University

York University: Student life on campus

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

Jeanette Williams, 28
Cinema studies and English

Jeanette Williams (Courtesy of Jeanette Williams)

Why did you choose York?
I wanted to study film and English. I chose York University because it offers courses in both theory and practice, providing a well-rounded education that’s also applicable in the field.

Describe some of your best experiences so far.
Currently, I’m the health and science editor at York’s student newspaper, Excalibur. Some of my best experiences have been related to working there. I’m happy to have gained writing experience and have especially enjoyed interviewing university staff about the groundbreaking research they are doing. Another highlight has been taking elective courses at the School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design, including one called Making Media, which has led me to interesting assignments such as creating soundmaps and single-photo stories.

Are you involved in extracurricular activities?
I would love to be involved in more extracurricular activities, but the pandemic has moved all operations online, and I find the experience of participating virtually in clubs less desirable than being on campus and in person.

What do you think of your professors?
The professors are generally approachable, but they can take a long time to respond when you have questions. Sometimes they redirect you to their teaching assistants.

What do you think of the school’s administration?
While I have found the school’s administrative staff to be friendly and helpful, students must take the time and initiative to ensure that documents get processed properly and on time. It is best to apply for things such as program or course changes as soon as possible because there are often specific processes to complete. The waitlist and permissions processes are long and tedious and require too much correspondence.

What is off-campus life like in Toronto?
The subway takes you directly from the campus to downtown Toronto, which is very busy and lots of fun. There are all kinds of things to do in the city: shopping, eating in just about every kind of restaurant you can think of, going to the theatre and nightclubs and, of course, visiting campy tourist attractions (here’s lookin’ at you, CN Tower). Because Toronto is a major connecting city, it’s also easy to get out of the city. You can take a three-hour bus ride for a weekend in Niagara Falls or hop on a plane to go home for winter holidays.

PROFILE: York University | Toronto, Ont. | Founded 1959

Best place to live: On campus, Calumet and Bethune are most students’ favourite residences; however, I think it’s better to live closer to downtown to get the full experience of the city
Best place to study: Upper floors of the Scott Library
Best campus events: YorkFest
Best campus food: Pretty much anything in York Lanes
Best cheap lunch: Living Well Express
Best pizza: Pizza Studio
Best place for a fancy dinner: Yu Seafood at Yorkdale
Best giveaway: Free tuition contest, open only to first-year students
Best bar for hanging out: The Absinthe Pub and Coffee Shop or Timbers Lodge Social Grill
Best live music venue: nuvo Toronto or the Underground
Best hangover breakfast: Good Morning Friends or Berries & Blooms
Best weekend activity: Exploring downtown on the weekends
The thing that surprised me most about the school: Courses such as Sex, Drugs and Theatre, and Extraterrestrial Life
If I could change one thing about the school: Update the course enrolment system

Looking for more?

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