The first year in university is a big change for anyone and everyone. If you came straight from graduating high school, took a few years off, or are going back for a new degree, we all have or will be a Ryerson University freshman. Everybody makes mistakes; however, as a freshman, we believe that everything we do is a mistake. Here is a compilation of slip-ups everyone makes at least once during their first year at Ryerson.
1. Trying to get to the opposite wing of Kerr Hall by walking inside.
Kerr Hall is notorious for being one of the most confusing buildings in Ryerson. It has four sections: North, South, East, and West. Of course you do have the ability to go throughout the building by walking inside, but it is extremely confusing and more time-consuming than you think. Try your best to not make this mistake and just walk through the Quad, you’ll be able to see all wings of the building and it’s a lot easier to find classes this way.
2. Spending all of our OSAP money at the Eaton Centre.
We have all been there. We apply for OSAP and then “accidentally” spend all of that money on sales at the Eaton Centre. It’s tempting, I know, but you have to control yourself when you’re on your way to class and see sales at your favourite stores. If anything, set yourself a budget on how much you can spend at the mall every month (hint: not the entire cheque you receive from OSAP).
3. Thinking you can go a week without spending money on food.
Ryerson is in the heart of the city, and Yonge Street has a lot of restaurants. With a Tim Hortons, McDonalds, and Starbucks every corner, the cravings are too real. A lot of our classes at TRSM (Ted Rogers School of Management) or YDS (Yonge-Dundas Square) are an escalator away from food courts. We try to not spend money, but with the “treat yourself mentality” that everyone has (it’s great, don’t get me wrong) we can never go a week without spending at least $10 on food.
4. Taking the subway when you can take the path.
If you are a commuter (and most of us are) most likely you take a GO train to Union Station. We all have those days where we are too lazy to walk to school on Bay or Yonge, so we take the subway. The problem there is, the subway is a lot of money, especially if you use it every single day. There is the Path that is super easy to take and there is one that is a 10-minute walk from Union Station to Eaton Centre. Try not to make the mistake of spending $20 on the subway per week when you can take a few minutes to walk to school.
5. Falling asleep in the theatres.
Admittedly, the seats in the theatres are extremely comfortable. They’re literally built that way and there are classes in there every day. It’s actually blessed, until you have a three-hour lecture and the professor is talking about a subject you’re not interested in (or it’s an 8am lecture) and you knock out in the theatre.
6. Not getting in involved.
If you talk to any upper years, whether they are super involved or not, they will tell you to try your best to join clubs and build your network. It’s so easy, especially here at Ryerson. Every faculty has a number of clubs to learn about, and you might find something you are really interested in. Being a freshman is nerve-wracking, but I promise you that going out to events or club meetings will result in experiences that will last a lifetime (and you might gain a few friendships too).
7. Worrying about coming to class early.
Here at Ryerson, we run on something called “Ryerson Time,” that is, classes start 10 minutes after the hour. It’s good to make it to class on time, or early; however, there will always be few minutes of leeway. So if you’re still walking, or your subway has a delay on the way, at 9:50 and your class starts at 10:00, do not fear, Ryerson Time is here!
8. The SLC elevators.
One of the biggest mistakes people find are thinking the SLC elevators will take you to a floor on time. They really don’t. Those elevators are notorious for having large crowds/line ups and being ridiculously slow. So if you need to be on the eighth floor at noon because you booked out a room to study in, head to the elevators a little early so you can make there on time and not waste your booking hours. Or if you’re feeling active, or are going to the first four floors, take the stairs there.
9. Planning study groups and not studying.
Firstly, actually booking a study room is extremely intense because you are probably fighting for that room with another group of people. Also, studying is extremely important in university because there is always some sort of assignment or quiz every week. So, when you do get a group of friends to make a study group, make sure all of you are doing work. Think of it as a time where for the two hours you booked a room in the SLC, you will go ham on studying, then afterwards, treat yourselves to a trip to the Eaton centre.
