Meet Tatijana, BLA Student
About Tatijana Vukovic
Tatijana felt drawn in by the campus atmosphere and the sense of community she experienced while visiting the University of Guelph as a high schooler. Having wrapped up her third year in the Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (BLA) program, she reflects on her love for studying built environments and the way in which well-designed environments impact human livelihood. In the future, she plans to use her talents and knowledge to enrich the living spaces of local and global vulnerable communities, as a fully licensed landscape architect.
Program: Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (BLA)
Hometown: Brampton, Ontario
Year of Study: Third Year
Why did you decide to study at the University of Guelph?
When I was touring different universities and looking at various programs, the University of Guelph felt like home and the perfect place to be. I knew as soon as I stepped onto campus that this was where I was going to go. The people were so nice, the food was amazing, and the overall sense of community was something I had never experienced on a university campus before. The University of Guelph was also the only university that offered the landscape architecture program.
What do you like best about your program?
What I love about the BLA program is that it combines all the things that I am most passionate about. I enjoy studying the built environment that we live in and learning about how a well-designed environment has an impact on the people that live there. The entire project interests me – everything from the initial design stage, to construction, to the different plants and trees that can be incorporated, as well as the ability to use my artistic skills. I also enjoy the intimate class size as it allows you to get to know everybody in your program. It allows for a very supportive environment where we all encourage and support each other during class and those late studio nights.
In what ways were/are you involved on campus?
During my time in the BLA program, I was a part of our Landscape Architecture Student Society (L.A.S.S.). I planned Orientation Day for the incoming first year BLA students. That included creating different activities and making them feel welcomed and comfortable. I also served as an undergraduate student representative at faculty meetings, representing L.A.S.S. and the BLA student body. During this position, I brought up student concerns and questions to the faculty and kept them informed and updated. I also worked closely with faculty on activities and events that would benefit the School of Environmental Design and Rural Development and BLA programs.
Do you have a favourite class or professor?
All the classes that I have taken so far have been interesting and fun! However, I think a few favourites would have to be my construction classes (LARC*3430 and LARC*3440). I took these during my second and third year. They were definitely a challenge, but they were also rewarding courses as well. Both these courses happened to be taught by one of my favourite landscape architecture professors, Steven Clarke. He brought so much passion and knowledge to these courses; I always looked forward to going to his classes.
What residence did you live in during first year?
During my first year, I lived in Maritime Hall which is part of South Residence. I quite enjoyed living there in my first year! It was close to the Landscape Architecture building where I had most of my classes. The only time it wasn’t so nice was when I had a 7 p.m. lecture in War Memorial Hall during the winter semester. Trying to skate across Johnston Green, then down the ramp by the library and walk all the way to Maritime Hall at 10 p.m. at night is truly an “adventure”.
Where is your favourite spot to hang out on campus?
Besides the Landscape Architecture building (which is where I am most of my day), I do enjoy hanging out in the Bullring with my friends, getting some amazing food and listening to live music. I try to take advantage of the weather as much as I can, so I also enjoy hanging out with my friends and doing schoolwork on Johnson Green as well as the Arboretum.
What is an unforgettable university experience you’ve had?
Some of my favourite experiences have been attending events like Homecoming and volunteering at Orientation Week. I am not a huge sports fan, but I love cheering on our teams and showing my Gryphon pride!
Do you have favourite spots in Guelph?
Some of my favourite spots in Guelph would have to be the Old Quebec Street Mall especially the Coco Latte Café, as well as the Boathouse which you can see just as you enter the downtown core. Some awesome nature trails are near the Boathouse, and you can also grab some great ice cream from there!
What is a hobby that makes you happy, or relieves stress?
A hobby that makes me happy and relieves stress is painting. Painting isn’t a typical medium I use for my school projects, and I don’t get many chances to paint with my assignments and deadlines. So, when I do get to paint, I’m not thinking about anything. I’m happy, it’s nostalgic and I’m not stressed. For me, painting feels like an escape from everything.
What are your plans or goals after graduation?
Once I graduate, I would like to spend some time travelling the world before I start working. I would like to travel to places like Australia and New Zealand to explore different landscapes, community, and culture. After travelling, I would like to gain valuable work experience as a landscape architect. I hope to start my career within my community to improve the way we design and use our green space, in either the private or public sector, depending on the opportunities available. I plan to work towards becoming a fully licensed landscape architect under the Ontario Association of Landscape Architects. I’m also considering returning to school at some point to focus on planning and development. I was exposed to planning and development through a few professors as well as courses I was required to take in my undergrad. During my career, I would like to work and make trips to vulnerable communities all over Canada and worldwide to help improve the environment of community members.
Knowing what you know now, what piece of advice would you give to your high school self?
After completing three years of university with one being completely online, I would tell my high school self the same thing that one of my professors told me during my second year of university. My prof said to just trust your gut and go for it – “stop doubting yourself because you are so capable of doing this and you can do this.” Since then, it has been working for me and I am so thankful.
What methods have you found to adjust to remote learning during the period of online class delivery?
Definitely getting outside at least once a day or at least separating myself from my computer screen, especially during days where I’d have back-to-back lectures. I found that when I started the fall semester, I was really stressed, and my body was extremely exhausted and achy. I realised that was because I was not moving around enough. I started going on short walks while the weather was still decent, and I found that it really helped with my mental and physical health. In the winter semester, all my courses were asynchronous whereas my fall semester courses were all synchronous, so I found that creating my own schedule in the winter helped me to stay on track with all my lectures and assignments.
What's one fun fact about yourself?
My handwriting looks like a computer font… seriously.