Ah, my freshman year at Ryerson – it lingers in my memory like a bad acid flashback. Having barely scraped together enough money for tuition through work, savings, scholarships and pawning off dead relatives’ jewellery, there was sadly nothing left for a place ot live on my own.
And since Mater and Pater had lost the family fortune in the Bre-X scandal and were down to their last million-and-a-half, this young thumbsucker had no choice but to commute to school everyday, with the rest of the rabble.
If I can offer one piece of advice to you FROSH out there, it is this: Never commute. It will numb your mind and crush your soul. You will be an academic failure and a social drop-out.
So what other choice is there? Some of you kids who aren’t lucky enough to have their own pad will inevitably choose to live as a street kid – squatting in abandoned buildings and subway tunnels, turning tricks an squeegeeing for spare change, eating pit-roasted sewer rats and anything that crawls out of your neighbour’s beard.
That’s a good start but it’s unnecessary. You’re a university student, you deserve better. You’ve already shelled out almost $5,000 on tuition, so you might as well get the most out of your money. With a bit of ingenuity,an ounce of tolerance and good earplugs, it is possible to live at Ryerson without a dorm room. Remember, you’re not a homeless student, you’re an urban academic planner.
To the young vagrant, Ryerson’s campus can be a virtual smorgasbord – if you’ve got some cash lying around. But even if you’re short of pocket, decent eats are there for the taking. Free food is everywhere on campus if you now where to look, especially during FROSH week.
The trick to keeping a ful belly for free is to join a well-heeled student club/organization/cult. Volunteer for a few and you’ll have a diner date for every day of the week. The Eyeopener serves food for volunteers at the newspaper Mondays and Tuesdays. It’s also not unknown for dedicated volunteers to be offered free liquor as well.
Failing that, hang out at student lounges and teachers’ offices. More often than not, they’ll have plenty of coffee on hand, plus sweet, nourishing doughnuts. And don’t forget those buffet-like meetings speeches, fireside chats, and other similar functions. Make sure to stock up at the Annual Bar-B-Q (Sept. 9)and check out Ryerson’s Christmas party, where the university actually pays for the beer.
If you have a hankering for a home-cooked meal, cook one yourself. The Eyeopener office, for instance, has a fridge (packed to the corners with booze, natch) and a microwave. Hell, with a cookbook from the library and a little ingenuity, you can whip up a dish that would put any Hospitality student to shame.
For more elaborate fare, like a turkey dinner for Thanksgiving, the professors’ offices in the Jorgenson Hall tower are equipped with fridges, ovens, stovetops, pots and pans, toasters and culinary tools If a prof happens to catch you, just offer him or her a nibble and your troubles should be over. Theyll be thankful for the food as they’re often not much better off financially than you are.
If you’ve made enough to have leftovers, you can store them in the free faux tupperware you get for filling out a credit card application. Fill out as many applications under as many aliases as you like and reap the rewards.
Once again, join a club, or just pretend to. Some student groups have comfy-ass couches, designed with the exhausted student in mind. There’s even something called the “Survivor’s Lounge” (Room S58). Check ’em out!
After a while, you’ll make enough friends that they’ll let you crash every once and a while. Try to get a little rotation schedule going.
In the worst case, you can always find a dark corner in our labyrinthine library to squat the night.
You should be able to pick up enough free samples of soap, shampoo, deodorant, tampons, and other toiletries during frosh week to last the year. The Recreation and Athletic Centre charges a measly $17 for a four-year membership. You can use their showers and lockers at no extra charge, and even “rent” a towel or robe for couple extra bucks. Just grap someone else’s soap and begin using it casually. I guarantee they’ll let you keep it.
For you exhibitionists out there, you can catch a refreshing shower under the Lake Devo wterfall,weather permitting.Just sponge yourself off with a handful of those discarded Campus Creditkit flyers.
Ryerson also has some decent washrooms, some of which are seriously underused. Again, the facilities in the professors’ offices in the Jorgenson Hall tower are well-equipped. The toilets are cleaner, the paper softer and the graffiti more enlightening.
The AIDS education projet in Pitman Hall will give you enough free condoms and lube to supply porn shoot and the same student-group couches you slept on make perfect shag pads. If you ensconce yourself in a position with any responsibility at all, you can usually get a key to the office. Baring that, the library has “study rooms” with doors you can book to engage in “research.” Otherwise, your basic plan is to find a secluded spot around campus where your chances of getting caught are minimal (or very high – depending on what you’re into).
For those who are truly desperate, many students have found solace in the firm, perpetually outstretched hand of Eggerton Ryerson. Although some may frown upon the misuse of our founding father’s statue, you can just tell them you’re from the Image Arts building across the street and you’re creating a “happening.”
If you really can’t find a way to entertain yourself while hanging out on campus, then you’d probably have more fun commutiing after all.
There’s ton of fun to be had around Ryerson. You can check out a Rams basketball game, there’s free movie nights at Oakham house, and clubs are always having some kind of event.
Many student lounges are equipped with televisions to catch your favourite show and telephones so you can chat to your friends about Rachel’s latest hairstyle or that nifty new dance number on Alley McBeal. Some even have microwaves.
If you know someone who lives on residence, just crash one of their parties (even though Pitman Hall on Saturday nights is usually just a bunch of guys sitting around, watching movies,stone-cold sober).
Fore more active entertainment, Lake Devo becomes a skating rink in winter, and there are always gym rats shooting hoops at the RAC until closing time. Try a challenging game of chess at the tables around the corner from Jorgenson – make sure to say “what’s up” to the local crack dealer and bring some cash’cause they play for keeps.