This is Nicole Di Donato — a first-year student who will be chronicling her first year as a ram

Year One

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By Nicole Di Donato

This coming fall, I, along with thousands of other first year students, will be starting the next chapter of my life.

Although it has been hard to leave high school behind, I cannot deny that I have been looking forward to getting a fresh start at Ryerson. I have changed a lot throughout secondary school and feel as though I have outgrown the petty high school drama that my friends always seem to be involved in.

This, along with the thought of moving out on my own, making new friends and studying something that interests me has made me impatient waiting for the Fall to arrive. However, now that high school is officially over and I’m finally moving out on my own, the pre-university jitters are beginning to sink in.

Out of all the campuses I visited, Ryerson instantly made me feel at home. Despite how confident I am in choosing Ryerson, I have been unable to shake my fears. What if I have no one to hang out with during frosh week? What if I fail all of my classes? What if I get so stressed out that I stay curled up in a ball in my dorm room all year and give up on life?

I want to start university on the right foot by finding a group of friends who challenge and motivate me. This means learning how to cope with the increased course workload and responsibility. I know I am not the only incoming freshman who has these thoughts, but it is easy to feel alone during this transition from high school to the post-secondary level.

This is the beginning of a new phase for not only myself, but for thousands of other teenagers. We are all trying to figure out who we want to be and what we want to do for the rest of our lives. It is not like high school where everyone is following the latest fashion trend or abiding by whatever rules are set out by the popular kids. This is a time that is all about figuring yourself out, not those around you.

I’m from Mississauga and will be living in Pitman Hall during my first year. I have been fantasizing about what my dorm room will look like, and what it will be like to have complete freedom to do whatever I want, whenever I want. Despite the many pros of moving out for the first time, I know living alone is not going to be all glitz and glamour. I know it is going to be extremely difficult to leave my friends and family behind. I will have to take on a lot more responsibility than I am used to.

One of my main fears about living alone is not having my dad or brother there to help kill the spiders or any other type of bug that finds its way into my room. So hopefully my floormates do not mind giving me a hand while I am busy hiding in a corner. Otherwise, I am going to have to muster up the courage to squash those little buggers on my own.

We incoming first year students also face the challenge of deciding whether or not to continue being in a relationship with our high school girlfriend/boyfriend. I recently got out of a year-and-a-half relationship with my high-school boyfriend, for many reasons. The main one being that we were both unprepared to handle the extra stress that comes along with having a long distance relationship.

Although this has been a hard time for me, I know I made the best decision by giving myself the space I need to get a fresh start in university. However, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous to enter university single, as I am so used to being in a relationship. On the other hand, having the freedom to do whatever I want and not feel the need to hold back from going out with my university friends is exciting.

Despite my fears, I cannot wait to attend Ryerson and experience what it is like to live in downtown Toronto. During this scary, yet exciting time, I have learned that it is important to stay true to myself and to prepare for the many challenges that I will face in your first year.

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