peer through a telescope, hear the Gospel Choir and much more!

U of T has hundreds of great student clubs, tons of fun events and dozens of gorgeous buildings and spaces to explore. How many of these have you done?

1. Stroll down Philosopher’s Walk. Arrive at the meaning of life. Failing that, arrive at a decision over what to have for lunch

2. View a lunar eclipse or planetary body through the telescopes at McLennan Physical Laboratories

3. Go to a concert by the U of T Gospel Choir

Photo: Bryan McBurney

4. Make friends with a librarian on campus. Go from “zero” to “hero” on assignments and papers.

5. Study in one of the pods at the Leslie L. Dan Faculty of Pharmacy building

6. Attend the U of T Drama Festival at Hart House Theatre

7. Paint your face and cheer on the Blues at a football game at Varsity Stadium

8. Sit in on a lecture at random

9. Dance through King’s College Circle during the first snowfall

10. Fix your bike for free at the Bikechain office

11. Re-enact the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet in the Hart House Great Hall’s spiral tower

12. Pull an all-nighter at Robarts

Photo by Fernando Morales

13. Attend a Remembrance Day ceremony at Soldiers’ Tower

14. Visit the beautiful Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library and enjoy the silence!

15. Watch Skule Nite – it’s the most hilarious show at U of T!

16. Spend an entire summer day lying in the grass in the Trinity or UC quad

17. Take a stroll through the UTSC Valley for the huge trees, beautiful stream and wide open spaces. Watch for deer along the paths that surround U of T Mississauga

Thanks to our readers for all these great ideas!

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  1. 41 Responses to “ 17 Things Every U of T Student Should Do Before They Graduate ”

  2. Explore the tunnels under Philosopher’s Walk and the ROM – east to Vic or south to Trinity. Just don’t lift the access cover plate (once also known as a manhole cover plate) in the middle of Avenue Road!

  3. Walk Philosopher’s Walk. I still stroll down there when I am back in town. It will bring you memories for years. Talk long into the night an solve the world’s problems with your good friends. You will never forget those times.

  4. Eat a meal prepared by The Hot Yam! at the International Student Centre, which welcomes everyone. They have something different every time but it’s always delicious 🙂

  5. For those attending U of T Scarborough, take a stroll down the valley: huge trees, beautiful stream, wide open spaces, tennis courts, Miller Lash house… We [a special girl and I] used to take long walks there during our four years together at UTSC. A decade later, I take our two children for walks in the valley every now and then. It’s always a beautiful place.

  6. Take a walk along the path that surrounds the U of T Mississauga campus (preferably with a good friend), along the banks of the Credit River. Nothing is more peaceful during exam time!

  7. Your list of suggestions reflects how much the campus has changed – both physically and perhaps philosophically – in the 50 years since I was a student there. Most of the specific suggestions would not have been possible in my time. But the idea to sit in on a lecture at random did occur to me as a first year engineering physics student in 1959. During one of the rare intervals between our labs and “legitimate” lectures, a buddy and I decided to find out for ourselves what kind of things arts students listened to during their relatively infrequent lectures.

    Informed by the schedule posted on the door of a classroom in University College, we settled ourselves quietly in the back row of a history lecture and awaited enlightenment. The class consisted of about 25 students and we were therefore not afforded the anonymity found in large numbers. About two minutes into his discourse, the lecturer’s eyes wandered back to where we were seated and he stopped in mid-sentence. Who were we and why were we in his classroom? He was not impressed by our manifest thirst for greater perspective and broader knowledge (traits well-known to be absent in engineering students) and asked us to leave. We did so, sheepishly, as the 25 real students smirked at the embarrassment inflicted on two of those loutish engineers.

    I like to think that, if the roles had been reversed, and we had had two art history or philosophy majors with the temerity to wander into one of our quantum mechanics or differential equations lectures, they would have been welcomed. Perhaps they wouldn’t have understand much (I was often in that position myself) but they might have left with more respect for the “other side” than we did on that occasion when we chose “to sit in on a lecture at random.”

  8. Go see live music. We went to see Jethro Tull last night, and that took us back to the days. We met (St. Mike’s for me, Vic for my husband) in our second year and were married a year after graduation. Thirty-eight years later, there’s still “us” and the music of those days. Enduring.

  9. Spend an entire summer day lying in the grass in the Trinity or UC quad.

    Dance through King’s College Circle during the first snowfall of the year.

    Attend a Blues football game at Varsity Stadium and paint your face.

  10. Take lots of pictures so you can remember what campus was like. Then when you come back to visit, you can compare and see what has changed!.

    Also, be sure to send your updated contact information to address.update@utoronto.ca to ensure you continue to receive information about alumni events programs and services (as well as U of T Magazine).

  11. Take advantage of the free therapy at Counselling and Psychological Services! (Everyone can benefit!)

    Participate in something from the Leadership Development program for students offered by Student Life.

    Get involved – be someone’s mentor, join a student group, create a student group.

  12. Watch Skule Nite – it’s the most hilarious show at U of T! And take advantage of Hart House or Athletic Center for some nice workouts.

