First Year News Feed September 18, 2020: GEARS & Mindfulness

Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering


You’ve made it through your first full week of university! We hope that it’s been fun and interesting, and although we know there’s a lot to take in during the start of term, we hope you’ve been working through it and getting more comfortable.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, we’ll highlight some opportunities to connect with others through GEARS and de-stress with mindfulness in this week’s News Feed. You are also welcome to reach out to your academic advisor for support and to chat about options and resources (for example, it’s possible to reduce your course load or take a break from school this year if needed; the refund schedule deadline for full fee adjustments for part-time/withdrawal is September 23, and these options are all available until November 9 without academic penalty).

Also, reminder that September 23 is also the last day to request timetable changes by completing our online request form.

If you have any questions, we are here to answer them! Please feel free to follow us on Twitter and reach us by email, through our Live Chat service, or by leaving us a message by phone to receive a call back.

Have a great weekend!

The First Year Office Team
(Leslie, Jennifer, Emzhei, JesusMiracle & Hannah)


Guided Engineering Academic Review Sessions (GEARS) are drop-in study sessions where upper-year students provide guidance for reviewing materials, studying for tests, and how to optimize your study habits and time management skills. Get help with any course work at these free weekly sessions in a judgement-free zone. Whether you want to maintain high achievement or improve, GEARS are a great addition to your study schedule!

Core 8/TrackOne session schedule (all times are Eastern/Toronto Time):

Monday 6 – 7 p.m. Nikhil (ChemE), Vicky (MechE)
Tuesday 8 – 9 a.m. Nikhil (ChemE), Sarvenaz (MechE)
Wednesday 1 – 2 p.m. Samantha (MechE), Samir (ECE)
Thursday 1 – 2 p.m. Kim (ECE), Samir (ECE)
Friday 1 – 2 p.m. Samantha (MechE), Vicky (MechE)

All GEARS sessions are being held online through Bb Collaborate in the First Year Hub on Quercus.

*New for Fall 2020* GEARS Conversation Cafes

Looking for ways to practice your conversation skills? Come join GEARS every Wednesday (1 – 2 p.m.) and Friday (2 – 3 p.m.) for our GEARS Conversation Cafes! Each week, we will be discussing something different – from how to engage with your Professors to cultural norms and popular culture. Come get to know your fellow classmates while building your communication skills in a safe, inclusive space.

You can access the Conversation Cafes through Bb Collaborate on the First Year Hub on Quercus — we hope to see you there!


Mindfulness is a practice of being aware of yourself, your body and your surroundings in the present moment. By learning to incorporate principles of mindfulness in your life through meditation and yoga, you can improve how you manage academic stress.

U of T offers many ways to learn about and practice mindfulness, to help you be more calm, confident, and connected. All sessions are free and offered online for Fall 2020. No registration is required.

Featured: Mindful Moments with Multilingual Support (Presented by the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering): Facilitator Christeen Salik and host Cynthia Zheng welcome you to this safe and inclusive space of self-exploration. Beginners are welcome to this guided journey of radical self-care and love!

Christeen speaks Urdu and Hindi (and some Punjabi) and Cynthia speaks Mandarin, Portuguese (and some Spanish) and can support students in these languages as needed. Late arrivals and early departures will be accommodated. Beginners welcome! Every Tuesday from 7:10 – 7:40 p.m. ET.

Access information online here.

Learn more about Mental Health & Wellness at U of T Engineering.

Upcoming Events & Opportunities
  • ILead Leadership Lab: Charting Your Future for Campus Involvement: Want to get involved on campus, but confused or overwhelmed by all the possible choices of clubs and activities? Intentionally set up your future Skule™ experience with some actionable reflection and interaction with your peers. Tuesday, September 22 from 8:00 – 9:30 p.m. ET.
  • Volunteer with Society of Women Engineers Toronto: Calling all students: the Society of Women Engineers is looking for volunteers! This is an excellent opportunity to gain experience working with engineers, expand your network, and help you develop the soft skills needed to succeed in your career. Volunteering in a community like this can help you with your CV development and reference list, as well as help you give back to the engineering community. Opportunities exist for virtual programming, communications & outreach, and as university ambassadors.
  • Ethical and Faith-Based Clubs Fair: Exploring life’s big questions?  Looking for a community to share the journey?  Interested in environmental and other social justice issues? Participate in the U of T Ethical and Faith-Based Clubs Faith to explore opportunities with campus groups.  Engage with other students to learn about different clubs’ goals, programmes, fun activities, spiritual traditions and meeting times. Tuesday, September 22 from 5:30 – 7 p.m. ET Online.
  • Centre for International Experience Events: Check out the CIE’s full events calendar to see what’s happening during the term, including Immigration Orientation sessions (September 23 & 24), Language Exchange events (September 24), and Virtual Trivia (September 25).
  • Queer* & Engineer: Meet & Greet: Let us welcome you to U of T Engineering! Join us for an accelerated meet & greet with some of U of T Engineering’s students, staff and faculty who identify as 2SLGBTIQ+ and/or allies. Through a series of small breakout groups we will get to know each other and let you know about all the magic that is U of T Engineering. During this event it is not necessary for you to have your camera turned on, please do whatever you feel most comfortable with. Wednesday, September 23 at 7:30 – 8:30 p.m. ET. Please register online; a zoom link will be sent closer to date by email. If you are not able to attend this event, check out some of the other Queer Orientation events as well as the initiatives of the Sexual Gender Diversity OfficeQueer Sphere & Engineering Positive Space.
  • Students with Family Responsibilities Orientation: The Family Care Office invites incoming and current students with family responsibilities to this orientation session! Saturday, September 26, from 10-11 a.m. ET, Online. Register online.

*Queer: Our definition of queer here is very broad and meant to encompass all identities within the Two Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Pansexual, Trans, Gender Independent, Queer, Questioning and any other identity under the rainbow!

The First Year Office team periodically updates our Frequently Asked Questions page, and you’re always welcome to email us or use our live chat during office hours for questions that you can’t find answers to.

In addition, given the ongoing pandemic, there are still details and changes regarding facilities, courses, and policies which are being communicated as they are determined. Be sure to monitor your email regularly for official updates, and you should also check the following authoritative pages regularly for current information:

First Year Office
Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering

University of Toronto
35 St. George St., Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 1A4

© 2021 Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering