NOLAN BLANCHARD | My Orientation Experience

Orientation Week is a really weird experience… and it was also an experience that I never really expected. Coming straight out of high school, O-week has acted as this strange buffer period that has let me sink into university life gently, albeit not so easily. For me, Orientation was as much of a learning period about myself as it was about life at Ryerson.

I suppose I should address how expectations play into the O-week experience. Before getting to campus, it is hard to know to really imagine what Ryerson life is like. For me, I’d been on campus multiple times before, but only at specific events and for short periods of time. Being here as a student is completely different. So when I imagined how my O-week would play out, I saw myself going to every single event possibly and bursting with spirit. Maybe that is possible for some people, but I quickly learned that my experience was going to be a bit different.

As an aside, I want to give a shoutout to all the O-week team that worked hard on making this first week at university the best it could have been. They did a tremendous job and their work is very much appreciated.

The experiences that students have of Orientation Week is going to differ as greatly as the wonderfully diverse set of students we have here at Ryerson. This blog is dedicated to documenting my personal journey however – the literal and metaphorical #RoadToRyerson. Back in my second blog, I talked a bit about my struggle to define myself and it is something I have not accomplished (if I ever will) and this past week has opened my eyes to a number of important insights that I think are essential to take forward moving into first year.

The most obvious one is this: I am not as extroverted as I have tried so very hard to be. Some friends back at home might laugh at me for saying this because I fought them about whether or not I was introverted or extroverted. Going into O-week, I was determined to go to every event and meet as many people as possible. In some ways I succeeded; in some ways I failed. I made it out to a handful events and I did meet a bunch of really awesome people that have made my transition to Toronto much happier. However, at the end of the day – or week rather, I was completely exhausted and ready to sleep an eternity… but I couldn’t because – surprise, surprise – I had class!


The highlights of my week were move-in, my Creative Industries academic orientation, exploring Toronto, the Illusionist show, and eating as much pizza as I wanted… which was a lot.

Move-In: The first day on campus…it was probably the easiest day because my family was there to help move everything in and get me settled. And I actually didn’t unpack until the first day of class. But that gave me the chance to spend O-week completely out of my room, undistracted by my computer and out socializing. I also got to visit Yonge street which happened to be hosting Buskerfest that afternoon which was a fantastic experience.

CRI Academic Orientation: Okay, I must admit, going to Academic Orientation wasn’t the hottest thing about O-week however it was a great way to meet people in my program. I connected with some friends that I met on twitter and was introduced to new people that I can confidently say are friends that I am very grateful for. After the orientation, some of us went to dinner – one of my favourite ways of spending money…It will be a very sad day when I have to face the realization that eating out is terrible for my bank account. But today is not that day.

Exploring Toronto: As someone from out of town, I took O-week to orient myself not just with campus but with city life. I have definitely only managed to see a very small portion of the big city but oddly enough, I feel right at home. I do still feel like a tourist but I want to keep it that way. It’s always better to live in wonder.


The Illusionist: This was my favourite event hosted by the O-week crew for a few reasons. One of them is that I missed out on some of the activities that I really wanted to try, like Glow in the Dark Capture the Flag, the Trivia Night and the Comedy and Film show. But this one was still super enjoyable. I don’t think there will come a day when I am not stupefied by magicians or illusionists. I am almost convinced that some sort of magic cult is taking pieces of their souls in trade for their powers…almost.

Pizza: As much as I love food and trying new things, there will forever be a place in my heart and stomach for pizza. I probably should be ashamed but the only food I’ve had for lunch and dinner for the past 3 days has been pizza. Whoops.

O-week wasn’t perfect though and I come out of it with a handful of regrets. I simultaneously wanted to meet more people and do more while also giving more to myself and getting a tiny bit of alone time. But if anything, it was a learning experience that was necessary for me to move forward as a student and as a person. Something that I learned this week which is vital for me to be successful is to know the difference between playing to your strengths and staying in your comfort zone. We, as people, need to be able to move out of comfort zones. However, if it puts us in a position where who we are and the strengths that define us are hindered, so to is our growth hindered. Yet again in life, I am faced with another balancing act: of being true to myself but also of exploring who I can be.

Meeting the other Road To Ryerson bloggers: Raven, Enna & Sunita

To keep up with me on a day to day basis, I encourage you to follow me on my three primary social media platforms: Twitter, Instagram and/or Facebook. Links can be found here. For everyone at Ryerson, I hope your Orientation Week was fantastic and/or you took some lessons from it to bring forth in the future.

See you all online soon again!

Part 1: Who is Nolan?

Part 2: Identity Crisis

Part 3: Moving to Toronto

Part 5: First Week & Last Blog

See what the other #RoadToRyerson folks are up to!

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