Ryerson University isn’t like most schools: for one, it’s downtown and in the centre of the busiest hub in the country. Secondly: well, things can get a little wild here, but if you haven’t had a stupid night dancing to every song at Gracie’s during Thirsty Thursdays, can you even say that you go to Ryerson?
Honestly, it’s a little strange for me writing this article. This is the first time in four years that I won’t be attending Ryerson University in September. I called Ryerson my home for a long time, and now that I’ve graduated, I think it’s time to spread some wisdom so it can become your home, too.
Your OneCard is your lifeline
Taking a picture for your OneCard goes something like this: “Meh, it’s not that great - but I can just take a better one next year, right?” Wrong. The OneCard that you have now is the OneCard that you will have for the next four years, and it is also your access to every building and event on campus. So hold on to this!
You will get lost in Kerr Hall at least twice a day
Once on the way to class and once on the way to find a washroom. Don't feel silly about it - it happens to all of us.
Prepare to have to speed walk wherever you go
Who needs to go to the MAC gym when you can just get your daily dose of cardio weaving through the slow-moving tourists and protestors who happen upon your campus?!
You will probably screw up your course intentions each year
And that's okay. When you send in your course intentions, the classes you chose are not guaranteed. Course intentions are something that your department does in order for you to get organized. Messing this up is an easy fix.
The only noise you're allowed to make on the quiet levels of the SLC is your breathing
One time I brought a granola bar to a quiet level of the SLC and it was the worst decision of my life. And the worst part? Furthering that embarrassment when you try to figure out how to use the elevators down. It’s honestly a game of Whac-A-Mole.
Don't rely on the Eaton Centre as your shopping sanctuary
The reason why tourists love going to the Eaton Centre is because it’s something you can afford only once a year. Don’t get into the habit of going here - unless you’re totally okay with being broke and stylish.
Expect a "Ryerson Security" email at least three times a day
It might freak you out at first, but after the tenth email you’ll start to see it as a normality. And that’s when you’ll realize you’re a Torontonian.
Begin each morning with the hot chocolate from the Oakham Cafe
You know what they say - a Oakham Cafe hot chocolate a day keeps the doctor away. It's in the Bible somewhere, too.
Don't expect to have a good sleep for the first month
Especially if you live in Pitman Hall. My memories of living in Pitman Hall would either terrify you or excite you.
Opt out of that dentist cover shenanigans
Every year, you get offered dentist coverage at Ryerson. If you have another option when it comes to cleaning your teeth, then you best opt out of the insurance so you can your money back.
Don't rely on the Ram In The Rye to be your go-to campus pub
I love the Ram In The Rye, and this is definitely not me shading them. Just remember not to close yourself off to the other amazing pubs near campus. I mean, my go-to bar was Lou Dawgs, and it honestly made those four years of hard work a lot more bearable.
You will become a huge fan of the "Believe Guy"
When you first encounter the “Believe Guy” in Yonge-Dundas square, he will scare you. He is so quiet for so long before he yells “believe” in your face. Though after a couple of weeks, you will become so accustomed to the sound that you’ll honestly enjoy his dedication.
Never buy brand spanking new textbooks
Seriously. You will save so much money getting books from their used book room, or even by looking for copies on Ryerson's Facebook group.
If you commute, be sure to actually spend time in the city
This one is really important. After living on campus my first year, I then decided to commute from Hamilton to Toronto for my three remaining years. As frustrating as it was at times, it also helped a lot when I would stay in the city for more than just my classes. So if you’re in the city for a course - make it worth your while. Attend a concert. Grab something to eat with friends. It’ll make commuting feel a lot less lonely.
A lot of people are going to trash your school - be prepared to defend it
I’m a Hamilton native, so when my hometown friends found out that I was attending Ryerson University instead of the science-dedicated McMaster University, their expressions said something like this: “Lucky you! It’s going to be sooooooo easy!” Ryerson has this strange reputation of being an mediocre school, but I've had multiple breakdowns to prove that it isn’t. So don’t be afraid to stick up for this awesome place.
Never, under any circumstances, give up
Because you’ve got this. As hard as the next couple of months are going to get, just remember that millions of people have been there before, and they have made it. So have fun, make friends, and remember that you are attending one of the most special schools in the country.