A community is about feeling accepted, understood and safe. I think that university can be a very overwhelming place at first and it can take some time to make new friends and to feel like you truly connect. However a deep sense of community is rooted at UTSC.
There are plenty of clubs such as; the equity club, the Better Than Mirrors club, and the Anti-Racism & Cultural Diversity club, that are dedicated to listening to other people’s views and exploring cultural differences and social issues more extensively. Clubs like these allow students to receive the support that they really need.
Some students, such as myself can sometimes feel like outsiders. Clubs and groups like the ones that i listed above and many more clubs are designed to be inclusive. They can make students feel understood and accepted. Once someone feels understood and accepted they can begin to feel safe.
There are also programs such as: Get Started and orientation, which helped me to meet and interact with a lot of friendly students/faculty. There were a variety of activities that were dedicated to help students feel like they belonged. There were specific booths, that offered useful information about the facilities on campus and a variety of clubs for students to join, based off of their interests.
I find that even for a nervous and awkward person such as myself, it wasn’t as hard as i thought it would be. I used to think that university was a scary place and everyone was selfish and mean but honestly being here made me realize the exact opposite.
The faculty here are very understanding and genuinely helpful, they are not scary like i imagined them to be. The students come from all over the world, this is the most diverse place I have ever been in.
Building a community takes a lot of time and often it can be hard when there are so many conflicting views and opinions. However something that I think a community really needs is respect. Being able to respect someone else’s views even though they go against yours is very important, it allows people to communicate more smoothly with one another.
In my opinion, UTSC allows students to feel safe, understood and accepted. I believe that there is a lot of support for student’s specific concerns and needs and the faculty are quite friendly people who aren’t evil monsters that are here to make your life worse.
If you do not feel safe, accepted and understood please feel free to check out a few of these clubs or offices: the sexual and diversity office, the Better Than Mirrors club, and the Anti-Racism & Cultural Diversity office, the Changing Impressions club and the Center for Women and Trans people. If those are not enough then you can visit the health and wellness center for counseling where they offer group counseling and one on one. It’s okay to feel stressed and alone, but there are a lot of people here at UTSC who are here to help you.