Here’s our top tips for new UVic students
Navigating UVic can be a tough task, especially for first years. Locating your classes on the first day, getting from one place to another, and trying to find the best places to eat and study are some of the challenges that you can expect to encounter. We at the Martlet have experienced these challenges and are here to provide some tips to help you adapt to your new life on campus.
The first order of business is explaining the rainbow crosswalk. The unique design of the crosswalk accompanies its unique identity as UVic’s most iconic crosswalk. It has the most foot traffic of any crosswalk because it connects the campus to the bus loop and residences. It does this by crossing Ring Road which can cause major traffic backups. So, while most crosswalks are based on the principle that the pedestrian has the right of way, the rainbow crosswalk operates by interchanging the flow of people and vehicles. If vehicles constantly yielded to pedestrians wanting to cross, there would be a continuous flow of people crossing Ring Road resulting in a plethora of irritated students in vehicles never getting to class.
Thus, if you find yourself far behind a big group crossing ahead of you, you should slow down, let cars pass, and wait for a crowd of students to form before crossing. If you need to cross quickly because you want to beat the rush at Bibliocafé, I advise against doing it in front of any bus, unless you want your Regina George moment. This principle should also be used on other high-traffic crosswalks across UVic.
Manoeuvring around campus is just as difficult as figuring out how to cross Ring Road. There are some good landmarks, such as the McPherson Library, but some buildings share the same exterior design, which can get confusing. I understand that red brick and stucco were all the rage back in the day, but some creativity would have been nice. Moreover, most buildings have more than one wing, which can pose a problem for students looking for their classes.
The most egregious multi-winged buildings are Cornett and Clearihue. Cornett is confusing because both sides are identical and have separate buildings for the same wing and the same building for separate wings (even while writing this I still cannot wrap my head around it).
Clearihue is especially convoluted, as the A, C, and D wings are attached, but B is just left hung out to dry. This is without mentioning the maze-like upper-level hallways. The only saving grace for first-years is that the wings are situated in clockwise order, so if you know what wing you are in, you can (probably) find your class.
Finding food on campus can also be a challenge. Mystic Market is the most popular place, but getting food there could take you 15–20 minutes, and about double that if you plan to sit and eat there as well. The same is true for Bibliocafé and Starbucks.
All is not lost though, as the unveiling of Building One (yes, this is the best name they could come up with) will provide more food options and shorter lines. Seating will probably still be an issue as Bibliocafé and Mystic Market customers will funnel there when they realize the impossible task of finding a table where they buy food. On the other hand, the Student Union Building has some good places to eat with hot and fresh meals. There’s also Felicita’s if you’re feeling a little boujee, and the SciCafé in the Bob Wright Centre makes great pizza with significantly smaller lines.
While some students find it easier to study at home, studying in a secondary location (such as at a library, café, or study hall) can be more effective. UVic has plenty of these spots but finding the ideal one can boost your productivity. The library is always a good place to start. The basement is perfect for solo work as it is a designated quiet study space. The first and second floor are both adequate for group study but, based on personal experience, if you are there with friends it might devolve into board games and shenanigans.
Other study places include Clearihue (upper levels are best) and the Bob Wright Centre (very underrated). Some places to avoid are David Turpin and the ECS building as there are not many places to sit and work. The best piece of advice I can give is to find an empty classroom and study there.
Hopefully, this guide will help you find your way around campus. I wish you the best of luck this year, especially if you have to get from Fraser to ECS in 10 minutes without a bike.