How to conquer first year

First year can seem pretty daunting. You just finished high school and it took pretty much your entire time there to learn the ropes, and now you have to start all over again. Yes, there are a lot of changes and things may be difficult at the beginning, but this year can also be an amazing experience if you learn to embrace all the challenges and roll with the punches. To start you off on your road (be thankful it’s not painted yellow this year) at Ryerson University, here are some tips and advice I wish someone had told me in my first year.


Photo courtesy of André Varty

  • If you find yourself in need of a caffeine fix and short on cash (trust me, you will), walk right past Balzac’s and continue down Gould Street and get yourself a coffee at 7/11. They’re only $1, any size, any time.
  • If Tim Hortons is more your style, the Victoria Street location seems like the best choice, but you’ll soon find out it gets busy quickly. There are two other locations, one in the 10 Dundas St. E. building and one in the Atrium on Bay, which are slightly out of the way but guaranteed to be less busy. Also a plus for late risers, the Dundas location serves breakfast until 2 p.m.
  • Speaking of Tim Hortons, if you have class in the Rogers Communication Centre (RCC) or Kerr Hall East (KHE), and need a quick snack between classes but don’t have cash or money on your OneCard, you’re in luck because this Tim Hortons location takes debit. This is rare, as most food vendors on campus only take the latter.
  • If you’re at this location, you’ve already somewhat acquainted yourself with the pedway system, which will take you from the RCC, through Kerr Hall and the Library building, to the Student Learning Centre. I’d recommend figuring it out before winter so you can get across campus without stepping outside.

Photo courtesy of Kayleigh Robinson

  • While it’s still nice outside, get familiar with the different entrances to Kerr Hall. Pay attention to the signs on the outside of the building. That way, once the cold strikes you’ll know the classroom and be able to get to it from whatever entrance is closest to you, or from the pedway system if you’ve mastered it.
  • Once you know where your classes are, don’t buy your textbooks unless you’re absolutely positive you’ll need it. In some cases you may be able to find it at the library or even online. If it turns out you’ll need the book, buy it second hand. Check Facebook groups for your program because there will often be people in upper-years selling their books.
  • With all the money you’ll be saving from not buying textbooks, you’ll probably want to splurge at the Eaton Centre, but contain yourself. First, do your homework and get membership cards for anywhere you know you’ll shop. I’d recommend getting the SPC Card, because most of the stores and restaurants that are part of this program are close to campus.
  • To save even more money, make sure to do your grocery shopping at the Metro on Gould Street from Tuesday to Thursday, as these are the student discount days. You get 10 per cent off, and you don’t even have to leave campus.

Now with extra money in your pocket and extra space in your brain, go forth and conquer your first year!