My name is Ana and I am a fourth-year Electrical Engineering student at Ryerson University. I am also a member of the Ryerson Engineering Student Society (RESS) and an employee at Ryerson University through the Career Boost program.
How would you describe your program to someone who knows nothing about it?
The engineering program helps develop solid critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Engineering is mainly about problem-solving ways to improve the way of living or to simplify the way of living. At Ryerson, there are nine different engineering undergraduate disciplines to choose from. In first year, all of the disciplines require the same courses as students learn the basics of engineering. By second year, the streams split up and classes decrease in size as you progress further into the program.
I am part of the electrical engineering discipline, where we apply fundamental physical concepts such as electricity and power to solve problems that arise in modern day technology. This program is very demanding with multiple assignments, labs and tests every week. At the same time, it is very rewarding. The Faculty of Engineering offers a co-operative internship program which allows students to get real-life experience in the workforce before graduating. I am excited to be embarking on my 12-month co-op work term at a large utility company where I will learn about the industry before going into my fourth and final year of studies. Overall, whether you choose Electrical Engineering, or any other form of engineering at Ryerson, you can expect to develop strong problem solving, critical thinking and communication skills. If you are someone who enjoys a challenge, working together with your peers and learning about technologies of any form, this is the program for you.
What is your favourite thing about your program?
My favourite thing about the engineering program is the teamwork. Teamwork is a very important part of engineering, and we get to practice this in the group projects and labs we do throughout the school year. Being in a program as demanding as engineering is very difficult and can be hard on one’s mental health, so it is extremely important to make friends and have study buddies. The best way to make friends is through group projects and social events like Frosh or RESS events. I definitely recommend attending all of the welcome events in first year in order to not only make friends but also learn about all the resources the school has to offer. Another great way of meeting new people is by joining clubs or teams that spark your interests. I myself am a part of an intramural volleyball team in addition to being on the RESS Cares Committee.
What is your favourite thing about Ryerson?
My favourite thing about Ryerson is the diversity of its students and professors, and the phenomenal location. There are students attending from all around the world so you get to meet many different kinds of people with diverse experiences and backgrounds. In my first year I became very good friends with an exchange student from Russia who has traveled to over 60 countries. I have learned so much from her and love hearing her stories. I think what draws all these international students to the school, in addition to its academic success, is its location. Ryerson is in the heart of downtown Toronto right by Toronto’s Eaton Centre. The campus is scattered across several buildings in that area, and is very close to the subway. It is embedded within the vibrant downtown core and it is a critical thread woven into the city’s fabric. The surrounding food pick-up places and restaurants offer something to satisfy any craving, and you can try new things everyday.
Another great thing about Ryerson is the study space available at multiple sites. My favourite is the Student Learning Centre (SLC), which is a building in the heart of the city with eight floors filled with designated group and individual study spaces for students. Each floor has a different theme and great views of the city. The floors consist of cubicles and rooms that can be booked by students. The SLC is a great place to convene with group members, study between classes or just hang out with friends – it is a great place to meet new people. In addition to the SLC, each program-specific building usually has a lot of study space, as well as state-of-the-art technology and learning tools.
What has been your greatest accomplishment so far in your program?
I believe my greatest accomplishment so far has been my ability to take a full course load while also working part-time at the university and participating in clubs. Time management was something that I struggled with a lot in first year, as many students do. It is hard to adjust to the university school life as it is much more demanding than high school. I found that over time I developed habits and coping mechanisms that allow me to successfully manage my time, and balance my school and social life.
What has been your favourite class that you’ve taken?
While I don’t have a specific favourite class, I always enjoy the classes where we do a lot of group or partner work. These are usually the classes that have labs in addition to lectures. I have noticed that I enjoy my courses a lot more in my third year than I did in my first year. I think this is because they now are a lot more specific to my field and provide in-depth focus, whereas the courses in first year are very general. I have particularly enjoyed my circuit courses because I get to see the theory and methods we learn applied concretely.
Has your perception of your program changed from the beginning of first year to now?
I initially decided to study engineering because I enjoyed math and science in high school. What I have noticed as I go further into my degree is that engineering is about problem-solving ways to improve society, and not just about math and science. In first year I did not fully see the real-life applications of engineering. I see now that what truly draws me to this field is the opportunity to work on projects that have a positive impact on people’s daily lives.
What is your advice for future students in your program?
My advice for future students in my program is to instantly get involved in the Ryerson engineering community by attending Frosh events, RESS events and other first year events. This way students can make friends in their program, allowing for a smoother transition from high school to university. This also enables students to meet and befriend upper-year students who can provide guidance and advice in times of struggle.
Everyone in the engineering community is very welcoming – if you ask for help you will get it which brings me to my next piece of advice: ask for help or guidance. The First Year Engineering Office provides many resources and support for new students and is easy to contact. RESS also provides a lot of support for engineering students through its different committees such as the academic committee, the social committee and the cares committee, to name a few. Know all the resources available to you and use them. I did not know about the Career Boost Program until my third year, and I wish I had known about it earlier. The Career Boost Program offers students who meet certain criteria job opportunities on campus.
My final piece of advice builds on the get involved bit. It is very important to have a balance between school and social life, so remember to take time for yourself and enjoy your university experience because it goes by quickly.