Moving to Toronto four years ago was one of the best decisions I could have made, but definitely not one of the best decisions for my bank account. It’s a tale as old as time: university students are supposed to be broke, but Ryerson broke is a completely different story.
I grew up in a small town where the highlight of your weekend was toilet papering the house of your arch nemesis. In my first year of university, I lived in residence and that’s when my bank account began to plummet. I had to pay tuition, residence fees, buy weekly groceries — and that goes without mentioning the temptation of the Eaton Centre.
By the end of first year, I was so broke I had to go home for the summer to save on rent and work two jobs to save money for second-year tuition. During the Fall of second year, I got a job that I carried all the way through my degree. I am very proud to say that I am graduating with no debt.
However, looking back, I wish I had taken out a loan and enjoyed being a university student more. I missed out on a lot of fun events and hangouts with my friends. In a way, I feel like I pushed myself through university because of the fear of debt, but never actually got to experience the university life.
Working five days a week while going to school full time eventually takes a toll on your overall well-being. When I actually did have a night off, I was often too tired to go out and hang out with my friends.
Don’t get me wrong, I definitely have made some lasting memories. I’ve made friendships that will last a lifetime.
But standing at the finish line of my degree, I now look back and see everything in a completely different light. I wish I had gone to that party or taken the spontaneous weekend trip to Montreal.
University is a time in your life you are never going to get back and I feel like I pushed through it in an exhausted trance without getting to actually enjoy it.
For incoming Ryerson students, I urge you to enjoy this phase of your life. And to my fellow graduating students, I am extremely jealous of your reckless four years — but I am not jealous of your student debt.