At a Glance
Hi! My name is Mansi and I’m going into my fourth year in the faculty of health science. I’m in the health studies program and I’m pursuing an honours specialization in health science.
WHY HEALTH SCI?
I first visited Western during the fall open house and I absolutely fell in love with the campus. It was the school that I saw myself attending. From the campus buildings, to the residence’s, to the rec center, and even the libraries, I knew that this is where I wanted to go. 4 years later, I know that I made the right decision. I’ve loved my time at Western and I’m so glad that I chose to go here.
My goal was to go to medical school so I definitely wanted to pick a science oriented program. Although I am aiming for medicine, I didn’t particularly enjoy physics or chemistry during high school. I knew I didn’t want to take these courses at a higher level. Moreover, a lot of science programs have very high first year enrollment numbers. I wanted to go to a reputable school but I didn’t want to take classes with 1000 other people. The size of the health science program was a definite plus point when I was making my decision. I also appreciated that health science had a different approach to science. Obviously learning about biology and chemistry is important, but healthcare is so much more than the human body. I came into health sci looking to expand my perspective. Everyone knows how competitive medical school applications are, and I wanted to have a different kind of approach and perspective when applying to med school.
Furthermore, I knew that I wanted to live away from home during university but I didn’t want to go too far. Western is about 2 hours away from home which was perfect. I could still go home once or twice a month but I would still get that authentic university experience I was looking for.
MY FIRST YEAR COURSES
My first year schedule mirrored a typical science or med-sci schedule. My goal is to go to medical school, so in first year I wanted to take courses that would prepare me for the MCAT. One thing to note is that I did the IB program in high school so I had a couple transfer credits. I transferred English 1020E, Geography 1400F, Geography 1500F, and Chem 1302B.
Although I had a transfer credit for chemistry, I decided to take chem 1301 because I thought it would be a good experience. Chemistry is a course that you need to keep up with! I often found myself falling behind and it became very hard to catch up. I had chem first thing in the morning and I was often very tired and didn’t fully pay attention during the lectures. Don’t make the same mistake! The chem profs are very engaging, so take advantage of them and don’t skip this class. When you are learning the material, actually try to understand and rationalize the concepts rather than memorize them. I suggest doing as many practice problems as you can. When I took chem 1301, the course had a workbook instead of a textbook. Follow the workbook during the lectures and write down any additional information in the side margins. It’ll make your life easier when studying. Chemistry is definitely one of the harder first year courses. Don’t be afraid to seek help if you’re having trouble with a topic. The prof’s and TA’s are very helpful!
1001A & 1002B
From my understanding the biology courses are going to be looking a little bit different this year as they merged bio 1001 and bio 1201. Although they are technically 2 different biology courses, they essentially combine to create a full year biology course. Biology was probably the course I struggled with the most. It was a very steep learning curve. That being said, first year biology taught me how to study, and I still use some of those techniques now!! The profs always emphasized the idea of understanding the material and not memorizing it. They encouraged us to think through the material, and connect different concepts together.
The course comes with a textbook, and the profs will always assign readings for each lecture. I suggest doing the readings before the lecture. That way, you already have an idea about what the prof will be covering in the class. During the lecture itself, I would write down my notes in a notebook (but an iPad could also work). These notes would not be comprehensive and I would just kind of jot down main ideas or any important points. A little caveat is that the profs uploaded their lectures when I was in this course. If they are going to upload the lecture, I suggest typing your notes and jotting down as much as you can. Afterwards, I would re-listen to the lecture online and jot down notes again. These notes would be more detailed (as I had the ability to pause and rewind). When exams started approaching, I would create a study guide using my notes. I would bring together key concepts and write them out in a neat, clarified, manner that was easy to read. As always, practice questions are very important! If you get a question wrong in practice, don’t just shrug it off, but try to understand why you got it wrong. The material itself is not very difficult, however there’s a lot of it, and it’s very easy to become overwhelmed. Once again, if you find yourself needing help, don’t hesitate to ask the profs, or TA’s. They’re very approachable and want the best for you. They’re there to help you, so take advantage of them.
Since I had some transfer credits from high school, I decided to take a second year course instead. Geography 2010 is actually one of the best courses I’ve taken at Western. The professor is absolutely amazing! His lectures are so engaging and he makes the material fun and easy to digest. The powerpoints are already posted beforehand so you just need to fill in additional information during the lecture. There is a midterm and final exam, 4 map quizzes, and an assignment. Although the material is easy to know there is a lot of it! There is also a textbook associated with the course and the prof will sometimes assign readings, which are also testable. Overall, it’s an enjoyable course and I’m glad I took it. Even though it was a second year course it wasn’t terribly difficult or anything so don’t be worried about taking a course that’s not designated for first years!
