Humans of USMC: Omar Quazi and Shadman Aziz

Humans of USMC: Omar Quazi and Shadman Aziz

Ethan Deneault STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Omar and Shadman are both third-year computer science students at the University of Toronto (U of T) and the University of St. Michael’s College (USMC). They have both been involved greatly in Orientation over the years as group leaders, helping incoming freshmen adjust to university life. Both are also prominent figures in social media, due to starting their clothing brand ESSNTIALS.

HUSMC: Shadman

1)    Tell me about yourself!

If, guys, you didn’t know already, my name is Shadman Aziz and I’m a third-year computer science student. Some of my passions outside of school include gaming, TV shows, movies, and working out.

2)    How do you enjoy computer science at UofT and USMC?

I would be lying if I said it wasn’t challenging. It’s definitely a major that requires a lot of work and time. Last year for me in particular didn’t go as planned, but once you pass first and second year the rest should not be exponentially harder.

3)    Any plans after graduation?

I’m looking forward for my co-op term next year, and if I like the company I work for, I will go back to them for my first few years out of university. However, eventually I want to have multiple businesses alongside my fulltime job in the tech space.

4)    Tell me about how you started up a clothing brand.

Me and Omar got bored over last summer and needed something to put our time into, so we decided, what better way to spend our time than to start something related to what we are both passionate about (clothing)? I was in Bangladesh at the time and had a few uncles there who could help me with inventory. We were up and running by the end of the month.

5)    Do you have any advice for new UofT students trying to get involved with more extracurriculars?

Delegate your time wisely. University semesters fly by — heck, I still feel like I’m new here. If you feel like you can manage to spare time from your studies then you should definitely get involved in extracurricular activities, such as joining student councils or clubs related to your interests. Such things can definitely help take your mind off school for a while and help de-stress. One thing which I highly recommend is doing Orientation. I’ve been doing it for two years straight and it was by far the best decision I made during my time here. You make some everlasting memories and get to make new friends.

6)    How have you learned to cope with the stress of exams?

Not one of my strengths, since I deal with exam-related anxiety pretty often. However, one thing that has always helped me is preparing beforehand. If you keep up with the course content every week, then come exam season you will automatically feel better about the forthcoming exam. I feel most people have a habit of not studying seriously until the exams come knocking, which is a terrible predicament that will pretty much guarantee that your grades will not be optimal.

7)    What is it like to be a commuter at U of T and USMC?

Being a commuter can be very challenging since you don’t get to spend enough time with the rest of the people on campus. This can lead you to a feeling of missing out and a notion that you might never be able to make close friends at U of T. This will be the case only if you decide never to get out of your comfort zone. You need to get involved in the school community and try to approach people you see yourself being friends with. A great tip that worked for me is striking up casual conversations in places that you feel very comfortable in. For me this was the gym, but for you it can a club you are a part of or even a lecture hall. The most important thing is getting yourself out there. 

HUSMC: Omar

1)    Tell me about yourself!

I am currently a third-year student at U of T doing my major in computer science, statistics and possibly a linguistics minor! I have been coding since I was in grade 7 and have always been fascinated by it so I found it fitting to continue my education in this field!

2)    How do you enjoy computer science at UofT and USMC?

Comp. Sci at U of T is hard. The competition is fierce but at the end of the day, I love computer science. The challenges and resources U of T provides [are] truly amazing. Having the chance to study and be a part of an institution like the University of Toronto and being a part of the St. Mike’s family has given me the ability to enjoy my time here at the university while still being challenged by the program.

3)    Any plans after graduation?

Start a tech company most probably. I have an entrepreneurial spirit. I love the idea of creating and making new products and bringing ideas to life.  

4)    Tell me about you how you started up a clothing brand.

ESSNTIALS Co. was a summer project that a friend (Shadman) and I dove into (summer 2018). We liked the fashion industry, understood it, and wanted to have some fun along the way. It helped us to get a deeper dive into the business world and meet some amazing people along the way. 

5)    Do you have any advice for new U of T students trying get involved with more extracurriculars?

Get involved! Getting involved is important at the university. The terms move too fast and within a blink of an eye you’ll be done first semester, then a few more blinks and you’re graduating. Everything here is very fast-paced. To truly get the best experience out of your university life it is important to get involved, network, and connect with the people around you. You’ll always learn something new and there are some really cool clubs that are offered by the campus and/or students. There [are] probably a million clubs and programs offered by U of T (we even have a Quidditch club). If there isn’t a club for it, make one!

6)    How have you learned to cope with the stress of exams?

Exam season is the worst. I think staying on top of your classes, going to them, makes it so much easier when it comes to exams. In my first year I would cram an entire semester’s worth of learning into one all-nighter. Worst. Mistake. Ever. It literally is not possible to learn everything over night unless you have photographic memory (in which case you should be fine), so for the most of us, we need to go to class. During exam season there are a bunch of de-stressing activities offered by the campus and St. Mike’s. This really helps with the pressure of exams and I encourage you to go to them! Another thing that helps me is going out with a friend or two and hanging out for a night; just having the chance to take a little time off helps rest the mind and lets you focus much better. Constantly over-loading the brain with information doesn’t help. so get out there and go to some of these events to help de-stress from exams!

7)    What is it like to be a commuter at U of T and USMC?

Commuting isn’t too bad. It would be a little harder for other universities, but U of T is basically a commuter school and so most of the students you will meet on campus are commuters. USMC also has a great community which makes things 10 times better.

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