Wednesday, 6 April 2011

The difference of five years

I had a chance to wander around my old university campus last week, and I can't believe the transformation. I had also maintained that I attended my film program about 5 years too early. When I began my classes, we were still shooting on 16mm film and cutting and taping the prints to edit our projects together. Without question it was an experience to do that, but having seen where film has moved in the last five years, I realize how archaic my university experience was.

As I walked down Gould Street, I was looking for the familiar windowless yellow block that was the Image Arts Building. I was quickly confused and disoriented as I came to the bookstore and realized I had missed it. There was ongoing construction, but how does one miss a building I had attended for five years?

Answer? It was no longer there. It was undergoing a major, multi-million dollar rebuild. During my last two years at Ryerson they furnished the edit bays with a few computers and editing software. Now, no doubt, things would be state of the art for its students. And there would not only be windows, but every wall was made of glass. I can remember the days I sat in dark, windowless classrooms and longed for a glimpse of the outside.

Today I saw online the artist rendering of the new Student Learning Centre (library.) I only went to the Ryerson library once during my academic career. It was an archaic place with elevators that were slower than molasses and old, dusty tomes that contained information older than their packaging. The study desks were small and boarded on three sides with yellow board, a truly awful cubicle. There was nowhere to spread books, few streams of natural sunlight, and an all around musky and dark atmosphere. Visiting the library was a useless endeavor and I never returned. But to see the new project - wow. When I attended Ryerson it was a mess of old buildings cobbled together to call themselves a school. Now they are knocking down the old and building grand artistic visions set to inspire its students.

What I difference five years makes.

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