Stereotypes abound for pretty much any and every Ontario university you could think of. Perhaps it stems from rivalries between schools or maybe it's just out of ignorance or misunderstanding, but when it comes to negative stereotypes, York U and its students often take the brunt of it all.
This article isn't meant to demean any other school but rather to clear up some long-held misconceptions about that school near Jane and Finch that you think is too dangerous to step foot on or too far below your postsecondary standards. If you're a current or former York student, can you think of any other stereotypes about your school that you were tired of hearing? Let us know in the comment section below.
1. "If you can hold a fork, you can go to York."
Okay, we get it - haha, very funny. You're so original, dude. The fact of the matter is it comes down to which faculty and program you apply for, as is the case with most other postsecondary institutions. For example, York is actually one of the leading, internationally recognized educational institutions for their faculty of business studies, as well as their space engineering program. I would hope if you're quoting this overused frosh week chant from rival schools that you're not simply some first year psych major at Ryerson or Laurier or wherever else, because there are several York programs that can certainly rival the level of difficulty of the one you're in.
2. "So I guess you didn't get in anywhere else, huh?"
Nah, actually, I did get accepted to a bunch of schools, with yours probably included, too - I just chose not to go there. Contrary to popular belief, York isn't always a "last option" school for many students. You shouldn't pick where to do your postsecondary studies and/or diss somebody else's choices based off of an elitist mindset, folks.
3. "Your frosh week is lame."
Look, lowkey I'll probably agree with you, but if you're using this as just another reason why York U is a poor choice to get an education, I can't help but roll my eyes at it. Frosh week is only a couple of days out of your four-year degree - I wouldn't make it a deciding factor when choosing where to pursue a post-secondary education.
4. "I would never go to your school - I'd probably get stabbed."
There is a misconception around the violent incidents that seem to plague York U's reputation. The reason you always hear of such incidents in relation to York is because the school stands alone in an isolated, suburban area (as opposed to the busier downtown core) and as such is constantly mentioned in the media as a reference point for sexual assaults or shootings near campus. Leslie Armstrong, an editor of student-run paper The Excalibur, states it well:
"When a murder happens at St. George and Bloor [two downtown streets]… Imagine how the Toronto Star would cover such a story. Most Torontonians know that intersection and don’t need any landmarks for reference. They don’t need to be told that it’s just north of the Rotman School of Management or Robarts Library [at the University of Toronto]. The article would simply mention the intersection of the crime scene. Yet when the Star reports that a 22-year old man is stabbed to death outside Randy’s Sports Bar and Restaurant on Keele just south of Steeles, it can’t be without mention of York University, even though the bar is a good 20-minute walk from the outskirts of the Keele campus.”
Maclean's adds to Armstrong's commentary with Toronto Police data (2013) that shows York University Heights ranked 19th for most reported sexual assaults (17.7 per 10,000 residents), Ryerson's neighborhood ranked 11th (21.2 per 10,000), and U of T St. George's neighborhood ranked second worst of all Toronto neighborhoods, with 27.1 reported incidents per 10,000 residents. Just hitting you with some hard facts.
5. "A degree from York isn't worth much."
Rachel McAdams, BFA '01 - internationally recognized Hollywood actress. Steve MacLean, BSc '77 and PhD '83 - Canadian astronaut and former president of the Canadian Space Agency. Jack Layton, MA '72 and PhD '83 - former leader of the federal New Democratic Party of Canada. Your degree is a piece of paper; your education is what you make of it.
6. "Is your school ever not on strike?"
Hey, we've all made our fair share of York strike jokes, York and non-York students alike. However, this can also be a sore spot of conversation with a York student who is just trying to get through their last few required credits before graduation, so, y'know, go easy on 'em during this very difficult time (only half-sarcastic there, to be honest).
7. "York students all have cars and drive to school every day."
This isn't necessarily a bad stereotype... but honestly, where did it even come from? The fact that York's located in a suburban area? Because parking is actually pretty expensive and the school is one of the busiest public transit hubs in the GTA. Whoever said this one has clearly never stepped foot on campus and seen the mile-long lines for the various TTC and GO buses continually pouring in and out of the bus loop.
8. "York students care more about how they look and what they wear to class than their actual studies."
A stereotype if there ever was one. Yes, there will be the ladies who wear stiletto heels to their 8 AM lecture, but then again there are plenty of students who show up in sweatpants and hair tied because they were up late last night working on a paper or studying for midterms. With an incredibly diverse student body of over 50,000 students, there really is no room for a one-size-fits-all stereotype at York. Also, there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking pride in your appearance and looking good if that's the way you feel like presenting yourself! So you keep doing you and just casually slaying, York babes.
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