Orientation Week Exec Team 2020-2021: Introduction and quick tips for your first year

Jun 4, 2020

Congratulations to our 2T4 incoming students at the Faculty of Medicine at U of T. Every year, our students participate in a series of activities and socials prior to the start of their classes to meet their fellow peers, and to familiarize the campus environment to which they will be calling their second home in the next few years. This is known as Orientation Week (O-Week for short). We are pleased to introduce our O-Week Exec team members for 2020-2021: they will be providing some insight on academy selection and well as how to make the best out of your first year.

Leah DrostLeah D

Pronouns: She/Her

Hometown: Thunder Bay, ON

Academy: Mississauga Academy of Medicine (MAM)

Previous education: Health Studies at University of Waterloo

Fun fact: I have more snowshoes/skis than regular shoes.

Tips for surviving first year: If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you are NOT ALONE. I can’t count the times material went way over my head or things were feeling too stressful. However, every single time and without fail, things got exponentially better after I talked to one of my classmates about it who were often feeling the same. It can be scary even showing vulnerability like that, but it will make you a better doctor to be able to express when you’re feeling overwhelmed! I promise it will ALWAYS do more good than harm to share your vulnerability with those who care about you.

What you did when you found out you got into med school: I was living alone at the time and it was the middle of the night, I tried calling all of my friends and family but they were all sleeping so I went back to bed…

Calandra LiCalandra L

Pronouns: She/Her

Hometown: Mississauga, ON

Academy: Mississauga Academy of Medicine (MAM)

Previous education: Health Sciences at Wilfrid Laurier University

Fun fact: I saw Kawhi Leonard on my interview day in Toronto!! Seems like that day foreshadowed success for the both of us.

Tip for surviving first year: Comparison is the thief of joy! Remember that you were selected to be here because of your unique story, skills, and personality - there is no sense trying to be someone else when UofT Med wanted YOU. It is easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing or wondering what you are supposed to do to get ahead. But if you focus on what makes you happy and makes you feel fulfilled, I promise you’ll have a great first year and make incredible friends who will support you and want to see you succeed!

What you did when you found out you got into med school: I vowed not to check my email until I went to church in the morning! Once there, I made my chaplain read my email to confirm I was not imagining this and then called all my family and friends!

Camilla ParpiaCamilla P

Pronouns: She/Her

Hometown: Toronto, ON

Academy: FitzGerald Academy (Fitz)

Previous education: Health Sciences at Western University

Fun fact: Climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro with my dad last summer (and will try to insert this fact into every conversation I have to sound cooler).

Tip for ranking the academy that’s best for you: Read the information that’s given to you by the wonderful admissions team, and Team Prism will also be providing you with some quotes from current first years about why they love their academy. Ultimately, there is NO worst academy -

you will have an amazing medical school experience at any of the academies, but Fitzgerald is definitely the best one (in my very biased opinion)! Message me on Facebook for questions about Fitz, Jocelyn for questions about the Wightman-Berris Academy, or email our team at utmeds.info@gmail.com if you have other questions or want to be connected with other students!

Tip for surviving first year: First year is like climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro - it’s definitely hard, but the way to enjoy it is to go at your own pace and take in the view! It’s awesome to be here, but it’s okay if sometimes it feels really difficult. Climbing a mountain is much easier with friends by your side and also with a wonderful guide (like your tutors, professors or even upper year students). Reach out and use your resources, but you can do this, and you’re going to be amazing!

What you did when you found out you got into med school: Called my sister because I needed her to confirm it was not a prank and that I actually got in, and ran downstairs to hug my parents! Then went and got sushi to celebrate (shout out to Sakura on Bloor for their $9.95 - 24 pieces of sushi lunch special with soup and salad).

Jocelyn PriceJocelyn P

Pronouns: She/Her

Hometown: Windsor, ON

Academy: Wightman-Berris Academy (WB)

Previous education: Biological Sciences at the University of Windsor, Master of Public Health at Western University

Fun fact: Most people talk about the weather when they have nothing else to say, but I genuinely love all things weather-related. Extreme weather is even better - prior to med school, I was a self-proclaimed storm chaser.

Tip for ranking the academy that’s best for you: First of all, every academy is so wonderful and I promise you won’t be disappointed! If you are feeling unsure of how you’d like to rank them, talk to upper year students and ask what they love most about their academy. Ultimately, pick the one that personally resonates with you most and know that you will love wherever you end up! We are always happy to connect with incoming students on Facebook or via email if you have any questions! I absolutely love WB and I wouldn’t change a thing!

Tip for surviving first year: First year is an amazing experience. You are going to learn so much and meet so many fantastic people! My best advice is to remember to take time for yourself. If you are like me and love a good sleep-in, Wednesday mornings will be your new best friend! Also, don’t be afraid to reach out if you are feeling overwhelmed - the U of T community is truly so supportive and amazing. We are all here for you and cheering you on!

What you did when you found out you got into med school: Ran into my sister’s room and woke her up, then ran into my parent’s room to wake them up, and then went back to bed because it was very early!

Evan StromEvan S

Pronouns: He/Him

Hometown: Toronto, ON

Academy: Mississauga Academy of Medicine (MAM)

Previous education: Human Kinetics at University of Guelph

Fun fact: My ultimate goal is to meet Alex Trebek- I’ve written the Jeopardy test 4 times but haven’t gotten a call back yet, must’ve lost my application in the mail. It's OK I forgive him.

Tip for surviving first year: The MAM deer are your friends, the MAM geese are NOT your friends. They will watch you on your walk to Starbucks, so be wary. Also if you are planning on sleeping on the MAM shuttle bus before morning class, avoid anything behind row 8 unless you want the pleasurable experience of zero gravity flight simulation.

What you did when you found out you got into med school: You know when you used to wake up and go to your parents room to tell them you threw up? Well, it was kinda like that. Just walked in and said “I got into med school,” then I went back to bed.