Tavia Bakowski and friends playing with sparklers

5 Things I Wish I Knew in First Year

First year was three years ago (wow), and I’ve begun that nostalgic reflection phase we all enter at some point in our lives. Here are a few things I wish I knew back in first year that would have probably made my life a little easier.

Stay away from the Eaton Centre!

When I first got downtown, having the Eaton Centre right there was both a blessing and a curse. I went there to get food, I went there to browse (and inevitably spend my pay cheque) when I knew I should be saving. You have at least four years at Ryerson. Believe me when I say that the faster you learn to steer clear of this mall (unless you need to buy something!), the more your wallet will thank you. There are cheap eats all around campus that fit all types of dietary restrictions. The Urban Eatery in the Eaton Centre, although diverse, is extremely expensive and isn’t always the best quality!

It’s okay to drift away from high school friends

I was pretty scared of losing touch with all my friends from high school, but I soon realized that those who are meant to stay with me, stayed. I tried really hard to maintain connections with everyone; however with us all going our separate ways, we ended up growing apart. We all developed different values, had different experiences and ultimately ended up becoming new people. We all still get together during the holidays, but we aren’t all best friends anymore and that’s okay. Growing is big part of being at university, and I’m very glad I did.

Stay on campus after class.

It’s really tempting as a commuter student to go straight home after class, but one day I decided to skip the rush hour traffic and study on campus. I went to my program lounge, sat on down and started working. This was a fantastic decision: one, I got an assignment half-done; and two, there were ten other students there who were doing the exact same thing. After a few awkward interactions, we began chatting and got along pretty well. We ended up making this a routine and became extremely close. Staying on campus allows you to meet people who you may (or may not) be in class with and gives you a good reason to chat!

You won’t get along with everyone you meet in first year, and that’s okay.

I went through this phase where I went out to lunch with almost everyone I had class with. Everyone was super nice, but I didn’t always click with their personalities. I also joined a ton of clubs and had some great interactions, but I didn’t necessarily see myself with them long term. The people that I ended up becoming the closest with I met late into my first year! It takes time, but eventually you’ll find people that you really get along with, and it will be the best feeling ever. Don’t force yourself to become best friends with someone you don’t hit it off with. University is all about exploring!

Volunteer for things!

The good old “get involved” cliché that everyone feeds you has some truth in it. I have met some of the coolest people and have learned the biggest life lessons by getting involved on campus. I have learned my likes and dislikes, what I’m good at, what I need to get better at and have tested my limits in more ways than one. Getting involved doesn’t just mean student groups. Sometimes Ryerson has call outs for volunteers for things such as the Alumni Weekend, open house, convocation, and more! These are great opportunities to learn more about Ryerson without over-committing yourself. Try it out if you have the time!