University of Ottawa 411: Best cheap lunch, place to study, and more

University of Ottawa insider's perspective on campus life

University of Ottawa student Marguerite Gollish.

The 411

Best place for a nap: Fifth floor FSS

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Best cheap lunch: The Hot Dog Guy on Laurier

Best hangover breakfast: Breakfast special at FnS

Favourite campus food: Perfection-Satisfaction-Promise (awesome vegetarian food)

Favourite watering hole: Laurier Social House

Perks: Big-city cultural events, small enough to get around

Where to live: Sandy Hill

Best place to study on campus: Music Library

Best place to study off-campus: Any of the coffee shops in the Byward Market

Worst place to study: Fifth floor of Morisset Library

Coolest electives: Witchcraft, Music in the Movies, Poker 101

Best live-music venues: Zaphod Beeblebrox

Weirdest tradition: The Panda Game (football game between Carleton and U of O)

Best spectator sport: Basketball

Campus mascot: A GeeGee (the first horse out of the gate)

Unofficial school motto: ‘Heart of a geegee’

Best season: Patio season

Most notorious bus route: 8

Best campus event: Model Parliament

Best cultural event: Any summertime festival (Jazzfest, Bluesfest, Chamberfest, Arboretum Festival)


PROFILE: University of Ottawa | Ottawa, Ont. | Founded 1848


University Insider: Marguerite Gollish, 21, Psychology

When I came to the University of Ottawa, I was overwhelmed. There were so many students, so many delicious options at the cafeteria, so many readings for my demanding courses, and so few desks at the windowless library. Thankfully, I discovered my place to study in peace away from the crowds: the Faculty of Social Sciences (FSS) building. A relief from the rest of the concrete-heavy campus, it’s U of O’s proudest architectural achievement. A behemoth of glass and wood, it boasts a six-storey living wall, which is easy on both the eyes and the lungs. If the new Learning Centre (due to open in 2018) is anything like it, students will be spoiled by the choice of spaces to study and chat.

Along with the options of where to study, you’ll have your pick of what. Sadly, not all degrees have the option of co-op, but all offer the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program. You’ll get paid to help professors with research, which is fantastic for both the resumé and bank account. Bolstering those two things will give you a post-graduation advantage. You can help yourself even more with the university’s French immersion program. It has a yearly scholarship, and mentors to guide you. And if a French class doesn’t go so well, it will hide the grade from your transcript.

On campus you’ll find students and professors from everywhere in the world. They are political whizzes, sports fans and literature aficionados. There’s a lot that could divide us, but there’s so much more to unite us. For example, complaining about the weather and public transit, and mocking the university’s infamous ad campaign “Defy the Conventional.” I’m guilty of that last one, but my university really is far from conventional. It has defied expectations of university life, and helped that overwhelmed student face the next stage of her life with confidence.

Extras
Intramurals and competitive clubs provide no shortage of opportunities to stay active. You may have to fight to get a spot in dodgeball, but there’s no line-up for water polo. If sports aren’t your thing, you can sing at an open mike at Café Nostalgica, or participate in a model parliament in the House of Commons itself. You can write for one of two campus newspapers. You can also write any assignment or exam in either official language.

Local Vibe
Once called “the city that fun forgot,” Ottawa has made concerted efforts to shake its bureaucratic stereotype. Seasonal festivals like Bluesfest and Jazzfest offer student discounts, while the revamped National Arts Centre runs its Live Rush program year-round—starting 48 hours before the show, students can get any ticket for $15. Afterwards, fill your stomach in the restaurants and bars of the Centretown, Hintonburg and Westboro neighbourhoods. Stroll back to campus along the biking and walking paths that criss-cross the city.

The Skinny
Head to apt613 for detailed descriptions of anything and everything happening in the city.