(Life as a transfer student)
Many high school students are very confused to what they want to do after high school. Some may just want to start work, take a gap year or go straight into post secondary school. I honestly felt pressured to go to university because my relatives would judge me for not going to university. Surprisingly, my dad wanted me to go to college instead of university because the hands on opportunity was more useful for my career than head knowledge. But I ended up going to University of Waterloo for Global Business and Digital Arts where this program combines design, technology and business.
On the other hand, people who go don’t end up going to post secondary school after high school tend to work or take a break so they could figure out what they are passionate about. From talking to my friends, they all tell me that they wished they had taken a gap year to travel. Travelling definitely exposes you to many different cultures and lifestyles which makes you more inclusive when you come back. Personally, I wish I took a year off to travel but I’m glad I went to university because I found my passion in technology and design. I truly believe that students should take every opportunity that arises because co op and volunteer positions gives you the feel of your field.
Post secondary is a fantastic way to meet new people especially in an environment with such great diversity in programs and faculties. University of Waterloo is known for their amazing engineering program but they also provide innovative programs such as Arts and Business, Environmental Studies, Geography and Aviation and International Development. I found that speaking to various students made me more open minded about what I want to do in the future. Therefore, living away from home made me go out of my comfort zone to meet different people from other towns and cities.
Living away from home was quite an experience because I got to really learn to be independent and cook for myself. I lived in a suite style residence with three other roommates which made transitioning into university less lonely. Living on campus was a huge perk because you were able to wake up 10 minutes before your class and still make it on time. I was able to study late on campus and there would not be a problem with walking home alone at night. It was easier for me to get involved on campus because I was within the proximity. Lastly, living on campus meant that you were able to meet a bunch of new people from your residence which is amazing because you basically live with your whole floor. However, a downside of living on campus is that at the end of the day, you still need to do your own chores, cook for yourself and deal with roommate problems. Here are some tips I found useful after living away from home for two years:
- It is better to over pack a bit when you move in (you can always bring them home when you go back).
- It is normal to spend a lot of money during the first two weeks (but try to save as much as possible).
- Confront your roommate(s) face to face as early as possible if there’s a problem needing to be talked about.
- Meal prepping is very useful during midterm and exam season.
- Bring air fresheners to your residence or building.
- If you walk home alone, call someone because safety is first. Take advantage of programs like Walk Safe.
- Find your supermarkets and places to grocery shop.
- Always have ear plugs and a sleeping mask.
- Use lysol wipes to clean.
- Keep your area clean and organized.
After living in residence in Waterloo and one year in downtown Toronto, I came up with this advice and tips because this will continue to be helpful for me when I move back to downtown for Fall 2017.
Personally, my most important advice from this list is safety first. Ryerson has a program called Walk Safe that offers a walk with a security staff across campus and even to some subway stations. You can find a full list of safety and health services at Ryerson at: studentlife.ryerson.ca/takecareru.
Ultimately, going to university was a good choice because I was able to experience many new opportunities such as working for the university and encountering many students from various faculties. However, if you don’t end up going to post secondary after high school, I think that’s totally fine because some people don’t enjoy studying or being in the setting of a classroom. Just make sure you are happy and you enjoy what you are doing!