In September, Folio ran a series asking first-year students to show us Ryerson from their perspective. This time, we asked graduating students to take us around campus during their last few weeks at Ryerson. Here’s Alexander Llewellyn, photography ’16.
In 2016, I see Ryerson as a large, highly connected, industrious university.
In 2012, I saw Ryerson as a confusing, difficult to access, relatively small school.
Coming to Ryerson from outside Toronto, the size of the school was a surprise to me. I suppose something about the bits of the school that are hidden in blocks of residential or commercial buildings on the periphery makes the whole thing feel miniscule. It took years to realize how wrong I had been and see how large of a community we are. It is in Ryerson’s capacity for community that I have drawn my largest change in perspective. Entering the School of Image Arts originally felt daunting and impersonal, but has revealed itself to be home to a strong community. Through in-house collaborations and school wide functions, the ability for a student to create connections only grows as the years go by.
One of the most interesting things about Ryerson for me is that it always feels as if the scope of the school is easily perceptible. On the first campus tour you are introduced to the basic geography of the school, and that is presented as the school in entirety. Followed by classes and events, you are introduced to the content of Ryerson’s locations. Knowledge of the nooks and crannies, walk-paths, and facilities reveal themselves. A lay of the land replaces one’s map of Ryerson and that appears to be the sum of this university. Soon enough you begin to find yourself interacting with the organizations and societies within the student base. There are groups for faculty, program, specialty, interests, and it boggles the mind to think that there are myriad groups for any combination of these identifiers.
With this understanding, Ryerson appears huge. It is later that most students begin to realize that an academic organism isn’t built on student groups alone. One meets the individuals who facilitate the progress and survival of Ryerson. It becomes obvious that if the groups are dependent on the students, then activities are dependent on these organizers who are so instrumental. It is easy at this point to become comfortable with the closed idea that this must be Ryerson in totality; students, buildings, organizations, and staff.
It is only now, when graduating, that I expect to find more Ryerson out there waiting to reveal itself.