Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

The Freshman Guide to Ryerson: The Commuter’s Daily Essentials!

             Summer seems to have flown by and the fall semester is upon us. Many incoming freshmen are likely commuter students, surfing subways and hopping on buses to make it to campus on time. Commuting is not as difficult as it sounds, but let’s be real, it’s not great. What’s worse, though, is getting to your class Monday morning and realizing you forgot your laptop charger, or spilling coffee on your shirt and having to walk around campus with a massive stain while wishing the earth would just swallow you whole.

           Unlike students on campus, we can’t just run back to our dorms, grab a new shirt, plug in our laptops and come back to our next class feeling good. We’ve got to be prepared for all kinds of mishaps and mistakes, from stained tees, dead laptops, sticky hands and menstrual problems. 

           Well, I’ve compiled a little list of things that are absolutely essential to the commuter. Freshmen, I’ve got your backs, with this handy list you’ll be covered for the basic things you’d need for ANY on-campus emergency! (Yes, I’ve made sub-lists. I’m thorough, sue me.)

A) The Basics: Cosmetics, Toiletries and the Necessities: These essentials will fit in an everyday makeup bag and should be backpack staples. (Forever 21 and H&M carry cute options!) Being at university is hard enough without having the added stress of feeling uncomfortable in your body, these things are pretty basic and may seem a little redundant, but really, they make all the difference between a bad day and a good!


  1. Pads or Tampons: Look, this is a no-brainer. Have at least two of these in your bag everyday, even when you think you don’t need them, there are chances that someone else might.

  2. Deodorant: Sticks, rollers, sprays, whichever works for you. Trust me on this one. 

  3. Hand sanitizer or wipes: Places like Bath and Body Works carry cute scented sanitizers for amazing prices, and last a long time! Sanitizer is an essential, even off-campus. Sticky, germ-y gross hands are no fun.  

  4. Hand-cream or moisturizer: Winter is coming and dry hands are almost as bad as sticky hands. Get yourself a travel-sized hand cream and thank us later. 

  5. Make-up essentials:  This is totally optional, but I personally need to always have a lip-gloss and mascara with me. Pick up whatever you know you’l definitely feel miserable without! You have a long day ahead and fading lipstick makes the day longer for some. 

  6. Makeup wipes: Runny mascara, enough said. 

  7. Lip-balm: Whether you’re a make-up person or not, lip balm is a definite essential. Chapped lips are as bad as dry hands! 

  8. Band-Aids: Paper cuts. Paper cuts are a painful reality, emphasis on the painful. Just grab a handful of these and let them make home in your makeup bag, hoping that you don’t need them often! 

  9. Tide-To-Go: Another one of those things that seem like you’ll never need, until you’re sitting in the library and spill your coffee all over your shirt. Grab one of these bad boys and don’t worry about walking around stained. 

  10. Painkillers: Tylenol, Advil or whatever else it is that you take for headaches, stomach-aches, cramps or anything in between. There is nothing worse than walking around Ryerson’s downtown campus and cursing everyone making noise. 



2- Classes and Studying: This will definitely vary from person to person, but these are some of the essentials that make studying on campus just a little more enjoyable and easier! 


  1. Laptop and Phone with Chargers: You’ve been typing for three hours straight and all of a sudden, your laptop is at 10% and there’s still too long of the day to go through. Keep that charger on hand. 

  2. Notebooks or A4 Paper: Sure, you take notes on your laptop, but don’t ever leave home without paper. Some professors may not be cool with you using your laptop during certain lectures, so it’s best to always have back up. 

  3. Pens: Even if you don’t have paper, always have pens. 

  4. Student ID/OneCard!!!!!!: You will need your OneCard to get to your classes in the DSQ if you have them, but the OneCard is also your key to Ryerson. It probably should never leave your bag. 

  5. Headphones: If you’re studying on campus, headphones will help you concentrate. Ryerson is huge and very loud and sometimes it’s essential to zone out to get to work. 

  6. Flash-drives or USBs: Back up your essays! This is also handy for getting things printed! 

  7. Planners: You can get these from anywhere! Starting from the dollar store up to those gorgeous but – let’s be real– unafforable Indigo ones. Planners provide an efficient way to stay organized. You’ll thank yourself – and me –  later.

  8. Food: You will work better when you’re not exhausted AND hungry. There are lots of eating options on campus and nearby but it’s good to keep snacks on hand, nuts, granola bars, pretzels, baby carrots and other small, easy to eat snacks are a good idea! Keep them in Ziplocks in your bag and reach in whenever you need a munch! 

  9. Chewing gum: There really doesn’t need to be an argument for this. Nausea, bad breath, something to keep yourself busy. Chewing gum is important. 



         As a final reminder, always carry two pieces of ID, twenty dollars in cash and  enough spare coins for a bus ride just in case you lose your Metropass or Weekly TTC pass. Above all though, remember that commuting is part of the experience. One day, you’ll remember fondly the automated voice on the TTC telling you the doors will open on your left, and recall with pride your ability to navigate Union station.  

Be prepared, be ready for anything, and Welcome to Ryerson! 


Photo Sources:





English and Philosophy undergraduate at Ryerson, with a love of fiction, coffee and sunsets. Multicultural and forever dreaming of leaving a dent in the world of cultural literature.
Similar Reads👯‍♀️