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#UofTGrad17: Pei Qi Li

Pei Qi Li says she decided to live on residence to learn how to be independent, a decision she was grateful for and was the reason she decided to serve on the Residence Life Team.

#UofTGrad17: Pei Qi Li

If there is one thing Pei Qi Li wants anyone to know about her is she loves teaching and education. “I believe that it can empower, enlighten, and nurture future thinkers,” she says.

She discovered her loved for education in High School volunteering for Chess in the Library which was the reason she applied to U of T Scarborough and U of T Mississauga for the French stream of the Concurrent Teacher Education Program; she chose UTSC to stay closer home to pursue a Specialist in French and Minor in Biology.  

“I loved the opportunities to teach and learn about pedagogy during undergraduate studies in the Concurrent Teacher Education Program,” she says.

After serving on the Residence Life Team as Humanities Academic Programmer & Promoter for two years, Li has a few tips for incoming students, like the importance of staying healthy, finding ways to make learning interesting and creating a studying tool kit that will help when exam season comes around.

Where did you go to high school?

I studied at the International Baccalaureate program at Victoria Park Collegiate Institute. It was a high-paced program with challenging projects. Nonetheless, it was a positive experience, because from it, I gained experience conducting research and developed my critical thinking skills.

What’s the best-kept secret on campus?

I don’t think that this is a secret; it is something that more students should use: the intercampus loan at the library allows you to have books from other University of Toronto libraries delivered to UTSC. This is great for research; I have to admit that I used this for leisure reads too. 

Where do you feel most at home on campus?

I consider feeling connected key to feeling at home, so I think that I feel most at home at the Residence Centre. The Residence Centre is the place where so many events and Residence Life Team meetings were held, so this space brings back many residence memories. Going back to visit the Residence Centre brings back the sense of community that I felt when I lived on campus. 

Quick tip for new first years?

Can I share three? These tips are what I learned from my time at UTSC:

1. Don’t forget to take care of your health. Sleep, eat well, and exercise.

2. All courses are great opportunities to learn. Even when courses don’t seem interesting at first, find your motivation to study well for them and maintain a positive attitude about studying.

3. Add to your study strategies toolkit. Course material can change, but knowing how you learn best will help you to get the most out of your courses. 

What should every student do before graduating?

I think that everyone should visit the valley! We are lucky to be surrounded by greenery. I like to take walks there between courses to reenergize and before exams to breathe in the tranquility there. 

What would you like the world to know about you?

I am passionate about education. Two years ago, I learned about the high drop-out rates of the First Nations, Métis and Inuit (FNMI) in Canada and want to support them in their pursuit for education. I am doing research on indigenous education, and will continue to do so, to contribute to the provision of more accessible and culturally sensitive education opportunities where the brilliance of each FNMI student is celebrated. I do the work that I do, because I believe that we will one day have education systems where all students feel supported, respected, and inspired, regardless of their identity.

What is your favorite memory of residence?

There were many happy moments! I especially loved the “highs and lows” portion of the Academic Programmers and Promoters’ meetings, which easily brings to mind enough memories to fill chapters. During this activity, we shared our happy moments of the week and the ones that made us feel low; I always left the meetings feeling more connected to my colleagues on the Residence Life Team. 

What was your most rewarding accomplishment during your time here?

I was the learning facilitator for the course on Francophone literature at UTSC this spring, and it was a fantastic opportunity for me to grow and to give back. I took the course two years ago, and through organizing in-class activities with Professor Beauquis, I reflected more deeply about the course material and begun to put together my professional identity as an educator. 

This placement as a facilitator is one linked to the course CTLB03 (Introduction to Service Learning), and service learning in the context of second language learning is still a field in development. To share our experiences and reflections on service learning in the context of French language learning, Professor Beauquis and I presented at the 6th International Conference on Second Language Pedagogies this April. At the end of our presentation, it was heartwarming to see an extra slide that the professor added: students’ provided positive feedback about how the activities that we organized encouraged critical thinking and facilitated their learning. 

My time as a learning facilitator in this course is the most rewarding accomplishment during my four years of studies, because I felt that it left a positive impact on the UTSC community. I shared study strategies that I learned from my professors and the Academic Advising &Career Centre with the students, which is the next stage from being a student, where gained knowledge is shared. 

I do not believe that any accomplishment can be claimed by one single person: the experience as a learning facilitator would not have been the same without the support of Professor Beauquis, Professor Bongard and my peers. They challenged me to push my growing edge in different ways and provided immense support throughout my journey in this role. 

What’s next?

I am going to study for my Bachelor of Education at Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE)! I am also looking into teaching in an FNMI community after graduation from OISE. 

If we call you up in five years, where do you think we will find you?

I believe that I would be on my way to completing a Master of education degree. With regards to my professional life, I will be contributing to the improvement of education services for the FNMI: I may be teaching in an indigenous community in Canada, researching about education interests and needs of the indigenous peoples in a FNMI community, and/ or engaging in activism to promote positive change regarding FNMI issues. Regardless of what I will be doing, I believe that I will never stop learning and reflecting to improve myself and the lives of others. 


To read about more of the class of 2017 graduates click here

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