1001A & 1002B
The first year health sci courses are very straightforward. The professors are very engaging in lectures and their exams are fair. The material itself is also very applicable. First semester explores personal determinants of health; so things like stress, exercise, and nutrition. Whereas second semester covers the social determinants, so how economic and social status can have an impact on health. Although the material is easy to understand, there is a lot of it. I recommend taking detailed notes during lectures because the profs don’t upload a video recording afterwards. Furthermore, the exams may ask for specific statistics and dates, so definitely take your time when studying for these courses. I also recommend taking notes on the textbook readings. For the most part the textbook readings overlap with the lecture content, but there may be details that are not covered in lecture.
I absolutely loved first year psych! It’s an introductory course so we briefly covered a number of different topics in psychology. I was in the 7-10pm class, and I found it very hard to be motivated to go to class that late. If you’re somebody who likes to get class over with in the morning you might not enjoy night classes. Although I loved the material, I found the lectures to be very monotonous. Dr. Laura posted all the powerpoints ahead of time which was nice because you just had to fill in the blanks in the lecture. Don’t worry about writing down your own notes because the majority of the information is already provided in the powerpoint. If you see something that is missing, then write it in. There is a textbook for this course, and assigned readings for each topic. Do the readings ahead of time! They are very long and if you wait until a couple days before the exam to start the readings, you will have a very hard time completing them. The material is very enjoyable but there is a lot of it, so be sure to give yourself some time when studying for this.
I’ll be the first to say that I’m not very good at math, so I was dreading calculus. But honestly, the course isn’t that bad. If you’ve taken grade 12 advanced functions and grade 12 calculus, you will be fine. Calc 1000 pretty much reviews things you’ve already learned in high school. The concepts are not difficult or abstract in any way. The best way to study for this class is to do practice questions. The exam questions are almost identical to the practice questions that are provided, so do as much practice as you can!
Math 1229 is probably one the easiest courses I’ve taken in university. If you’re not good at math this course is perfect for you! The concepts are very straightword and there are no tricks in this course. As long as you take the time to learn the material and practice it, you will do fine. This course is not content heavy either. Like all math courses, the best way to study for math 1229 is to do practice questions. There is a textbook associated with the course that has a lot of practice questions in it. Overall, it’s a wonderful course that will lighten your workload.
KEY BUILDINGS ON CAMPUS
NATURAL SCIENCE CENTRE
1151 Richmond St, London, ON N6A 5B7
NORTH CAMPUS BUILDING
2004 Perth Dr, London, ON
UNIVERSITY COMMUNITY CENTRE
1151 Richmond St, London, ON N6A 3K7
HEALTH SCIENCES BUILDING
1151 Richmond St, London, ON
MY FAVOURITE STUDY SPOTS ON CAMPUS
D.B Weldon Library
Must Knows for Courses @ UWO
Western University Rideshare
Used Textbooks:for sale (uwo)
Your residence and floor facebook group (if you’re living in rez)
Sophs! These are upper year students that are there to support you. Whether you have a question about school, or just need a friend to talk to, they’re there to help you.
LAMP Program - LAMP leaders are also there to provide academic help. They’ve taken these courses before so they may have resources and tips that can help you.
Academic Counselling - First year can be very confusing! Especially when it comes to things like modules, and breadth requirements, and prerequisites. Academic counselling can help answer those questions and make sure you’re taking the right courses so you can advance to your desired module.
FINAL WORDS OF WISDOM
MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR UNIVERSITY EXPERIENCE!
Your university experience is so much more than going to lectures and writing exams. Don’t get me wrong, academics are extremely important! I mean that’s the reason we’re all here in the first place. But ultimately, 10 years down the line you won’t remember going to classes, you’ll remember the experiences you had, and the people you met. Western is absolutely amazing. One of the positives of going to such a big school is that there’s a niche for everything. University is a time for you to pursue your passion. Join a club, or your faculty council, or a sports team. Attend events that are put on by the sophs and rez staff. Find people that share the same interests as you. Your university experience goes beyond the lecture hall, so make the best of it!
First year can be an extremely steep learning curve. It’s okay to struggle. It’s okay if your marks go down. I promise it is not the end of the world! It may seem very stressful and overwhelming at times but it will get better. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! It may seem daunting to speak to professors but they truly want the best for you. All my professors have been approachable and kind. I’ve never felt silly for asking them a question.
Your 4 years of undergrad are going to go by so fast. I say this as someone who’s about to enter her last year, it truly goes by in the blink of eye. Cherish your time here, and make the most of it. You are in for an amazing ride!