Hey everyone, if you’ve been following my content for some time now then you know that I have quite the affinity to the Mattamy Athletic Centre (MAC). There’s a good reason for that and it ties in quite well with my journey of coming to Ryerson.
I thought it was time I share with all of you how I realized Ryerson was the right school for me.
March 4, 2015—after six grueling weeks of robot building, the time had come for our first competitive event of the season. You see, I was a member of my high school’s FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) team, Team 5076 Stormbots. FRC is an international high school robotics competition where each year, teams are given a six-week period to build a robot capable of competing in that year’s challenge. Known as the Greater Toronto Central Regional, this would be Ryerson’s first of many FRC events.
I remember arriving at the MAC and thinking that Ryerson must really value their athletics to be using such a large and well-equipped facility. Then it hit me that this building was the famed Maple Leaf Gardens. 15-year-old me was very excited to learn that my robot would be on the same ice rink as where the Toronto Maple Leafs played hockey.
The event was one of the largest FRC events in the province—42 teams. The stands were so packed that it felt like watching a sports game—only with robots instead of people! There was even an opening ceremony on the first day of competition with a speech from the then provost and vice-president, academic, Dr. Mohamed Lachemi. I actually talked to Dr. Lachemi afterwards when he was walking around the pits (designated spaces where teams work on their robot) where he told me that he hoped to see me studying at Ryerson one day.
During our lunch break, I remember walking down the street and just seeing a wealth of food options. Food was always so hard to come by at other FRC events but not here in downtown Toronto. I loved that during periods of downtime, I could just run downstairs and go to the Loblaws. Fixing a robot on an empty stomach was never a fun endeavour. And if that wasn’t enough, the concession stands at the MAC were selling all the classic sporting event foods which really added to the effect of making what I thought was just a small robotics event feel like a big sports game.
Our team competed at many FRC events but Ryerson’s was always the favourite of mine and my friends. Each year my team returned to Ryerson to compete in another FRC challenge, and each year I eagerly awaited to eat at the Loblaws and run up the escalators at the MAC. I loved the whole atmosphere of the MAC. I loved that being in Toronto meant that I could be so close to the mall, restaurants and really everything. And I loved that for three straight years, every Ryerson FRC event felt special.
FRC made me realize that I wanted to study engineering, but the MAC made me realize that I wanted to do it at Ryerson. So when the time came to decide where I’d be spending the next four years of my life, it was an easy choice. I never went to a Ryerson Open House. I never even did a campus tour! The MAC was the only Ryerson building I had ever seen. I figured that if Ryerson had a building as nice as the MAC, then the rest of the campus must be just as nice.
I now spend almost every weekday working out and sometimes even studying at the MAC. I also volunteer every year at the Ryerson FRC event hoping to inspire a younger generation to pursue an education in science, technology, engineering or math and hopefully one at Ryerson too.
And that my friends is really all it took to get me to go to school here. Guess I ended up listening to the words of Dr. Lachemi after all. Oh and fun fact—he ended up becoming the president of Ryerson University. I hope you all decide that Ryerson is the right school for you.