St. Francis Xavier University: Student life on campus

An insider’s guide to the best place to live, campus food and more
Catherine Poag
(Courtesy of St. Francis Xavier)
(Courtesy of St. Francis Xavier)

Catherine Poag, 21

Catherine Poag (Courtesy of Thomas Dalvi)

Why did you choose Saint Francis Xavier?
Saint Francis Xavier University is a small school in a small town. Classes are also small, so the professors know your name, and it’s easy to get to know other students. I also really love the community feel of residence life at StFX. On top of all this, the campus is beautiful, with everything in close proximity.

Describe some of your best experiences so far.
One of my favourite experiences at StFX was taking a creative writing course in which students read their work out loud and then received feedback from the professor and classmates. This format made me feel more comfortable with sharing my writing, and it also helped me improve my writing.

Are you involved in extracurricular activities?
StFX hosts a society night when all the school’s clubs and teams put up booths, and students can chat with the groups’ leaders to see if they might be interested in joining. Personally, I participate in extracurriculars as the editor-in-chief of the school newspaper, the Xaverian Weekly, and as part of the StFX cheerleading team. They both give me a chance to take a break from studying and meet new people.

What do you think of your professors?
The professors at StFX are great. They really get to know you individually and make an effort to understand what kind of help you might need to succeed in their classes. My profs have always been there to answer my questions, either via a quick email or during their office hours.

What do you think of the school’s administration?
The school uses an online system called Banner, which makes it easy to sign up for classes. If one of the classes you want to take is full, the professor can often override the program and get you in. One piece of advice for new students is to give yourself lots of time when dealing with the administration, including registering for courses. That way you can ask any questions and think things through without too much pressure.

What is off-campus life like in Antigonish?
Antigonish has the ultimate small-town vibe. The downtown consists of about seven blocks and is filled with cute restaurants, cafés and boutiques. On Saturdays, even in the winter, you can pick up all kinds of fresh produce and crafts at the Farmers’ Market. In the colder months, you can go cross-country skiing and snowshoeing on nearby hiking trails. In the warmer months, you can visit the beaches, which are great places for studying or just having a picnic with a friend.

PROFILE: St. Francis Xavier University | Antigonish, N.S. | Founded 1853

If I wrote the school motto: ‘StFX, a place to call home’
Best place to live: Bishops Hall. You can get a single room, but it is also a lively residence where it’s easy to get to know your fellow students.
Best place to study: Third floor in the library, which many students refer to as the Harry Potter lounge
Best campus events: O-Week
Best campus food: The Rita Wrap
Best cheap lunch: Pizza Delight (the garlic fingers are the best)
Best pizza: StFX students are split down the middle in the debate over whose pizza is better: Kenny’s or the Wheel
Best place for a fancy dinner: The Townhouse. Great atmosphere, awesome food.
Best giveaway: A free X-ring (a ring most StFX students get when they graduate)
Best bar for hanging out: Piper’s Pub
Best live music venue: Candid Brewing Company
Best hangover breakfast: The Snow Queen
Best place for a nap: The Coady library, a hidden gem
Best weekend activity: The Antigonish Farmers’ Market is open year-round and has lots of fresh produce and crafts
The thing that surprised me most about the school: You’re not just a number to the professors; they get to know your name
If I could change one thing about the school: The accessibility on campus