Surviving your first year

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By Graham Slaughter

In high school, maybe you were the student council president, captain of the football team or a wilting wallflower. That doesn’t matter anymore. Your first year at Ryerson is all about learning how to tread water in what can sometimes feel like a typhoon of classes, friends, internships and extra-curriculars. Sometimes, you’ll call your mom crying about why you ever decided to come to this stupid university in the first place. Have no fear — the Eyeopener is here to help you. We’ve talked with some upper year students to compile a list of tips on surviving — and possibly even thriving— in your first year of university.

Shake a few hands

Your wolf pack from home has likely been divvied up to a handful of colleges and universities across the country. If you focus too much on keeping these connections tight, you’ll never have time to make new ones. The best cure for homesickness is a night out with new friends. Try introducing yourself to the person beside you in class or in front of you in the OSAP line — you never know where another lone wolf could pop up.

Go clubbin’

Ryerson is swamped with all sorts of clubs that you never would’ve seen in high school, ranging from the Ryerson Adventure Society to the Ryerson University Equestrian Club. Round up some friends from class and hit up the Campus Groups Day (Sept. 8) to scout out which student groups tickle your fancy.

Pop the Ryerson bubble

It’s true — life exists off Gould Street. Toronto is the one of the most diverse cities in the world, constantly hosting various festivals and events. On your day off, hop on the streetcar to Kensington Market or take the ferry over to Toronto Island. Make sure to take time to spot the stars at the Toronto International Film Festival (September 9th–19th), explore the art installations of Nuit Blanche (Oct. 2) and keep tabs on Ticketmaster to see when your favourite bands are making their Toronto stops.

Prepare for the worst

Obvious fact-of-the-day: university is harder than high school. A lot harder. A dip in your grades isn’t just natural — it’s expected. If you fail your first essay, don’t hesitate to make an appointment at the Writing Centre (LIB 272B). The folks there are super friendly and know way too much about MLA style, sizing margins and how to write a proper bibliography. The best part — it’s free! Intramural sports Whether you’re a total juicehead or just a rookie, joining an intramural sport through the Recreation and Athletics Centre (RA C) is the perfect way to make friends and shed the freshman 15. Your options include volleyball, basketball, dodgeball, ball hockey and even ultimate frisbee. Word of warning: watch out for Natural Selection. We’re pretty sure they eat dodgeballs for breakfast.

Profs are people too

In grade 12, your teachers probably told you that your professors won’t care about you as much as they do. That’s a total lie crafted to make them look better. You can get a few bad apples, but most professors are happy to stay after class and chat if you have questions about a lecture or if you just want to say hi. Make sure you take time to butter up your TA too — they’re the ones who grade your papers.

Don’t eat like a student

When you have a full night of studying ahead, you won’t be able to function on Kraft Dinner and coffee. Take an hour once a week to hit up St. Lawrence Market and stock up on fresh, local produce.

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