Open Letter to the Future

Hello future Ryerson Arts Alumni,

With that greeting, I've already made a number of assumptions about you and your future; that you'll stay in the faculty of arts for one, that "Ryerson" will be written somewhere on your degree for another.

As incoming students, the future is a big topic of conversation for you; after all, you’re on the cusp of entering a whole new phase of your life. Things are going to change and you're going to change along with it. The expectations placed upon you are bigger than they were in the past, but that's all in line with your new roles, University Students. You're probably anxious, maybe even scared. Don't be, millions have been in this same position, I was, roughly three years ago.

But it’s that fear that is most likely the reason why you're reading this blog, trying to get as much information about the school you'll be attending for the foreseeable future, not in the classrooms but everything else.

In that act though you've already taken the first step in getting the most out of your university career, getting involved.

It's quite possible that I'm preaching to the choir here, you may very well be the type who was already quite involved in your high school, achieving a well rounded resume of activity and participation.

If you are that person, then I can tell you very little, except don't let the ivory towers intimidate you and continue what you've been doing up to this point. Continue to be a keener.

But, I will also say that I have no idea what that experience is like, because as involved as I am now I wasn't in the past, not in high school and not in my first years of university.

I didn't see the point in participating, I'd much rather hangout with my friends instead of working for free for some group or organization. I failed to see what was in it for me. I soon discovered quite a lot.

The Work

Currently, I'm in charge of the online presents for the "Student Group of the Year", Students in Free Entrepreneurship (SIFE). This essentially means running twitter and Facebook updates as a means of interacting with our community, but also creating actual content, such as articles and blogs.

Before then I served as Marketing Coordinator for a branching program of SIFE, StartMeUp Ryerson, which helps to launch business for entrepreneurs. Essentially I facilitated communication between the two sides and tried to keep the bureaucracy down to a minimum.

I also had the opportunity to be a lead Marketing Coordinator on a series of seminars that provided entrepreneurs with the necessary skills to be successful. This meant finding an audience, targeting them and creating the marketing materials.

If you’re confused why a business student is writing to Faculty of Arts students, don't be, I've only taken two business classes my whole University career. I'm a proud Sociology Student who's simply chosen to get, as you guessed, involved.
But I've been active in the Arts community as well.

It's quite possible that although you've never seen my face before, you've already heard my voice, as I was one of a handful of students who called your home’s a few months back to find out if you have any questions about Ryerson.

When International Student Services (ISS) was looking for a group of students to investigate why their students had a higher dropout rate then the rest of the school, me and a group of students created, implemented and analyzed a survey that we then presented in front of the faculty.

And when the new school year begins I hope that I'll be the one providing support for all the second year sociology students who will take their first steps in learning statistics.

Between all of those things, I still found time to serve on the Sociology course union and even joined the Vietnamese Student Association of Ryerson (VSAR).

What I’ve gotten out of my extracurricular activity is exactly what I assumed I would when I finally decided to get active, experiences, skills and people.

Payoff

I can look back at just this past year and see that the things I’ve participated in are by far the things I will remember when I graduate. Not because they make me stand out as a student, which they do, but because they are completely unique to me. At the end of the day the classes, readings and exams everyone will experience, but what makes university so great is everything out side of that.

Likewise, the same can be said about my skill set, it has expanded exponentially since I’ve become more involved. As a student, you’ll learn how to write an essay, how to study, how to research and half a dozen other skills, but few are transferable to the work place. Getting involved has allowed me to learn plenty of soft and hard skills that I can point to during any interview.

Most importantly though, through it all I met and got to know a wide range of people that at this point couldn’t imagine my life without. These people with their own skill sets, experiences and aspirations serve not only as my friends, but mentors too. Believe me when I say it’s not what you know, but who you know.

Resources

Thankfully getting involved isn't all that difficult; there are tons of student groups and all of them are desperate for new members every year. There are also new groups coming out of the wood work all the time. Not only do they want to replace all the students who have graduated or left, but they also want to expand and get fresh ideas from fresh faces.

There will be plenty of opportunities to talk one on one with seasoned students about getting involved at Ryerson during Orientation week, but that’s at least a month away, until then here are some things to take a look at and think about.

First here's a list of all the student groups. Take a look through them and see if anything peaks your interest. The contact information is right there as well.

http://www.rsuonline.ca/index.php?section_id=5 & http://rcsonline.ca/student-groups/


Second, it's a really good idea to join your course union, not only will you be able to impact your specific program you'll also meet a great number of students in that program.
Lastly, if you are ever unsure visit Stephan at POD 344M. He'll be able to point you in the right direction when it comes to anything related to campus life. You can also email him at stang@arts.ryerson.ca
There are opportunities of a life time are right in front of you, all you need to do is taking advantage of them.

Written by Piotr Makuch @pmakuch

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