Memo to first-years: please get off campus

I vividly remember my first year at Ryerson, and I sympathize with what you are currently experiencing.

Friend groups are unstable, homesickness is very real, and your taste buds are gearing up to inform you that you will soon be sick of your favourite go-to midnight snack: instant ramen.

You’re drowning in readings, and the Eaton Centre still remains a place of consumerist wonder that you would even consider setting foot into on your own accord.

Oh, how my heart beats heavily for you in this time characterized by personal evolution.

Alannah (Credit: Katie

Alannah Kavanagh (Credit: Katie Raskina)

As a 17-year-old living on Ryerson’s downtown campus, I thought I was living large. Everything I could possibly desire was merely steps away.  Carb load at Big Slice anyone?

In those first few months of school, there were whispers of the rare brave soldier who had elected to take the subway to unfamiliar territory, but I didn’t yet possess the courage to explore the daunting metropolis on my own.

When I finally built up the nerve to venture beyond the downtown core, I began uncovering hidden gems all around the city.

So although slices of pizza larger than your head are totally cool, the time has arrived for you too, young froshie, to burst out of the Ryerson bubble and experience the cultural hub that is this city.

Trust me, putting 6 Goddess in your Instagram bio, but never leaving the area surrounding campus, is only slightly less embarrassing for you than it is for your fellow self-titled social media 6 God’s living out in Mississauga.

The Gooderham Building, located in Toronto's Distillery District, is the perfect place to explore during long breaks between classes. October 24

The Gooderham Building, located west of Toronto’s Distillery District, is the perfect place to explore during long breaks between classes. October 24

Toronto is jam-packed with unique neighbourhoods that are easily accessible by the transit system.

If you find yourself feeling claustrophobic studying at the Student Learning Centre, Roncesvalles Avenue, a tree-lined street that possesses the peaceful feeling of a small town, houses cozy coffee shops perfect for long hours of essay writing.

Do you have a gap in your timetable that needs filling? Take a walk over to the culturally rich Distillery District that’s known for it’s cobblestone streets, art galleries, and plethora of artisanal shops and bakeries.

Now, in the last year of my undergrad, whether I’m visiting a museum in the Annex, or try out a new Vietnamese restaurant near Christie Pits, exploring different places in the city is my favourite thing to do.

In past moments of stress, the option to remain holed up in my dorm watching Netflix was very attractive. However, I always found that travelling outside my comfort zone would have an impressive effect on my mindset that even binge-watching Breaking Bad could not produce.

So get your nose out of your textbooks and get outside for the afternoon! Toronto truly has something for everyone. Just take a little walk around the corner and see for yourselves. The comforts of campus will always be waiting for you when you return.

This article was published in the print edition of the Ryersonian on Oct. 28, 2015.

 

 

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