Now in my fourth year at Ryerson, I’ve had the chance to live both on and off campus. Deciding where to live is not always easy, as there are numerous factors including costs, accessibility, convenience, and safety. Not everyone can afford to live downtown, but not everyone has the energy to commute for three hours a day. Whether you decide to try residence in your first year, want to commute from home, or plan to move downtown, I can guarantee that you will still have a great time at Ryerson regardless of where you live.
In my first year at Ryerson, I lived in residence at O’Keefe House. I chose this option because during my residence tour I was told that everyone in the house of 33 students acted like a family. I’m not from the Toronto area, so I was eager to gain a sense of community as quickly as possible, and O’Keefe seemed like the obvious option as opposed to living in a dorm of 300 students. It was also the cheapest option by several thousand dollars, and did not require a meal plan. I shared a room with another girl as well as four bathrooms between 33 people, but that’s what the spirit of communal living is all about! I know sharing so little space is not for everyone, but I think I made the best decision as living at O’Keefe House was the highlight of my first year. Residence is also a great experience at Pitman Hall and the International Living and Learning Centre if you want a more traditional dorm experience. No matter which you are placed in, each residence has its own charms and plenty of fun community building events to make new friends and have a great first year at Ryerson.
Pros: There are a lot of pros to living on campus, but most importantly you live within a five-minute walk of all your classes. The O’Keefe backyard also looks great on Instagram.
Cons: It can be expensive depending on which residence you choose.
My second year at Ryerson saw me returning again to O’Keefe House to work as the director of community development on Residence Council. Ryerson Res is reserved for first-year students except for those who are working there, like I was. If you want to live in residence past first year, getting a job in residence is an option for you. Interviews to be a residence advisor or academic link, both which are live-in positions, are held in the winter semester, so keep an eye out for the opportunity if you wish.
Pros: Working in residence is a good way to make connections and have an unforgettable leadership experience!
Cons: You can’t really “escape” work, since you live where you work. Also, it could be more challenging than you think to balance your courses as well as manage students in a residence.
In my third and fourth year, I lived in Campus Co-op, which is a housing cooperative located in the Annex. After living with 33 students for two years, I realized that I truly enjoyed communal living and don’t think I ever want to live alone. I genuinely enjoy the sense of community that comes with living with a large group of people, and not just because cooperative living has a lot of potlucks. You may not become best friends with all of your housemates, but there is a comforting feeling in knowing you will come home to a warm environment. My commute to school is about 20 minutes by subway which is not bad at all, allowing me to stay as late on campus as I want.
Pros: You have more freedom when you don’t live on campus and can have as many dinner parties as you wish.
Cons: You could have a long commute (but you can always do your readings on the train!).
I have several friends who live off-campus in condos and apartments and many of them enjoy their experiences, despite having to commute. My friend Shane lives off-campus in North York as opposed to downtown and says, “I feel ambivalent about not living on campus because I enjoy the fact that I live away from the hustle and bustle of downtown, but I also enjoy the idea of always being around my friends.”
If you decide to live off-campus, Ryerson recently launched a new off-campus housing office to assist students in their search to find a new place to call home. If you are a first-time renter, it would be beneficial to connect with the office so they can provide you with resources you never knew you needed. House hunting can be overwhelming, but rest assured that Ryerson will try their best to support you how they can.