First-years dreaming of real ‘university experience’ about to be very disappointed

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By Sania Ali

Every year, thousands of wide-eyed high schoolers apply to Ryerson University in hopes of living their best lives in downtown Toronto. Whether it’s fighting a large pigeon over the shawarma you just bought or the aggressive whisper-chatter in ‘Quiet Zones’ on the GO train, what’s not to love? 

But like any university, Ryerson has a dark side. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, despite how much the university’s TikToks may romanticize commuting in the snow. If you’re a first-year dreaming of the perfect ‘university experience,’ returning Ryerson students have got news for you: you’re about to be disappointed.

Hannah Savannah, a third-year bio-med student, says for her, in-person learning was often a traumatic maze to navigate, both mentally and physically 

“Everyone talks about how getting lost in Kerr Hall is part of the ‘university experience’ at Rye, but I was in there for three days. Every hallway looked the same and nobody knew where the exit was,” she says. Savannah survived by creating a teepee out of her pants to keep her warm, something she learned while watching the survival episode of The Office.

3 out of 5 Ryerson students enjoyed in-person learning when they studied on U of T’s campus

Psychology professor Mentos Liver explained that the psychological effects of being stuck in a building for days on end include trauma from being left alone with your thoughts, which can lead a student to change their major again or bring on an extensional crisis. However, Liver said the potential damage is not as great as the consequences the peepeepoopoo man had on students. 

Fifth-year engineering student Carl Minor was studying for his midterms when the peepeepoopoo man was on the prowl. “Are you kidding? I was scared for my life,” Minor explained. “I failed my exam that year because I kept looking over my shoulder in fear of the peepeepoopoo man. I told my professor, but he told me I should’ve studied how to hold an umbrella instead.” 

Minor’s Instagram highlights showed that he was actually out partying the night before his Engineering exam. 

Liver said incoming students shouldn’t worry too much about the painful aspects of online learning. “Listen, at the end of the day it’s all character development,” he says. When asked for specifics about the nature of the character development, Liver said he was busy and to discuss this during his virtual office hours on Thursdays from 1 to 1:15 p.m. 

The Eyeopener contacted the Health and Wellness Centre for mental health tips students going back to in-person learning could use and received an automated email saying we’re currently ranked number 231 on a four-month waitlist to speak to a counsellor. 

But don’t worry; learning downtown isn’t all bad! A survey by On the Record found that last year, 3 out of 5 Ryerson students enjoyed in-person learning when they studied on U of T’s campus.

“I get way more work done at Robarts Library than the SLC,” said Bailee Miller, a fourth-year computer science student. “The atmosphere of intense terror makes you feel really grateful for what you have.” 

Miller said students should take advantage of the fact that Ryerson is a commuter school and try their best to live at home.

“Sometimes, I’m standing in Yonge-Dundas Square, with a Timbiebs billboard to my left and an advert for Donda on my right, when I just zone out and forget about how much I’m paying for my studio apartment,” she says. “Those are the best moments of being downtown.” 

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