10. Not realizing that buildings are connected.
Maneuvering around Ryerson is confusing within the first few weeks. A lot of the buildings are a few blocks apart, but luckily a few are easy to get to because they are connected. The SLC, library, Jorgensen Hall, the POD and Kerr Hall are all interconnected. Also, YDS and TRSM (and Eaton Centre) are easy to get to from the other, if you walk through the path of the Dundas subway station. These paths are helpful during the winter months when it’s too cold and slippery to walk outdoors.
11. Not checking your D2L/Rmail.
The D2L and Rmail websites are probably the most important websites during your time at Ryerson. Here, you will find out everything. From events, due dates, and a way to communicate with your professors and TAs. Once you figure out how to work your D2L everything will be accessible, which is great because sometimes there are questions that need answering, and most of the time the answer is found on D2L. Especially, check your Rmail after you have submitted an assignment to see if it has gone through. These two websites will become your homepages.
12. Not checking the section you’re in for your class’ exams.
Everyone knows the classes they are taking and what time; however, the actual section someone is in is forgotten from time to time. During any tests, quizzes, or exams, you need to know your section number because it is one of the first things they ask you to write down. Also, with any assignments or emails you are giving the teacher, put your name and course section just so they know who you are and which class they need to focus on regarding you as a student.
13. Thinking you can handle seven courses in one semester.
Honestly, this one is tricky to move around because some programs do give you seven courses automatically. There is the mentality that it is possible, and for some it is, but for others it’s a bit harder to maintain. Never forget that you can always take courses online and/or during the summer to keep you more relaxed.
14. Commuting for two to three hours every day, not using your student discount.
Alright, this one is a mistake that can easily be fixed, especially if you commute through GO buses or trains. Ryerson offers a GO discount, and the TTC has student passes as well. These offers most likely only save you a few cents or dollars; however, that adds up after a while, and you can actually buy yourself a full meal and not just the sandwich.
15. Walking In to the wrong washroom.
This mistake can actually be quite comical if you are with a group of friends and you can all laugh at it together. Also, people here won’t make fun of you if you accidentally walk into the wrong washroom. In Kerr hall, there are places where there are only women’s or only men’s washrooms. It is said to be that way because it used to be a high school and back then, the boys and girls were separated into different wings. I guess they haven’t upgraded the place yet. So don’t sweat it if you walk into the washroom and realize you aimed to go to the other.
16. The numbers at TRS that make you walk in to the wrong room.
In most buildings at Ryerson, the first number in a room number indicates the floor it is located on; however, at TRS the floors are numbered differently. Level one is the seventh floor, level two is the eighth floor, and level three is the ninth floor. See how that’s confusing? So sometimes when you read room TRS 1049, you can get confused and end up on the ninth floor. It’s a mistake a bunch of first-years make, so get used to the floors at TRS so you can locate your room easily.
17. Not getting shit done during the two reading weeks.
Reading week is a breath of fresh air for every student (except engineering kids). We all start reading week believing that all of the readings, assignments, and studying will be accomplished in that time. Yeah . . . that never ends up happening. This can be fixed if you just take breaks in between of all of your studying, you can end up getting a lot of things done before midterms begin.
18. Not knowing the scantrons are organized by name.
Normally, during midterms and exams, the professors and TAs set up the room so that tests are in alphabetical order. It’s easy to make this mistake as a Ryerson University freshman. So make sure that you’re sitting in the right seat or else you might be writing someone else’s exam. It’s really easy to find your scantron if your last name is in the first seven letters in the alphabet, and the professors and TAs are happy to help you find your alpha if you really can’t find your name on a scantron.
19. Over-sleeping, then skipping class.
University makes all of us tired, and some of us are commuters. So some days, you just don’t feel like going to school and catching up on sleep sounds great. Honestly, if you really need the rest, then do it. Just make sure that you are able to catch up and that your classes that day aren’t too heavy. Remember not to do it every week with four out of your six courses. You’ll seriously get behind and the lectures give great information. Your professor worked hard to make those lectures; so go, no matter how tempting it is to skip.
20. Not using Ryerson’s resources.
Ryerson has a ton of free available resources that helps every student. As a freshman, a lot of these resources are unknown because not many people talk about it. There are tutoring services, career hubs, guidance councillors, and more that are available to help you and they are completely free. Don’t be afraid to reach out to them because the people who work there are more than willing to help you out.