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When I sit back and think about what I'm doing with my life, I often find myself deeply regretting ever coming to the University of Waterloo. It may very well be one of the worst decisions I've made in my life. The bureaucracy surrounding Waterloo is atrocious. The student union is terrible, does not foster a positive student community, leaving individual faculties creating their own social circles which lead to a very divided campus. In addition, they force students to pay a very expensive health insurance fee, leaving you only 1 week to opt out at the start of the fall semester for the whole year. If you miss the deadline, you're forced to pay an additional ~400 dollars on top of tuition, textbooks, student union fees, etc. Not cool, FEDS. No one ever goes out to campus events and the campus vibe is always cold, anti-social and isolated. It's just not a friendly place to be. The co-op programs at Waterloo are very overrated and I felt cheated, as it was the main reason I chose the university. During the open house, university employees really hyped the co-op program. Everywhere seemed to say it was great, and online, they boasted that over 90% of students found a job. But when I logged onto JobMine, jobs were scarce compared to students enrolled in the program and very few students were ranked, let alone hired for jobs they were hoping for. No meaningful support is given from the co-op office and the system clearly favors employers over students. Professors are very hit or miss. Waterloo definitely has some great profs, and a quick look at ratemyprof will attest to that, but there are also very poor ones who will make your student life a living hell. Even with good profs and lab instructors, I would say 30-40% of the TA's I've had didn't speak English as their first language, which is generally fine when communicating over email, but is sometimes very hard to talk to in person i.e. during a lab. Finally, for all the fees we pay, libraries are often over-crowded, loud and dirty. The path to the DC library is not even paved and turn into one long mud puddle during spring. I felt cheated from UW's co-op program and reputation as a leader in research. I'm not sure if it is due to the relatively new president they have had and if it's simply a case of things not being how they used to be, but UW is definitely not a student friendly university. It isn't worth changing cities for, it isn't worth the tuition. As a final slap to the face, just as students began singing up for summer courses, most of the university/faculty staff I had to contact for forms were all on vacation. One positive is I really enjoy the professor I was able to have guide me through my undergrad research. She really made me not hate myself as much for choosing this university. However, if you're currently deciding where to go, especially if you are thinking of entering in the sciences, I strongly suggest you do not choose the University of Waterloo.
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