University of British Columbia: student tips for surviving life on campus

Best places to study, a cheap lunch or greasy breakfast
Emma Hicks
UBC student life.
UBC student life.

University Insider: Emma Hicks, 21 , English Literature and Creative Writing

Unofficial school motto: We are actually known as ‘The University of Building Construction’—trust me, you will curse campus detours at some point in your time here
Best place for a nap: The Ridington Room in the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre has big, comfy armchairs that face floor-to-ceiling windows where you can peacefully fall asleep or just zone out and people-watch
Best cheap lunch: The Delly in the basement of the Nest has everything from BLTs and grilled cheese to butter chicken and specialty salads—definitely the best bang for your buck with the massive portion sizes
Best hangover breakfast: Jethro’s Fine Grub serves plate-size pancakes, four different types of French toast, and every egg dish you can imagine —you can’t go wrong with any item on this menu
Favourite watering hole: On campus, head over to Koerner’s Pub, which has great daily deals and lots of UBC-hosted events. Off campus, trek out to Main Street and dance at the Biltmor —pro tip: it’s just a few short blocks from Lucy’s, the best 24-hour diner in all of Vancouver.
Perks of living in this town: You could, hypothetically, go skiing at Whistler and swim in the Pacific Ocean on the same day
Best place to study: The rooftop of the Nest on a sunny day. There are picnic tables and an open garden, plus it’s usually pretty quiet up there. It’s truly a hidden gem.
Coolest electives: I may sound biased, but anything in Creative Writing—it’s a great way to find an artistic outlet

PROFILE: The University of British Columbia | Vancouver, B.C. | Founded 1908

Welcome to UBC, where the sunny days on campus showcase views of the mountains and the Pacific Ocean, and the rainy days offer a reminder that this is one of Canada’s warmest climates—even if you’re sopping wet.

As one of the top-ranked universities in the world, UBC is home to a diverse range of students, clubs and academics. There is a home for everyone here, but you have to put yourself out there to find it. With more than 44,000 undergraduate students, UBC’s Vancouver campus is massive, so you’re bound to find your people whether they’re in class, in residence or running down Main Mall to get from one end of campus to the other.
You can get active with UBC Recreation and stay sane with views of the rose garden. There are hundreds of clubs to join, multiple sporting events to cheer on the Thunderbirds and hundreds of stairs leading down to Wreck Beach.

While you will be up to your ears in schoolwork, you’re on the “chill” side of the country, where life tends to be a little more relaxed. There are daily yoga classes in the AMS Student Nest where you can go and de-stress, as well as a smoothie shop—which is just about as Vancouver as you can get.

UBC has some really strange traditions—like the Undie Run, where you run around campus in your underwear; Storm the Wall, where you sprint, bike, swim, run and then climb over a giant piece of wood; Engineering Carolling, where you start drinking at 7 a.m., barge into classrooms and sing. These are just a few of the silliest events UBC offers. I suggest you participate in anything and everything that you can.
You’re arguably attending Canada’s most beautiful campus, so get outside and enjoy it—whether it’s studying on the rooftop of the Nest or lying in the grass by the Knoll, every moment spent outside is not wasted.

Local Vibe
My best advice to anyone thinking of attending UBC is to take advantage of the mountains. If you’re not from the West Coast, I promise you that your mouth will hang open and your eyes will glaze over every time the sun shines.
You can ski or board down Whistler, Grouse, Seymour and Cypress mountains in the winter and hike up them in the summer.

The Skinny
The Ubyssey ( is UBC’s very own student-run newspaper, published online daily and every Tuesday in print. It is a hyper-local paper that covers everything from breaking news to cultural events and research projects to sports.

UBC student life.