My name is Karley Rynard – welcome to my blog!
I’m a 20-year old university student from Orillia, Ontario. I’m in my third year of school studying Finance and Economics in the Commerce Program at the University of Toronto. I love reading, going to the gym, playing sports, shopping, spending time with my boyfriend, being outside, and travelling. I’m also a new and proud cat mom.
Looking back on how I’ve changed through my “teen” years to (sadly) get to 20, I think I have a lot of advice I can share. I want to help young girls avoid the mistakes I’ve made, and learn from some of my own experiences. I’ve also been given a lot of advice from some amazing friends and family that I want to pass on. I think women, in general, have a lot to learn from each other, and I want Big Sister Blog to be a small part of that.
At 17 years old, I graduated high school and shortly after moved to the big city of Toronto to start my studies. Initially, this adjustment was tough; especially because I loved living at home and being around my family. In my experience, it can be hard doing everything on your own for the very first time. Trying to get high grades, stay in shape, call your family, see your friends, budget your money, and so on. It’s not easy! And sometimes, just accepting that we have to do this all by ourselves is the hardest part of it all.
I’m a lucky middle child; I have both an older and younger sister. My sisters and I get along great these days. They are my best friends. It’s funny because my parents always told us this would happen – but we never believed them. However, it seems that we have (mostly) made it past the years of bickering at each other and fighting over anything and everything. As we all gradually went off to college, we realized how important our time together was.
My parents have been divorced for almost as long as I can remember. However, I’m lucky with my situation that my parents have found new partners who love my sisters and I like their own. My dad and his girlfriend have been together for over 10 years now, and my mom and her boyfriend for 4. It can be fun sometimes – like the first time I realized we would get two Christmases.
I went to high school in the small town of Orillia. Playing basketball with some of my best friends for four years was definitely my highlight. It’s crazy how fast those four years flew by. Although I miss living at home and seeing my friends at school every day, some of the best years of my life came after high school.
Off to College
Deciding which college was best for me was one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make. I think I left my decision until the night before the absolute deadline to choose.
I knew I wanted to immerse myself in a new environment, and UofT being at the heart of a big city stood out to me. After I toured the campus, I knew I could see myself here for the next four years.
Living in Toronto was so different from my small town Orillia life. However living in an off-campus residence building and joining into Frosh Week initiatives, I quickly met lots of new friends. I actually met some of my best friends today within the first week of my arrival on campus.
Getting involved at school was also fun. I joined a few student clubs like the Rotman commerce innovation group (RCIG) and the Rotman commerce case competition team where I learned useful business skills and met great friends. I’m now leading the marketing team in RCIG, and I absolutely love designing content for our Instagram page.
If you’ve ever done a case competition for 24 hours straight, you would know, you get pretty close with your teammates. I guess being trapped together for an entire day has that effect! My team got the opportunity to compete in an IT case competition hosted in Vancouver. We flew to Vancouver, stayed downtown in a hotel together, and competed in 3 rounds of case competitions. Our week was such a fun time, and I even met people from all over the world.
Living on my own for the first time (kinda)
After first year, I moved into a real apartment for the first time. It was right across from campus and close to lots of my friends. Around the same time, my mom also changed into a new job; it required her to be in Toronto 3-4 days a week.
So, my mom and I decided to live together in a 2 bedroom apartment. I had the perfect gig – my mom would help buy groceries and take me out during the week, and on weekends I had the place to myself.
Last summer I had my first “real job” (unless you count being an ice cream scooper). I worked in the finance and accounting department of a company called Mattamy Asset Management. I’m so grateful for what I’ve learned and the great mentors that I met. Despite the remote nature of the job (given COVID-19), I still had a great summer. Soon I will be starting this year’s summer internship at an accounting firm.
Ever since the pandemic started, I’ve had a lot more time on my hands. Now that school is 100% online, I want to use my spare time to hopefully help a few people. I want to write about some of the things I’ve learned from my own sisters, friends, and family. I think growing up is one of the scariest things about being a young adult or teenager. And I’m definitely no expert – I’m still growing up myself. I want to navigate this path, together.
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