How to survive Club Rye (the school, not the sandwich)

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School is what you make it.”

A sitcom cliché. Ward Cleaver said it on Leave it to Beaver, Alan Thicke said it on Growing Pains, et cetera. But unlike most noxious chunks of TV wisdom (all beer drinkers are good-lookin’ partygoers, a nice car will make you popular, Coke really cares about you as an individual, honest), this one is true.

If you’re reading this paper, odds are you’re working through three to four years of “higher learning” at Ryerson. Soon, you will be up to your neck in assignments, labs, and electives, staring at a computer screen at 3 a.m. and hearing voices telling you that really, the shoeshine guy by the Video Annex doesn’t have it all that bad. In other words, school will start to Get To You.

Before long, you’ll start seeing Ryerson as a monolithic concrete tombstone of toil and misery. Granted, Ryerson does look like a giant concrete tombstone, but it doesn’t have to be all toil and misery. Within the damp slabs of rock that form Jorgensen Hall, there are…things to do. Non-academic things. Even fun things. 

“School is what you make it.” Thanks, Ward. The best way to keep yourself from becoming an academic drone is to make the effort to find other things here that interest you. CKLN, The Eyeopener, Oakham House, the Games club. No matter what your interests are, there is probably something here on campus that you would enjoy being involved in, or people you would enjoy working with. Even if there are no established clubs that appeal to you, you can make your own — by taking advantage of The Eyeopener’s free classified services to try to find people who share your enthusiasms. You could also use your free Internet account to cruise the newsgroups in search of similar minds. (The Editor, by the way, is always up for a good game of poker.)

“But won’t this cut my study time?” you ask. Well, maybe. But it’s worth losing a bit of studying and even (gasp) class time to try to get as full a university experience as you can. Look at it this way: in The World, a prospective employer will be more interested in you as a well-rounded person than in your Chemical Study of Polymic Materials in the Greco-Roman Era grades. And for three grand a year, you’re owed a little fun.

This is your last gasp of academic and personal freedom before you get sucked into the screaming black void of the Working World. Education reaches far beyond what you do in the lecture theater. And in ten years, the economy may well have eaten all our extra-curricular programming as schools become completely corporate-sponsored. Pepsi presents: ENG 011!

University can be harsh, and Ryerson is a school that works you harder than most. Use this school, instead of letting it use you. These can be the best years of your life — or the most excruciating, stress-filled meat grinder you have ever been sifted through.

“School is what you make it.”

The choice, as with many things, is entirely up to you.

Matthew Sheperd

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