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Interior Design at Ryerson University

Roxana (Year 2)

What did you wish you knew before going to your university? What made you choose this institution over all others? What are advantages and disadvantages of your institution or campus? List any advice for incoming first-year students about your university. 

Ryerson’s location creates a unique experience for students, being located in the heart of downtown. This means many things, including:

  • Easy transportation to the campus, through the TTC or other means

  • A reliable and accessible place to shop for lunch, school supplies or personal goods

  • A great selection of attractions to entertain (sometimes long) breaks between classes

One downside that I wish I had known about Ryerson is that the term’s schedules aren’t revealed until only a few weeks before the term begins. Registration for classes are run on a first come first serve basis held at 6:00 AM, which means that you may not get to explore electives of your choice if you don’t click your screen quite fast enough. This isn’t a deal-breaker, just something that other schools handle much better. 

What did you wish you knew before choosing your specific program? What are the advantages and disadvantages of your program?  List any advice for incoming first-year students about your program of study.

Interior Design is quite a specific program, so it isn’t available at most universities. If you know it’s what you’d like to pursue, Ryerson’s Interior Design program is a great option if you’d like to study in Toronto. 

In terms of this particular program, it’s definitely more hands-on than what I had anticipated. You’ll be frequently using the workshop to complete physical models for your projects, which includes a wide range of machines and hand tools to assist you. It was quite intimidating for someone like myself, who's never used such a workshop before- but this also made it really fun and interesting. There’s also a studio at the program’s building where each student has their desk at which they can work, or hang around between classes. Prepare to be tackling project after project, rather than studying for tests like in high-school. 

What was your favourite university experience? 

People at university are generally all very friendly, which makes it really welcoming even if you don’t enter your program, let alone your university, with a friend. No one judges you for anything, which makes for a really forgiving and relaxing atmosphere. In general, it’s quite easy to make friends if you put yourself out there (and honestly even if you don’t). 

What was your least favourite university experience?

In general, I’ve personally invested more hours per week into university than I had into high-school. I’ve always stayed up late during high-school, as I do now during Uni, but now I’ve also occasionally been skipping a day’s sleep altogether. Many people in my program have related to this, but others have not, so it’s really a person-to-person basis. Try to develop a healthy routine early on and you'll be thankful you did.

What is the hardest part about your program and what were the steps that you took to overcome any difficulties?

As mentioned earlier, it’s sometimes challenging to maintain the workload. Compared to other programs, Interior Design at Ryerson can be quite demanding, with numerous deadlines due every week. Generally speaking, it’s not a difficult program, but rather one that requires lots of time. Thus, it’d be most helpful to practice good time management skills to reduce stress.

Another point I’d like to make is not to talk back or argue with professors. This may seem obvious but I’ve seen it happen far too many times across my program. Since Interior Design is project-based, that also means that your peers and your professors will constantly be critiquing your work. Accept any criticisms with a positive mindset and don’t think of it as anyone attacking you. If you show your professors that you take their words to heart as a way to better improve your design, the studio experience will be much more enjoyable. 

If you were able to take electives, what was your favourite elective? If you were not able to take electives, what was your favourite course and why?

Truthfully, my favourite courses were the electives I chose to pursue, which were Introductions to Chinese 1 and 2. By no means is this to say that the Interior Design courses weren’t interesting- in fact, they’re so unique and personalised that they’re pretty fun most of the time. Rather, this shows that you can take electives as the opportunity to explore other areas of interest that you may have. 

My favourite Interior Design course would probably just be any of the mandatory studio classes (the project-based courses, such as IRN, IRD and IRC courses), as you can take projects into the direction of your choice. 

Additional Comments

I’d say to approach every class in a positive way, and don’t be let down by any unforeseen problems that may come your way. There’s this university ‘trend’ to always be complaining about how hard the assignments are, or how harsh the professors were- but it’s truly not that bad. 

You also never know which professors will be your future coworkers, especially in a smaller industry like Interior Design, so always be friendly. In fact, one of my professors approached me in my first year with the opportunity to work on a paid research project. She told me she chose me, not only because of my good work routine, but because of my positive mindset. She said it’s hard to find students who are so eager and excited to work on projects- so that’s what I encourage you, upcoming students, to do. Good luck!



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