St. Francis Xavier University: student tips for surviving life on campus

Best live music, study spot, cheap lunch and more

Rachel Dickey
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The St. Francis Xavier women’s rugby team practices on Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017. They are currently Canadian champions. (Photograph by Mikaela MacKenzie)

The St. Francis Xavier women’s rugby team practices on Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017. They are currently Canadian champions. (Photograph by Mikaela MacKenzie)

University Insider: Rachel Dickey, 20, Marketing

Best place for a nap: Wellspring (it’s a study space meant to feel like Grandma’s living room)
Best cheap lunch: Rita Wraps
Best hangover breakfast: Snow Queen
Favourite campus food: Burrito Bowls from the SUB Café
Favourite watering hole: The Golden X Inn, a.k.a. our campus bar
Perks of living in this town: A cab anywhere in town is $6
Where to live: Bishop’s Hall
Best place to study: First floor library—not too hot and not too cold
Worst place to study: The SUB—as the bustling hub of campus, it’s impossible to not run into someone you know there (you’ll surely get distracted)
Best campus event: Catalina Wine Mixer (yes, like in the movie Step Brothers)
Best giveaway: Multiple chances to win your X-ring in a raffle!
Best live music venues: The Townhouse Brewpub & Eatery
Coolest elective: Stained Glass Studio

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

As a campus tour guide, I get to take lots of people through their first visit to StFX. Beyond the absolutely beautiful campus, they are always impressed by the school’s clearly positive community. Hidden away in little ol’ Antigonish, N.S., StFX is a small, undergraduate university known for its contagious spirit and excellent academics.

At StFX, the combination of small class sizes and devoted professors leads to a first-class learning environment. Professors make an active effort to know their students by name, and many go above and beyond to get to know them on a personal level. The dynamics in the classrooms focus on interaction, critical thinking and student engagement. There’s no way you can get through a class without being prompted to ask questions or apply your outside knowledge to the discussion.

The connection and community is truly what made me fall in love with X. When walking to class, I always have to add an extra 10 minutes to my commute time because it’s inevitable that I’ll run into someone I know. The friendships I made in my first year while living in residence have stayed strong—and that’s the common theme when you chat with any of the older students at X.

Moving from Ottawa to Antigonish, I never thought I’d make as many meaningful connections with my peers and professors as I have. StFX is a place for leadership, personal growth and academic success. The graduating class get the distinctive X-rings on Dec. 3. The famous ring is a symbol of the time spent at StFX and everyone wears it with pride. I know my 2019 ring will take me to amazing places.

If there’s one thing that bonds X students, it’s our love for House Hockey Cup Season. Nervous energy riddles the air in late January as rival residences are pitted against each other in their annual hockey games. Spirit is at an all-time high as older students visit their old residence, cheer in the stands, or even duke it out on the ice.
If hockey isn’t your thing, there are well over 90 societies operating on campus as well. From scuba diving to hiking to vegetarianism, there’s something for everyone.

Local Vibe
The population of Antigonish doubles when the students move to town in September (no joke), but that doesn’t mean the ’Nish doesn’t have anything of its own to offer. With plenty of late-night eats, a cute coffee shop and great independent restaurants along Main Street, there’s lots of variety. The public library is a great study spot, and the movie theatre always has current blockbusters. It also helps that we have seven beaches within easy driving distance.

The Skinny
The student union website ( is the place to go for all student happenings. The school’s official website is great for access to program specifics and campus resources. And all StFX students have the Snow Day Predictor bookmarked on their phones.