As a third year student in my university, there are things which I, and many of the others which attend this school just can’t help but notice. Some of these things may or may not have anything in common with other universities across Canada. Here is my list in no particular order on the things which really make York a special place. For better or for worse.
It’s no secret to anyone living in Ontario that York University is well known for its imperative to strike. Since the first one in 1997, the University has strived to beat its own record both in duration of the strikes and for how often. If anyone has attended this school within the last 20 years, they will likely have had to work around this issue at some point in their education. What’s going on York?
9. Expensive Food:
This is probably the most common theme among all Universities, and its one which really needs to stop. Even the food coming from fast food franchise restaurants is expensive! What’s the deal Pizza Pizza? I can’t buy a medium pizza for $5 bucks because I’m on campus? One Mcdonald’s on campus would solve this problem overnight. We need some capitalism I say. Until then everyone is better off bringing their peanut butter and jam sandwich everyday like I do. Save you money for booze.
8. Revealing Required Textbooks Too Late Leading up to the Semester Start Date:
This is something which I have become acutely aware of since the most recent strike. Apparently York thought it would be a good idea to not list the textbooks required for the course until less than 2 weeks to the start date. I can’t find better prices with that kind of timeframe! You might get lucky on Amazon to find a local seller but don’t count on it. If your buying textbooks online like I do then you’ll need a minimum of 2 weeks if it’s coming from another country or continent. In University its more than just choosing the classes which interest you or the ones you need for your program; textbooks costs can vary greatly from course to course and for one need to know what I’m getting myself into before it’s too late to switch.
7. Security Problems:
This is another issue which all students at York are aware of. It’s seems at least once per month that I get an email saying how there’s either been a sexual assault or a robbery concerning a student on or off campus. I’m not saying that security causes crime, but more should be done about it. It is especially unhelpful that the email never says anything about the assailants appearance. For some reason, it seems that the school doesn’t care to find these people; otherwise they might be inclined to let us know specific details about these people. Like what they look like! I don’t care what colour their jeans were at the time or what kind of hat they had. I’m pretty sure they won’t be wearing those things for the rest of their lives. Until things change I guess the only solution would be to be on the lookout for any male of any height (and any ethnic background) wearing blue jeans. Doesn’t that just make you feel so much safer?
6. Classes which are packed to the Brim:
This one really annoys the hell out of me. And I have a lot of hell. I really don’t want to be sitting 2 inches away from people I don’t know and don’t care to know. I cant be the only one feeling this way. What was the plan when designing seating arrangements York? To let everyone know I need to go to the washroom by saying excuse me, so sorry to 90 people on my way out?! Someone share my pain please so I don’t appear insane. Your only hope is to sit next to the door if you can’t manage to sit absolutely still and quiet for 2 hours or so. But even then, the door will manage to break off the hinges the moment YOU touch it on the way out.
5. York’s Degree Progress Report:
This is a very handy tool we have at the school which not only tracks each of your classes as you progress towards your degree but also advises you on which courses you need to take. This is for the busybody, who in a moment of last minute planning may or may not choose the wrong class. There is a way for them to be guided throughout their program. My concern is for those people who are double majors; what do we do? We are left pissing in the wind. I’ve found out the hard way that as a double major you have very little room to choose any class which is not part of one of your majors. To this day I still get this message when I sign into York’s server:
I’ve been “staying tuned” for a good couple of years now. This is longest midseason break I’ve ever heard of!
4) Frosh Week: I know most people probably have great things to say about this but I’m pretty sure the money you spend on Frosh week could be put to better use. Who really needs to spend so much on memories with random people you are likely to never see again. I say either save your money or blow it with people you actually know and care about.
3) The Extra Large Campus: If you’re new to York or planning to attend, you might need to bring some comfortable shoes for your first week. This is especially true if you’re taking the bus. Unless all of your classes are in the Ross building or the Curtis Lecture Hall, you will find yourself embarking on more journeys than you care for. York University is not one big building but rather a series of smaller buildings each containing classrooms. Be prepared to know where everything is before you agree to study here. It hasn’t been easy.
2) YFS: This is the York Federation of Students which represents student interests at school. Collectively it is a union. As beautiful as that sounds, you should keep in mind that they charge you every September for the coming year for the student healthcare plan. They do this without telling you by the way, and no notice as to how you can get out of it. If you have existing healthcare under your parents’ plan for instance you don’t need an additional plan that the YFS provides and can therefore get your money back. You will have to opt out of the current YFS plan though on their website with proof that you have coverage somewhere else. There just must be an easier way.
1)Moodle: This is York’s very own website for students to see everything your professors feel you need to know and or where you submit essays/write quizzes. The only problem is that no one tells you how to use it! I remember in first year hearing talks about this “Moodle” like it was something sacred at York and I felt like I was out of the loop… Until an assignment was due and I had to figure things out on my own. It’s great to figure things out on your own when you want tom but when you have things to worry about, the last thing on your mind is making time to tinker around with the school website so you don’t fail/miss a deadline by accident.