University

Wilfrid Laurier University: Student life on campus

An insider’s guide to the best place to live, campus food and more

Emily Waitson, 26
English

Emily Waitson (Courtesy of Emily Waitson)

Why did you choose Laurier?
My dad attended Laurier for his master’s degree, and the location and program offerings were perfect for me. After going on a campus tour, I was really drawn to the tight-knit atmosphere and welcoming vibe I got from everyone I spoke to. My decision to choose Laurier was easier than I initially expected.

Describe some of your best experiences so far.
By far, the best decision I’ve made during my time in university has been getting involved in campus clubs. Writing for my school’s newspaper eventually led me to take on the role of editor-in-chief, and it introduced me to some of my closest friends. Another highlight has been the chance to take classes that really connect with my personal interests and passions. Women in Popular Culture was one of my favourite courses in undergrad; I looked forward to attending class every week.

Are you involved in extracurricular activities?
Over the course of my undergrad years, I’ve been involved with Her Campus, the Cord, and the Laurier Undergraduate Journal of the Arts. Becoming involved in these publications was a great way to meet new people and pursue my interests. Laurier has endless options for extracurricular involvement and activities, so it quickly became easy for me to discover what I was interested in.

What do you think of your professors?
Like most students, I became familiar with the professors I liked and wanted to take classes with during my first and second years. Overall, I’ve had great experiences with the professors I’ve taken courses with. As long as you put effort into being a present, hard-working student, most professors are supportive and want to see you succeed.

What do you think of the school’s administration?
Stay on top of deadlines for adding and dropping courses. It can be challenging to talk to whom you need to talk to get your classes organized, especially if there’s a waitlist. I have found that administrative staff can be difficult to communicate with. They don’t always understand and really listen to student concerns. This problem has definitely become exacerbated during the pandemic.

What is off-campus life like in Waterloo?
The tri-city area (Waterloo, Kitchener, Cambridge) has a lot to offer students if you know where to look. The key to discovering hidden gems is to break outside of the uptown Waterloo bubble and venture to different parts of the local cities. This area has a variety of bars, distilleries, cafés, shops and live music venues.

PROFILE: Wilfrid Laurier University | Waterloo, Ont. | Founded 1911

If I wrote the school motto: ‘It’s great to be a Golden Hawk (if you push yourself outside of your comfort zone)’
Best place to live: Avoid renting from big companies. Searching for people who want to add students to their leases in the Laurier housing groups is often your best bet.
Best place to study: Science Building Atrium (if you’re able to snag a free table) or any spot in Laz (Lazaridis Hall)
Best campus events: In-person O-Week events, concerts and drag shows organized by the student union
Best campus food: Wilf’s
Best cheap lunch: Bao Sandwich Bar
Best pizza: Score Pizza or Graffiti Market
Best place for a fancy dinner: Red House or the Bauer Kitchen
Best giveaway: The freebies handed out at Campus Fest during O-Week
Best bar for hanging out: Ethel’s Lounge or Pin Up Arcade Bar
Best live music venue: Jane Bond
Best hangover breakfast: Go to Mel’s Diner
Best place for a nap: A cubicle in one of the upper floors of the library
Best weekend activity: Hiking in Huron Natural Area, going to Bad Axe Throwing with friends or seeing a movie at Princess Cinemas
The thing that surprised me most about the school: How quickly I became familiar and comfortable with the campus
If I could change one thing about the school: Improve the Wi-Fi and dining hall food

Looking for more?

Get the best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for daily stories and analysis.