All posts by Abhya Adlakha

10 reasons you should not go to U of T

The University of Toronto was recently ranked number one in Canada and number 20 globally by U.S. News & World Report.
However, as an undergraduate student here in her third year, I can DEFINITELY say there are many reasons I wish I never came to this godforsaken school.

1. The weather in this city is always, always horrible – and to make it worse, U of T rarely gives any snow days! (Seriously, what is up with that?)

I don’t remember the last time I walked outside without the wind hitting my face at 27 miles per hour. The weather in this city is basically bad all school year – it starts to get chilly in September, followed by five months of an excruciating winter, and a sad spring till April. To put it simply: the weather is only good in this city from May till August.

And the worst part is that U of T doesn’t give enough snow days. Seriously, we were forced to go to school and write our exams during a polar vortex. On top of that, they don’t put enough salt on sidewalks.

2. Downtown appears thrilling to incoming freshmen till you find out this city is practically unaffordable for students.

It’s all fun and games till you’re forced to pay $1 500 for small student unit downtown. Additionally, there’s nothing really to do in downtown that doesn’t involve spending money. Textbooks are so expensive you’d want to gauge your eyes out, food is expensive, and a single night out can cost you a lot.

Your other options include living outside the city and commuting every day, but come on, who are we kidding? The TTC is the worst.

3. U of T is a real GPA killer.

It’s relatively easy to get into U of T but undergraduate studies here is no joke. U of T is known for having really low-class averages. The competitiveness and the high expectations here can adversely impact your GPA and basically harm your chances for graduate school.

On top of that, bell curves certainly do not make it better.

4. The WiFi on campus is the worst.

To begin, you hardly get network in a lot of the buildings in U of T. On top of that, I find that the internet is super slow and keeps on disconnecting. The WORST of all is Convocation Hall – seriously, it’s a nightmare.

5. U of T is simply way too big.

Seriously, the class sizes are way too big, and the student-teacher ratio is really bad. Large class sizes and frequent impersonal approaches to teaching can often make you feel isolated.

6. Campus life is pretty bland.

Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of clubs to choose from and there’s always something or the other happening on campus. However, due to overburdening course loads it’s too difficult to keep up with any extracurricular activities for most students. U of T doesn’t even have a large homecoming. In my opinion, the Greek life isn’t all that happening here either.

7. Trying to find a spot in Robarts during exam season is near impossible.

U of T has 44 libraries, and still it’s somehow impossible to find a study spot during exam season. For starters, most of the libraries aren’t open 24 hours. Even though Robarts is open during exam season, only a few floors are functional at all hours – and trust me, there’s barely any sufficient seating. I think it has to do with the fact that we also have thousands of kids on a campus with crowded study spots?

8. Campus food is the worst – the only thing that’ll save you is the brown food truck in front of Sidney Smith.

For a school that’s so big, there are barely any decent places to eat on campus.

9. It’s actually really difficult to get a job in Toronto.

Unless you’re from Rotman, or you’re exceptionally good at balancing grades and extra curriculars, I find it’s really hard to get a job. Because there are so many students in Toronto, competitiveness is really high over here. Sometimes even people with straight 4.0’s don’t even get decent jobs in the city.

10. You could avoid all these and go to UTSC or UTM instead – but come on, why would you? 

I mean, you could avoid all the city problems and move to the other two campuses, but that’s even worse. For example, UTSC is too small and it’s in the middle of nowhere.

Five must-have phone apps in Toronto

If you’re new in the city, or if you’re just a student, here are the top five apps you definitely need to have in the city.

Transit

If you’re a consistent TTC rider and you don’t use this app, I don’t know how you’re surviving this city.

We’ve all had our fair share of the outstanding services that TTC has to offer – buses that never show up, streetcar delays, or shuttle buses replacing the out-of-service trains.

Well, to put it straightforward: Transit, the app, will save your ass.

Transit is simple, reliable, and gives you *updated* timings of nearby transit lines. With accurate real-time predictions, Transit helps you plan your trips, gives you service disruption notifications, and step-by-step navigation.

Not impressed? It even lets you book an Uber, find a Carshare, or grab the nearest Bikeshare!

It does the jobs of three different transit applications in one single app. Seriously, it’s a lifesaver.

Toronto Parking Finder

Driving in Toronto? Congratulations, you’re free from the wrath of the TTC. And yet, how do you do it? The only thing that’s worse than driving in downtown Toronto is trying to find a parking spot here.

Well, thanks to the wonders of technology, the Toronto Parking Finder app is here to save you.

Partnered with Google Maps, this app gives you the closest and the cheapest parking spots in the city when you enter your destination – it even notifies you about the free parking spots around you.

It also comes with a built-in timer and lets you know how much time is left on a parking meter to help you avoid getting those pesky parking tickets.

Some other parking apps worth mentioning are the BestParking app and the new GreenP app – if you want to give it a shot.

Ritual

Have only twenty minutes to grab lunch? Ritual helps you order ahead of time and skip lines at your favourite restaurants and coffee shops. It makes picking up takeout super easy, and the best part is that there is no extra added fee. It tells you when to leave and, once you arrive, the food and beverages are ready for you.

As if this wasn’t wild enough, you also earn points with every order, which can be redeemed later for free beverages or food.

There’s also an added benefit for businesses: Ritual helps businesses subsidize lunches or dinners for their employees.

Bunz

Bunz was a very popular Facebook group, but now they have their own app! Not a lot of people know about how great Bunz is, but if you’re a student this app is perfect for you.

Bunz is a community that basically lets people trade unwanted items with each other, instead of paying money for it. You can trade clothes, furniture, accessories, services, and a lot more – I got an entire dining table with four chairs for my small apartment for only two wine bottles!

This app is wild, and definitely worth checking out!

BlogTO

Yes, I know this is super basic, but this is my favourite app to scroll through – it gives you access to all the events taking place around you in Toronto, the ‘top 10’ restaurants for practically every food item, and even the latest news. You can find the best Toronto bars, coffee shops, hangout places, and everything else here. Pro tip: you can also save the articles and upcoming events to your list so you don’t miss them.

Want to find out the best taco place? Can’t decide which bar to hit on St. Patrick’s Day? BlogTO got your back!