The Transition Between College and University

Alyssa graduating

I remember my first day of college, I was a bag of mixed emotions; hopeful, a little nervous, and very excited. Fast forward three years and those same feelings arose again on my first day of University. However, this time, I wasn’t starting fresh out of high school, I had a college diploma and some life experience under my belt. Even so, I was still feeling uneasy about my transition.

When I graduated college, I was not only leaving behind my school which had helped me grow tremendously, I was also saying goodbye to everything I knew for the past three years, my professors, the student groups I was a part of, and my friends. As I began thinking about my journey to Ryerson, I watched as my other college classmates started their careers. I couldn’t help but question… why am I diving into another two years of school? Would I be better off starting my career now? Will this get me further ahead? These questions haunted me so much that I sought advice from anyone who would listen to my concerns: friends, family, professors, you name it. After some careful counselling from just about everyone in my circle, I finally made the decision to take the leap and accept my offer to Ryerson. Smooth sailing from there right? Well… not exactly, I still had a few concerns.

Unlike the transition between high school and university, the changeover from college to university can feel slightly confusing. When someone asks you what year you’re in, your answer might go a little something like this, “Well, I’m in third-year, but it’s my first year here at Ryerson, but it’s my fourth-year in post-secondary.” I told you, it’s confusing, but it’s also a great conversation starter. Which leads me to my next topic, making friends. Jumping into a program that people have already been in for two years is much different than starting in first year fresh out of high school. You can’t help to think that the people around you have already established their friend groups and don’t want anything to do with you. I learned very fast that this is simply untrue. If you’re willing to put yourself out there, you will start to make friends very easily. My last concern was getting lost. Coming from a college with a total of four buildings that were all attached (it was really just one large building), I was nervous that I would not be able to find my way around such a large campus, especially in the heart of downtown Toronto. With a little practice (literally just walking to each of my classrooms and lecture halls a few times the day before school started), and leaving myself some buffer time in the first few weeks, I was able to master what I needed to know of the Ryerson campus. Side note: Kerr Hall is another story… don’t expect to master it…like ever.

What I learned through my journey is that it’s not about what others are doing around you, it’s about your personal goals and your own roadmap to achieve those goals. Once I recognized that it was my own insecurities that were holding me back, I was able to tackle them head-on and start enjoying the new road I was on. I am now confident that I made the right decision, and couldn’t imagine my life without Ryerson in it.

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