Reality has been even better!

Fall 2013

Emma Hansen

Schulich Leader at University of Toronto

Whatever I expected from my first semester at university, reality has been even better. It hasn’t been a completely smooth transition, but it’s not supposed to be. The material in my courses has been challenging and rewarding in equal measure —pure mathematics is especially difficult, but I love it. I often find myself staring at a page of my math textbook in wonder. Mathematics is really beautiful, and I love being able to completely immerse myself in learning about it and its applications in the physical sciences.

Immersing myself in learning has meant more than coursework. I have been learning volumes from my classmates and from my mentors. One piece of advice that I would offer to first-year students is to seek out older students that you admire, and do everything you can to learn from them. The mentors I have found at U of T have been constant sources of insight and encouragement.

I have had the opportunity to meet some of the most interesting people on campus in my position as Associate Science Editor at The Varsity, U of T’s student newspaper. Working with the science outreach group Pueblo Science has also been rewarding: I’ve had the chance to interact with elementary school students in the Toronto area and to perform science demonstrations. This has been somewhat of a coming-of-age for me. I remember a group of engineers from McMaster University coming to my elementary school to do science demonstrations. Now that it’s me behind the table, I like it even better: there’s nothing better than seeing the kids’ eyes light up because they’re so excited about science.

Another exciting thing has been the ability to refine my ideas about certain topics. I came here with some nebulous ideas about science and society, and now I’m able to refine and develop those ideas. I’ve made a lot of friends through my involvement with the United Nations Society, and I’m becoming better informed of how science works in a global context.

None of this would be possible without the generous support of Seymour Schulich. I am so incredibly grateful to have been chosen as a U of T Schulich Leader. U of T has a vast number of opportunities in the STEM disciplines – opportunities for excellent theoretical and experiential learning, exciting research opportunities, and a fantastic science community. I can’t wait to keep learning.