Jess vs. Jess: An Exploration of Me in First & Last Year

by RU Student Life storyteller Jessica Myshrall

Me in First Year: A Precis

I showed up to my first class twenty minutes early and completely unphased by the fact that it was at eight in the morning. My books were new, my pencils were sharpened, and my mind was ready to be expanded. I was so proud to be in university in those days. I read and highlighted my books, studied my notes before bed, and hung off of the professor’s every word. If my thoughts ever wandered in class, it was usually due to my preoccupation with how the other students presented themselves. Since most of them came from wealthier families and grew up in the city or surrounding areas, my peers had held a fashionable edge over me. I was in awe of how they dressed — with an elusive coolness that escaped me entirely. I was jean-clad and tapping away on my PC in a sea of designer clothing and MacBook computers. The feeling of not belonging at Ryerson and in Toronto clung to me for a long time.

Me in Last Year: A Precis

Now in the final stretch of my undergrad, it’s pretty safe to say that I will fulfill marginal attendance for courses starting earlier than 10 a.m. After half a decade at Ryerson, everything seems boring and redundant and I fail to be moved by arguments that “missed classes are lost money.” After two semesters of studying in Europe, where education is treated as more of a right than a commodity, my degree feels like some no-frills, above-the-surface, cookie-cutter obligation that I need to complete to ensure that I might be able to secure decent employment. I feel like everything Ryerson had to offer me in terms of education happened in the first two years of my degree. The only class that has challenged me to think in the last 4 semesters has been my advanced seminar. Otherwise, my grades depend on how well I can recall textbook information and consolidate information that I learned when I wasn’t so jaded. The other week, one of my midterm questions asked me which exam one would have to take in order to get into a master’s of psychology. I had to fight the temptation to write, “Who gives a shit?” At this point, I just do what I have to do in order to be done. I don’t waste my wandering thoughts on what other people are wearing anymore. Instead, I spend them thinking about the days when I used to be excited about learning. With this in mind, I’ve nixed any plans of postgraduate education until I can find something that feels like more than a big dent in my bank account. At least now I can say that my writing has improved.

A curation of great ideas coming out of Ryerson University.

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