A Fresh Start: Adapting to Change

Every two weeks, we’ll be sharing blogs written by students and alumni. If you’d like to learn more about why other students have chosen Ryerson, visit why.ryerson.ca/belong to hear their stories.

Growing up in the Greater Toronto Area in the town of Richmond Hill, I remember constantly hearing the words “Ryerson is a commuter school – it has no sense of community”. Initially had a skewed perception and thought that the only way to get the “full university experience” would be to attend a school away from home. After graduating high school in 2013, I enrolled in a Business Administration program at a school located an hour and a half drive away. However, as life would have it, it threw me a curve ball.

In 2016, I began my journey at Ryerson after months of deliberation about my next step. After years of studying in a program that wasn’t right for me, along with my frail mental health, I made the hard choice of leaving my former school despite my two years of undergrad, desperate for a fresh start. Starting over wasn’t easy to say the least. I felt as if I was entering my undergraduate studies just as my peers were getting ready to graduate, and it made the transition much tougher being aware of the age gap between myself and the incoming students.

I remember the first day I really stepped foot on campus. It was mid-August back in 2016, and I was running late for an enrolment workshop that was being offered by my faculty. I walked into the Podium building with a sense of dread as I navigated the unfamiliar building. At the time, I was closed off to the prospect of making new friends- after all, I was only there to get an education. My thought process essentially consisted of the idea that I would only go to school to attend classes then head straight home with my all too long commute. However, incidentally, that day I met someone that would become one of my best friends. In a room full of students from the Faculty of Arts, the first person I talked to happened to be in the same program, environment and urban sustainability. Then I found out that she was the also the same age and that she had started at Ryerson after completing a CEGEP program back in Quebec. All of a sudden, I didn’t feel so alone anymore. I realized just how diverse the Ryerson cohort was in terms of age, ethnicity, culture, and race. I also realized that there were many others like me – either starting over after attending a different post-secondary institute, switching over from a different program, or attending school again after a long hiatus in the workforce. Either way, everyone had their own story.

Cheering on the RAMs with some quality people!

Despite my initial fears, my experience at Ryerson has surpassed every expectation in the best way possible. During my time here, I’ve gotten to be a part of amazing student organizations like EUSSA (Environment and Urban Sustainability Student Association) and SMASH (Students Mental Awareness Support and Health), and RLAS (Ryerson Liberal Arts Society) and work for Ryerson’s Housing and Residence Life for the last two years. I’ve come across so many incredible opportunities and was able to meet phenomenal individuals who have all had an impact on me in some degree/form.

Thinking back to a few years ago, it’s strange to think of how different my life would have been, had I not decided to come to Ryerson. Three years ago, I would’ve never envisioned myself as a residence advisor to a wonderful community of students or see myself partaking in different student societies. Three years ago, I wouldn’t have met the people I’m able to call some of my closest friends today. What felt like the most devastating and uncertain change actually ended up being the biggest blessing I could’ve possibly hoped for, with so much room for introspection and self-growth along the way. Ryerson has truly been a game changer for me. In spite of the fact that I had no expectations, I found where I truly belong – within the tight-knit community that exists in the heart of Toronto.

Ryerson Housing & Residence Life staff team 2018-2019

Learn more about Jina’s story!

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