Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Skipping out on O-Week? Think again.


I'm going to start this post with a confession: I didn't go to Orientation Week when I was in first year. There. I've just outed myself as a hypocrite. You can stop reading now. I went to the faculty's academic orientation, but only because I was a keener (i.e. I was very serious about my studies, but I didn't think general Orientation was worth the one and a half hour commute). Why bother, I thought, when I barely know the people or the campus?

But let's look at Orientation Week for what it is: an opportunity to grow and build relationships that can last you for the rest of your time at Ryerson. Here are a few reasons I think Orientation will be worth the commute from wherever you currently reside.

Disclaimer:  Experiences may differ. Neither myself nor my heirs shall be held responsible if your time at O-Week falls short of your expectations. Do try to have a good time, though.

This is pretty much the reason for organizing Orientation in the first place.You'll find that during the year, having people to chat, study and hang out with between classes can make a significant difference to your university experience, and O-Week is going to be the best time to break the ice. Although there'll be plenty of people in your classes, it'll be hard to really get to know anyone. This is going to be one of the few times when most people are actually open to talking to strangers. Take this chance to bond over your brightly coloured, ill-fitting t-shirts.

I still meet plenty of people in their 4th year at Ryerson who end up saying "I wish I'd known about (insert service/great study spot/office/awesome faculty member) when I was in first year."

Try not to be one of those people - it'll make your life easier down the road. During Orientation Week, services, opportunities and potentially useful connections will be (figuratively) falling over each other to get to you. Make yourself available to them! Embrace them with open arms. 


More specifically, the parts of the city surrounding the campus. You're going to be attending university in the heart of downtown Toronto! You'll be the envy of every student who will be attending university at isolated, suburban campuses. Validate that envy. Find yourself  (and the awesome people you meet at O-Week) some cool hangouts around the city. 
Maybe not always most exciting part of Orientation, but it's worth going to. This is where you'll get chances to meet instructors, professors, and program administrators (i.e. people who will probably help you a lot between now and the time when you leave Ryerson).You'll also be spending a lot more time with students from your faculty and program. Learning about the ins and outs of how your program isn't always enthralling, but if you pay attention, you might just find some of that information useful.
Something I hope you discover is that there are some really simple pleasures in shouting and cheering in unison with people you only met a few minutes before. It's one of those things you can't enjoy unless you let yourself. And why not? Everyone will be there for the same reasons.

Making friends and learning about the university is always a plus, but at the root of it all, don't forget to enjoy yourself!


Seriously, try Orientation Week out, even if you're not sure you want to. Put yourself out there a little. You can always leave if it doesn't float your boat. Make some mistakes, embarrass yourself, and learn something while you're at it. There won't be a better time all year.


Hashtag #LEGACY12 for O-Week Updates
Take a look at Ryerson's Student Life Website for more information about O-Week 2012. 


Are you an incoming student in the Faculty of Arts? Check out our New Students page for tips, curriculum outlines and more information about our upcoming events. Questions? Send us an email at orientation@arts.ryerson.ca