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Student life at Ryerson is in danger of extinction. News editor Sarah Del Giallo
looks at how program cliques are battling the trend

No one survives alone in a zombie apocalypse. Think of the movies. There’s always a group of people who bond with each other for moral support, and use that community to survive – or at least survive longer than most of the human race.

In regards to student life, Ryerson campus could be compared to a zombie wasteland. At other universities, like the University of Western Ontario or Queens University, the student community is alive and apparent to all those around. Ryerson’s campus, however, is full of students who come to campus for one thing and one thing only – brains. Or the student equivalent to eating brains, which is sitting alone in class, grabbing a coffee and drinking it in quiet isolation before going home.

Most university campuses are a place to hang out, party and make friends. But the qualities that make Ryerson different from other universities also alter student life.

We’re in the heart of downtown Toronto. There’s a constant sense of rush when you enter the core of this city, and it doesn’t stop when you step onto campus. Despite wanting to make a life-long friend or two at Ryerson, nobody seems to have the time to stop and chill while they scurry down Gould Street.

Ryerson is also a commuter school, so most of the students here already live in the GTA. They live in the cities they grew up in, with their friends from high school. It isn’t necessary to make friends on campus, because their life isn’t on campus. It isn’t that Ryerson students aren’t sociable, but their social lives exist elsewhere.

So here we are, on Ryerson’s metaphorical wasteland. Is there anyone else out there who wants more than a degree?

There is hope, my friends. There are survivors. Groups of students who use Ryerson as a place of sociability and networking.

But unless you’re already in one of these groups, you probably don’t know what I’m talking about.

These groups tend to be program specific. Think of theatre, engineering, nursing or people from fashion and interior design.

The programs where students tend to form stronger and faster bonds are the programs with small class numbers, an intense workload, practical learning experiences and group work.

“I like having a group of five to six guys that I talk to, and the way this program works out, I end up having that group of five to six guys,” said Alex Loree, a second-year aerospace engineering student.

Jessica Raffa, a second-year fashion communication student said, “I think it’s because our program is so intense that we spend so much time together. It just almost makes it more natural to make friends.”

But there’s still hope for those who’ve been infected with the antisocial zombie virus. When you’re getting coffee and waiting an eternity in line, say hello to your zombie neighbour. Or talk to the person sitting next to you in class. They’ll probably appreciate the social interaction.

Step out of the wasteland Ryerson. Let yourself have a university experience that’s more than just a degree — more than just brains. Come back to life. It’s pretty great out here.

Photo by: Marta Iwanek

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