Living in Toronto and going to its various post-secondary schools for years and years, you know what it's like to be one of the city’s perpetual students. We struggle with our bills and the constant buzz that is our lives, but the reality is, we wouldn’t trade it for anything.
1. You know where to get all the discounts in the city
When you go to Yoga Tree on Bay and Dundas, you ask for the student discount before they can tell you they have one. You get the sales associate at Aritzia to double check the scarf at the cash machine that she says isn’t on sale because you know it is from your in-depth research. You've had years of practice.
2. Being broke is nothing new for you anymore
When you go to the Metro on the Ryerson campus on a 15-minute-break from class and your debit card is declined, you don’t even blink twice. You know exactly where to get the cheap wine in every section at the LCBO in the Atrium and can make it in and out in five minutes after paying your seven dollars.
3. Having your own place is a distant dream
When making study group plans with your friends, you tell them they are welcome at your place, but it's “in the suburbs complete with parents, siblings, a huge crazy dog and two cats.” When someone asks you if you want to go on a weekend trip to Vegas you laugh and say, “Ya, when I can afford a condo in downtown Toronto.” A.K.A Never.
4. You don't know what it is you "do"
When someone asks you what you do, you don’t know how to reply. Are you still a Psychology major from your time at York University? How about a store manager of that cute boutique on Yonge and Eg you’ve been working at for 3 years? A masters student at U of T? Who knows.
5. You think it's really strange when someone is a "real person" who works 9-5
When you see your old classmates from high school that are working real business jobs on Bay Street or engineering jobs uptown, you marvel at their grown up-ness. You ask them what it’s like actually doing the same thing every day and they look at you like you’re the crazy one…
6. You will know how to work any retail or serving job for the rest of your life
Even when you’ve moved on from the 500 various jobs you had in undergrad to your new privileged TA status, you now know everything there is to know about retail and serving. You help out the server at the restaurant with the bill when he can’t figure out how to use the machine. When you find the only size small in purple in the back of the rack of dresses, you just shrug at the sales associate who looks at you incredulously and tells you she couldn’t find that one anywhere even though the computer told her they had it.
7. You don't know what the term "Savings Account" means
When you have to go to Scotiabank and give them proof of your being a student to keep getting those low rates, you laugh when she asks you about a plan to have a savings account. You tell her to check out that little tab on her computer with your OSAP loans, which is when she quietly nods her head and proceeds to put through your application to renew your student visa.
8. When it comes to the "career" tab you're stumped
When filling out any forms or surveys, you always get stuck on the career tab. You’ve been filling out student for the last eight years, maybe by now they can call you something else? Why isn’t there a “professional student” section?
9. OSAP is your best friend
As York sends you email after email about your tuition fee that is fast approaching, you await that glorious payment to appear in your account. You give a huge sigh of relief when you see the money. I guess they didn’t forget about me! You give a prayer of thanks to the gods of OSAP and can even imagine for a few minutes that it’s not money you will have to pay back. At least the government of Ontario gives us a low interest rates.
10. Despite it all, you would keep on doing it if someone paid you
We complain for 75 per cent of each day about the hard lives that we lead as a student but in reality we love it. When asked how you can be in school for so long, you say and mean that you really could do it forever if not for that little fact of needing to make money at some point of your life. Then you start to think that maybe after a few years you can do that part-time PhD that you have always wanted to do.