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Blogging the #RoadToRyerson

By Deven Knill and Natalia Balcerzak

RU Student Life is trying to ease the university transition by featuring five first-year students and their journey at Ryerson with the creation of the Road To Ryerson blog.

“Nobody tells student stories better than students,” said Bailey Parnell, social media specialist for Student Affairs Creative.

When RU Student Life asked incoming students to send in a video on why they were excited to come to Ryerson, they received more than 20 submissions. Mikael Melo, Sunita Singh Hans, Nolan Blanchard, Enna Kim, and Raven Lam were the five bloggers selected.

Each blogger was then asked to publish weekly posts about their experiences for five weeks, beginning three weeks before school started. They were also encouraged to use other streams of interactive media, such as Instagram and Twitter, to share their journey.

Melo, a radio and television arts (RTA) student from Cambridge, Ont., introduces himself on the blog as a film geek and includes a list of all his favourite movies.

He adds that he loves to explore the outdoors and wants to study abroad sometime in the next four years, wherever his road leads him.

For him, the blog is an opportunity to get to know people and start developing an online personality for himself. As a first-year entering the media industry, it’s important to have experience with social media.

“I don’t know if there’s any way that we could repay [RU Student Life] for giving us this awesome opportunity,” Melo said. “I think without Road to Ryerson, I wouldn’t have been able to confidently be like, ‘Yeah, I can do this.'”

Throughout the week, the blogs have accumulated more than 15,000 views, along with more than a thousand tweets using the #RoadtoRyerson hashtag on Twitter.

Singh Hans’ journey included a plane ride over the Atlantic. From a small town in Northern Ireland, she said that she wanted to document her time at Ryerson in a very personal way.

“It’s really important to share your experiences as much as you can so other people can relate to them,” Singh Hans said.

In her first blog post, she wrote about how studying RTA at Ryerson was her dream growing up.

She mentioned that her older sister graduated from journalism at Ryerson and was a motivating force that encouraged her move to Toronto. Singh Hans even chose to include her personal moments of anxiety before leaving to Canada.

“I was very self-conscious about including a lot because I didn’t think a lot of people would understand me, coming from Ireland and my accent and everything,” she said. “What I learned about this whole journey was that people celebrated my differences.”

All of the bloggers said that they had been recognized by their peers and a lot of friends were made because of the blog.

“I felt like a little celebrity in my friend group,” said Blanchard, a creative industries student.

He shared with his readers that he was previously set on studying fashion communications, but when he discovered creative industries — a new program at Ryerson — he knew it was for him.

Blanchard said on his blog that he’s thrilled to be taking a step into university life.

“I thought this was an amazing platform for connecting student life and resources on campus,” said Blanchard.

RU Student Life is hoping to continue with the Road To Ryerson blog in upcoming years.

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