By Alexandra Yeboah
Nadia Kyerematen’s return to Ryerson hasn’t been welcoming.
The 24-year-old public health student is being denied on-campus job opportunities while she pursues more courses at Ryerson.
On her return, the school defined Kyerematen as a special student, someone who takes classes but is not officially pursuing a degree.
Because of the title she’ll be unable to select winter classes until January. She doesn’t qualify for the on-campus jobs because her winter schedule will be empty until 2010.
“I was frustrated. I needed to pay for tuition. Ideally I wanted to get an on-campus job to get experience. Knowing that I couldn’t get any oncampus job was just upsetting,” said Kyerematen.
She graduated from Ryerson’s occupational health and safety program in 2007 but decided to come back to Ryerson to take public health.
Because of her previous program, which grants the same degree, she showed up in the system as if she’d already completed the program. This forced her to enroll as a special student.
The most difficult thing Kyerematen finds about this whole experience is the lack of academic advising.
“No one knows where you should go. You’re running around Ryerson talking to people who can’t help you. They don’t know who you can talk for more information,” she said.
Liana Salvador, Ryerson Students’ Union vicepresident education, said there are two issues with the way administration has dealt with Kyerematen’s case.
Her first problem is with the lack of academic advising. The second is an academic problem with the program. Specifically, the inability to pursue a different branch of the faculty.
Salvador is striving to help Kyerematen in whatever way she can.
“We’re still in the process of dealing with this issue. She’s been bounced all around the place, and I’ve tried to stop the bouncing.”
Tim Sly, interim director of the school of occupational and public health, said that situations like Kyerematen’s are unusual.
“Special students who come from all kinds of directions have to wait until we ensure that fulltime undergraduate students are [registered] for the year. For whatever reason, those people are at a bit of a disadvantage.”
But through it all, Kyerematen still hopes to study public health at Ryerson.
“I’m not doing this for Ryerson. I’m doing this for public health, I’m doing this for the people I would be helping,” she said. “I just got to do the program, and then leave Ryerson behind and look to the future.”