Colleges in Ontario

Going to College

My parents went through a divorce just as I was finishing high school. It was a messy period in my life where emotions ran high and I left the broken home and grabbed my own apartment. I really didn’t have the money to support myself through college at that point in time. Maybe I also didn’t have the will to succeed at that point either. I worked for about 6 years, saved money and started at college late. Being a little bit older and the money being my own…..I struggled but persevered. During the course of the first year many of my college friends would meet in a small cafeteria called the buttery for a beer at lunch on Fridays. When I arrived for my second year I noted that many of my college friends didn’t make it past the first year. The University has a high drop out rate in their pursuit of academic excellence and work ethic amongst students. I worked as a security guard full time at nights and at a steel mill during the days of summer. The steel work was excellent pay and the security work was fantastic. I would sleep about 4 hours and study about 4 hours, it was great. I worked at Bay and Front at the Royal Bank plaza. I am under the impression now that people all around me were helping me finance college. The sleeping on the job was obvious, yet no one ever mentioned it to me.

College is not like high school. No one really cares if you attend lectures or do your academic work (i.e. papers etc). It is up to you to be responsible and driven. College puts such a work load on you, they force you to prioritize your efforts and sacrifice some marks for the sake of others. For many it will be the first time away from home and a chance to spread their wings. Some fail to do so, some fail to prioritize and some fail to be serious. At college there are fraternities and sororities and other groups. The parties you see in movies such as “Old School”, “Animal House” or “Road Trip” do actually take place. I’ve attended them in the past. I am much older now, but currently live in a college district and see the students with Togas walking bye and hear the load thump of music in the distance. I wish I could go…but alas my time has passed. Most students go to College as children and graduate as adults. Many find their significant other during these years. The parties and events are needed to release stress as there is such tension in pursuit of academic excellence. The biggest parties occur post exams.

Donald Sutherland’s memories of Gate House toga parties (Victoria College) inspired the movie animal house.  Love the toga party!

Ontario Colleges (especially historic colleges) have 4 exterior walls forming a quad. The grass square within the walls is where college activities typically take place. Albeit, in times of winter, events occur within the building itself. The outdoor parties are the ones I remember best. Holding a drink under the stars, talking with my friends after writing all my exams.

Trinity College Quad
Trinity Quad

There were also other great events and historic traditions (Episkopon, cake fight, roomaround, the pouring out etc). Such a good time. If you get the chance to pursue a college education, it is less about the degree than you think and more about the journey and transition. You will leave college a better person, more experienced and more knowledgeable. You will leave with great memories and have the ability to embrace your dreams.

U of T College Parade (frosh week) is pictured above with each of the colleges decked out in their colours.

The video above has Donald Sutherland doing a U of T promo. Start as frosh and become?

Note: When I went to college in the early nineties the programs that exist today were not in place. Seek help if under financial duress. Today, colleges take financial aid seriously.