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.

Alexandria Pankratz urges incoming Ryerson students to enjoy their time in university. (Courtesy Alex Pankratz)

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.

Leave a Reply

  • (not be published)