Dear First Year Me

by | May 1, 2018 | Jewish Life at Ryerson | 0 comments

Dear First Year Noa,

Here are 10 things you should know upon entering your first year of university.

  1. That other new student sitting beside you in class? They’re just as nervous as you are! Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself, and hopefully make a new friend. You can never have enough people to exchange notes with, especially around finals.
  2. Get to know your professors! Just saying hello and thank you at the beginning and end of class is a great way to start. Let them help you do your best, and build that relationship in case you have any problems during the semester. They’re also a great resource when you start exploring what you want to do after you graduate – it happens faster than you think!
  3. That class you’re thinking about skipping? Don’t do it. Get in the habit, from the beginning, of thinking about university as the job you have to do now – you’re a student! You wouldn’t want to skip out on work, don’t skip out on school.
  4. Don’t be afraid to use your connections! University is the best time to start working on those networking skills – your new friends and profs will be more than happy to be part of your journey.
  5. Thinking about studying abroad? Do it! Take this chance to explore a new place, culture and language, with the added bonus of an awesome support structure at your host university.
  6. Get involved! That can be anything from attending an event or joining a planning committee. There are so many amazing organizations both on and off campus who are looking for someone with the skills only you have. Show them what you’ve got!
  7. You know how great pulling an all-nighter looks in movies? It’s almost never worth it. Keeping on top of your workload won’t always be easy, but maybe skip that party the week you have something big due. An amazing teacher of mine once said, better to keep up than to catch up. It’s even more true in university!
  8. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! You aren’t the first person to be  starting university, and you won’t be the last. Learn from the people around you, practice your writing and learn how to reference – it’s a skill you won’t regret.
  9. Not quite sure where you’re heading with your degree (or your life)? Find someone who you look up to! It doesn’t even have to be in the industry you think you’re interested in. People are more generous with their time than you might think – reach out! Worst case scenario, you don’t hear back but in the best case, you get a coffee with someone awesome and you can learn about how they got where they are.
  10. Most importantly, remember how lucky you are to be here! Though it may not always feel that way (read: tests and papers), enjoy this amazing opportunity to totally immerse yourself in your learning, and be a little selfish!
A Hillel Summer: Keeping Spirits High

A Hillel Summer: Keeping Spirits High

My name is Stacey Ianco and I am going into my third year at Ryerson’s Ted Rogers School of Management. Hillel has been my home away from home, and has helped me embrace my Jewish culture, enhance my Jewish identity, and meet new people.. 

This year has been like no other we have experienced. Throughout these challenging times, I have felt lucky to have remained connected with my fellow students – especially through my involvement in Hillel. 

Especially given the year we just experienced, Hillel has been vital to my Jewish campus life. That’s why I was so excited to hear that Hillel programming was going to continue during the summer.

Hillels Ryerson, York and UofT teamed up to create the Summer in the 6ix program, and I knew I wanted to participate. 

In addition to receiving some really cool swag, Summer in the 6ix connected me with activities and programming I

 could engage in alongside (virtually) other Jewish students across the GTA. We baked and decorated delicious sugar cookies over a Hillel Zoom meet, sharpened our knowledge and competed with other Hillel students in bi-weekly trivia games, and customized our Hillel t-shirts with tie-dye. In a summer characterized by distancing and separation, Hillel brought me closer to my community.

To be sure, this has been a difficult year for so many reasons. I am so appreciative of all that Hillel does for Jewish students across the province. Especially this year.

I will continue to be an active member of Hillel for all my years of university and the future. Hillel has given me the confidence I need to be a proud Jewish woman and has enhanced my university experience in many ways. 

I look forward to being able to create more special events to include and connect every Jewish student in Ontario for many years to come.

Stacey I., Hillel Ryerson Student Leader

Multi-Faith Shabbat Dinner at Ryerson University

Multi-Faith Shabbat Dinner at Ryerson University

This year, I had the privilege and honour of co-hosting Hillel Ryerson’s Multifaith Shabbat Experience. This is an annual social and educational event in partnership with Ryerson University’s Presidents Office where students and staff from across campus come together to share a meal and welcome Shabbat. 

This year, the organizing committee was faced with the challenge of keeping the core values of our usual multi-faith evening while holding it over Zoom. The Jewish community in Toronto has been changing how they bring people together since the pandemic began, and have found many ways to creatively find community in these times. 

Our committee came up with a variety of ways to translate our event to a virtual space, including sending prepared Shabbat boxes to attendees’ homes with the necessary items to celebrate, and hosting an educational Challah braiding workshop. Additionally, we created breakout rooms during the event to simulate the conversations held while sharing a meal at a Shabbat table. Each breakout room was facilitated by a Hillel student leader who led a thoughtful discussion around the importance of rest, while also speaking to their own personal connections with Shabbat. 

Each year, the Multi-Faith Shabbat experience is an opportunity for Jewish students, faculty, and our allies to come together and celebrate Jewish ritual on campus. We celebrate the universal values of Shabbat through inviting student leaders of other faiths to speak about what rest means to them. This year, we were honoured to hear students from the campus’ Catholic, Hindu, and Indigenous communities present and share their experiences. We also welcomed student leaders from several other clubs and organizations including the Ryerson Indian Association, Ryerson Student Union, and the Ryerson Liberal Arts Society. 

Honouring and showing our appreciation to Ryerson University’s faculty and administration is also an important element to our event. This year we invited members, including the university’s newly appointed Director of Human Rights and Dean of Ryerson’s Law School, to recite the Shabbat blessings alongside our students. Typically, the evening is a wonderful way for students to network with staff, and so in replacement we created a second round of breakout rooms for students to engage with professors and administrators who related to their field of study. 

For me, co-hosting the Multi-Faith Shabbat Experience was the highlight of the year. I am so thankful to Hillel for providing us with the outlet to create meaningful social and educational opportunities, and help us all find ways to foster positive experiences during this difficult time. 

  • Jen Miller, Hillel Ryerson

 

My name is Adam Rose and I am a second year Performance Production student at Ryerson University. This is the first year I have taken part in Hillel Ryerson and it has been nothing but a wonderful experience. A moment that stuck out to me was attending the well-loved and highly anticipated annual Multi-Faith Shabbat Experience.  

Since the event was held virtually this year, I was asked to be a breakout room facilitator to recreate what would normally be networking in person. It was so much fun and an absolute pleasure to guide conversations with students, faculty members, and President Lachemi himself about topics concerning the importance of rest during Shabbat. We took the time to reflect and be grateful for the week that had just passed and looked forward to the week ahead. 

I was also lucky enough to have been asked to create an artistic work that correlated with the Hamotzi blessing (for bread) for the event. The inclusion of tangible elements like students’ artwork allowed the sense of community and personability, which the Multi-Faith Shabbat Experience is known for, to continue online. Displaying the selected pieces also had the benefit of showcasing and elevating the talent spread across the range of unique arts programs that Ryerson University has to offer. I am very grateful and proud to have been a part of this experience and excited to further my Hillel Ryerson journey.

 

  • Adam Rose, Hillel Ryerson
X