During my last semester of high school and the summer before first year, I spent a fair amount of time worrying about what university would be like. Through conversations I had with others, but mainly through movies and TV shows, I thought I had a good idea of what the next four years would look like. I will admit that some of the stories I had heard turned out to be true (lack of time management can get you in a ton of trouble), but for the most part a lot of what I had thought turned out to be wrong. To help ease your minds, I’m breaking down some common myths about university life!
Note: I chose not to write about the myth of not making friends because it’s been covered on the blog before. But I want to take a second to reassure you that you will find great people to hang out with!
The Freshman 15 is inevitable
The terrorizing Freshman 15: the idea that no matter what you do, you will put on 15 pounds during your first year. Between this major change in lifestyle and being surrounded by incredible food options in Downtown Toronto, making healthy options can be a challenge. But with 2 campus gyms covered in your tuition fees, free and membership-based workout classes, and intramural and varsity sports teams, it’s hard not to find an activity to get you moving.
If you need to grab a quick meal between classes, Ryerson Eats has you covered. It offers a variety of delicious, locally-sourced meal and snack options, often made fresh on campus. They also run workshops to teach you tips on maintaining a healthy diet when you’re not at school. More importantly, if you’re building your own sandwich or wrap (which is my go-to), they don’t charge extra for guacamole. It’s a blessing.
You’re stuck in your program — even if you hate it
Your first year of university will introduce you to new ideas and passions, and you may discover that the program you’ve been accepted to isn’t for you. This can make your schoolwork feel like a burden rather than an exciting learning opportunity. If you come to this realization, know that you can apply to transfer to another program and do something you love! Depending on how big of a change you’re making, the process could be as easy as filling out a form and catching up on missed classes, or having to re-apply to the new program. Try to finalize your plan early on so you have more time to catch up!
You’re on your own
The transition from high school to university can be tough. A lot of students think that they’ll have to figure everything out on their own, but luckily Ryerson offers a ton of free support services to help you. If you find it difficult to adjust to the new coursework, you can turn to one of the many Student Learning Support services for help with things like math, writing, or English language help. If you need tools to help you manage your mental health, the Centre For Student Development and Counselling offers individual and group workshops and sessions, and can connect you to additional resources.
You’ll be bound to Toronto during your education
When I started university, I never even considered the possibility travelling. Ryerson offers countless opportunities to travel around the world, for both school and extracurricular activities. There’s an incredible study abroad program that lets you spend part of your school year studying in a different country. It’s an amazing way to explore a new city while getting course credit. Student groups like Alternative Spring Break Ryerson and AIESEC Ryerson are just some of the ways you can connect with international volunteer and work/internship opportunities. There are also student conferences around the world that you can apply to, and sometimes you can get funding from the school to help you pay for your trip!
If you didn’t do well in high school, you won’t do well here (and vice versa)
I can tell you with 100% honesty that your high school grades aren’t a confirmed look into your university success. Whether you’re currently getting straight A’s or not doing the as well as you’d like, university is a big change, and it’s rare for someone to adjust to the new coursework and expectations right away (though not impossible). If you study smart and try your best, you can aim for the grades you want to achieve. You can do it!
Featured Image: GIPHY