  13. 1) Enjoy a meal from some of the unique food trucks outside Robarts
    2) @UTSC- borrow a cafeteria tray and use it to sled down the hill outside of the atrium

  14. Earlier this week, you had #12 marked as a tribute to the volunteer-run Hot Yam, a truly special U of T community hub that promotes healthy eating on campus. I’m wondering why you chose to replace it with ‘an all-nighter at Robarts’ of all things? Sure, we’ve all burned the midnight oil at a library, but I think your role should be to celebrate these kinds of social spaces that are open to students and staff alike, rather than proliferating the culture of academic stress.

    Recognizing the contribution of the Yam will also do a lot for securing funding and support for student life programs like it. I believe the Yam’s hours are less regular now, which may have been your reason to edit, but there are other places and events that have a similar role (such as Harvest Noon cafe) that would be worth writing about.

  15. @Jenn: you make a good point. By all accounts Hot Yam was very popular and appreciated. However, we understand that it’s no longer operating (and so is no longer something a student can do before they graduate). If you (or anyone else) hear otherwise, please let us know!

  16. Doing shows like Vic Music Club and the Johnny Frost Show, I still had my goal of making it onto the O’Keefe Centre stage. I was “discovered” in the UC Follies and offered a chance to be an “extra” with the Canadian Opera Company – I went from being a spear carrier to touring North America when I graduated as a stage manager and mute performer. By the end of my career with the COC, I had performed 287 times without opening my mouth and in July at the George Ignatieff Theatre on Devonshire, as part of the Toronto Fringe Festival – I will be premiering “Confessions of an Operatic Mute” reliving my youth, my days at U of T and my performing career.

  17. Write an exam under the timbered trusses of the Grand Hall at Trinity College. Let the creaky wood floors, the rows of aged desks, the soaring stained glass windows and the still of the dry air give you inspiration. A most memorable and inspirational place to try to pull off an “A.”

  18. Head across campus and grab lunch at another college/faculty. Make friends with unfamiliar students.

    Seek out the Engineers Bridge Club and join in.

  19. After graduation, I realized that at least 50% of what I learned was outside of classes. Join as many groups unrelated to your degree as you can. Meet people you would otherwise never meet. There are a lot of communities of interest available for you to discover not only new activities but also new ideas.

  20. Spend evenings translating Latin in the Pontifical Institute Library, 4th floor of St. Michael’s College Library, after dinner in the Canada Room.

    Enjoy taking a break in the quad behind Fisher Hall at St. Michael’s College.

  21. What was special for me happened quietly in the dark, the very cold dark of winter night. At around 5 am, a group of three or four of us struggled with our hockey outfits and sticks as we made our way to Varsity Arena to practice for interfaculty play. We were all still sleepy, but it was amazing out on the ice, looking up at the stands and immense indoor space. Soon, our hour was over, and a few hours later, we were in class again, trying to keep up with our lecturer, taking notes as hastily as possible — another day at med school.

  22. Go see a play at Hart House.

    Take advantage of the Academic Success Centre and participating in the First Generation program (if applicable to you).

    Go an an international exchange, it changed my life and saved me a lot of money.

    Becoming good friends with at least one professor. You’ll be surprised at how generous and funny he or she is after class, even if they were strict while you were in school.

    Knowing where all the water fountains and microwaves are on St. George campus. I always know where to run back for free water and a microwave!

    Just being yourself. You’re bound to find people who are just as quirky and weird as you are. Embrace it!

  23. The University of Toronto is a phenomenal place with lots of features that should be celebrated. But you do realize that 24,000 U of T students do NOT attend St. George, right? Selecting 16 St. George centric items and having one shared between UTSC and UTM is a disgrace. When U of T finally embraces the strength of their tri-campus system then they will truly be Canada’s #1 university. Until then…you can do better U of T Magazine!

  24. @Brooke
    You’re absolutely right. The list IS weighted heavily toward St. George. But the list was also compiled from suggestions made to us by members of the U of T community! We welcome suggestions from UTM and UTSC students and alumni to correct the imbalance!

  25. Sip a cup of tea and enjoy fresh baked cookies at Diablos (UC if it still exists) or the UC playhouse on St George, just opposite Sid Smith.

  26. Take a walk along the path of the Credit River which borders our beautiful and verdant campus. When I needed a quiet place to study I simply took my books and followed the path. You will be amazed that you can see deer and hear nothing in the middle of a vibrant city. How lucky was I to earn my world class education at UTM!

  27. Hello,

    How about attend a Concert Band & Jazz concert at UTSC and St. George; and attend a class at UTSC, UTSG and UTM?

    Thanks, take care & all the best 🙂

  28. This was the most beautiful experience of my life.
    I was adopted . The environment and the cultures of so many people
    coming together was like having a sense of belonging to ” humanity”

    U of T taught me to embrace humanity .

    Many times I felt the transcendence of our spiritual reality come forth in so many diverse ways.

    Ironically ” Toronto ” means ‘ meeting place ‘ >
    Only with the heart can one see clearly …St Exupery > The Little Prince

    I dedicate my comment to M J Lavelle. my professor of religion ,
    A hero’s HERO > if you know what I mean > one who sees through the illusions in order to arrive at justifying our existence at the level of human suffering and to ultimately champion ourselves out of Love . (And under the stars we move in our mettled ways) TS Eliot