Memorial University of Newfoundland: Student life on campus

An insider’s guide to the best place to live, campus food and more
Jacob Laybolt
(Courtesy of Memorial University)
(Courtesy of Memorial University)

Jacob Laybolt, 22
Political science

Jacob Laybolt (Courtesy of Jacob Laybolt)

Why did you choose Memorial?
I chose to study at MUN because of its affordability and proximity to my home province of Nova Scotia. My brother also attended Memorial, and studying there with him and other friends who came from outside the province has always made the campus feel like a home away from home for me.

Describe some of your best experiences so far.
Taking part in student activities such as Winter Carnival and Frosh Week were great opportunities to meet fellow students and learn about campus life. Being able to meet and work with the political science department on my honours thesis was a really great way to get personal feedback and first-hand research experience.

Are you involved in extracurricular activities?
MUN offers a broad range of extracurricular opportunities through well-funded clubs and societies. There are political organizations, gaming clubs and a thriving student activist community. MUN also offers students part-time job opportunities called “MUCEPs,” which provide work experience in a variety of settings. I had the chance to co-produce a weekly news show at the student radio station CHMR 93.5 while also working part-time at the Muse, MUN’s student newspaper.

What do you think of your professors?
I switched my major from a B.Sc. in psychology to a B.A. in political science, in part because I could have more personal connections with the professors in Memorial’s humanities and social sciences faculty. They are highly approachable and motivated to teach, and they bring diverse perspectives along with a wealth of research expertise.

What do you think of the school’s administration?
Registering for classes can be occasionally challenging because some courses that are necessary for graduation have competitive seat capacities. Online learning has been difficult (for many schools, not just Memorial), but it has constantly improved and adapted over the course of the pandemic.

What is off-campus life like in St. John’s?
The pandemic’s impact on St. John’s is most notably felt on George Street. While there are options for spending an evening downtown, it may be some time before clubs and bars fully reopen. But there are other fun things to do in the city. The Rooms, a museum and art gallery, gives students free admission on Fridays. There are also many scenic hiking routes around the city; just make sure you have cell service and don’t get stranded on Signal Hill at 2 a.m., as my friends and I once did.

PROFILE: Memorial University of Newfoundland | St. John’s, N.L. | Founded 1925

Best place to live: Any dorm in ‘Old Res’ (Paton College)
Best place to study: The QEII Library has an unlimited book collection with a great café in the lobby
Best campus events: Winter Carnival and Frosh Week
Weirdest tradition: Stacking other people’s unattended cups in the dining hall
Best campus food: Steak Night in the dining hall is an annual mythical experience
Best pizza: Donati’s at Churchill Square is the best slice of ’za in town
Best place for a fancy dinner: Fort Amherst (if you can get a reservation)
Best giveaway: Frosh Week welcome swag
Best bar for hanging out: The campus Breezeway Bar
Best live music venue: There are many good music bars on George Street
Best hangover breakfast: Dining hall breakfasts offer unlimited coffee, sausages, eggs and bacon
Best weekend activity: The Rooms
The thing that surprised me most about the school: The gym is a great facility with helpful staff and plenty of equipment
If I could change one thing about the school: I wish the school would have kept its long-standing tuition freeze commitment