Student Insider
by Sanjida Rashid
November 8, 2022

University of Ottawa: Student life on campus

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

Sanjida Rashid (Courtesy of Hailey Otten/Fulcrum)

Sanjida Rashid, 19: Political science and common law

Why did you choose University of Ottawa?

My decision to go to the University of Ottawa was an easy one, thanks to the variety of compelling programs that the school offers as well as the the university’s commitment to bilingualism. The University of Ottawa provides students the opportunity to submit papers and tests in both French and English and offers scholarships and bursaries for French immersion students.

Describe some of your best experiences so far.

One thing that stands out is the sense that people on campus care about you. For example, a woman who worked in the cafeteria when I was in first year recognized me a year later by the sound of my voice alone. I also fondly remember my first-year criminology professor, who would show up early to our 8:30 a.m. Zoom classes to play guitar for us and even dressed up in costume for class on one occasion.

Are you involved in extracurricular activities?

Because of the pandemic, I haven’t had the opportunity to join many clubs. However, once we can gather safely, I’ll be excited to join many of them, including the boxing club, the Rock Climbing Club and the Ananda Marga Yoga and Meditation Club. I also work at the U of O fitness centres and the independent student newspaper, where I’ve met interesting people from a variety of programs and years of study.

What do you think of your professors?

I’m a frequent flyer on the Rate My Professors website, where I artfully curate a schedule of five-star professors each semester. Perhaps that’s why I have nothing but good things to say about my professors, who are generally friendly and willing to stay after class to discuss concepts with you.

What do you think of the school’s administration?

Choosing classes should be a 1000-level course in itself—it’s no easy feat. Your program will offer a course sequence that you ought to follow, and I highly recommend building your schedule in advance. Add courses to your shopping cart on uoZone and set an alarm for when enrolment opens so you can snag the best classes at the optimal times. And please, be nice to future you; do not take that 8:30 a.m. class and avoid that three-hour-long night class, too. It’s not worth it.

What is off-campus life like in Ottawa?

My weekends are reserved for the ByWard Market, where there are lots of fun pubs, bars and clubs. Ottawa features many exciting things to do, eat and see on Bank Street, on Rideau Street and in Chinatown and Little Italy.

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Best place to live: On campus, 90U is your best bet. Off-campus, Sandy Hill is the place to be.

Best place to study: The fifth floor of the Learning Crossroads

Best campus events: The uOShow, an annual back-to-school concert

Best campus food: 3 Brothers Shawarma & Poutine on Osgoode Street, near the U of O campus

Best cheap lunch: No Forks Given has delicious vegan chicken burgers

Best pizza: Stay Gold Pizza on Elgin Street

Best place for a fancy dinner: It doesn’t get any swankier than the Chateau Laurier

Best bar for hanging out: Pub 101

Best live music venue: Mavericks

Best hangover breakfast: Father & Sons

Best place for a nap: The fifth floor of the Morisset Library

Best weekend activity: Bar-hopping in the ByWard Market on Fridays and Saturdays; visiting Kettlemans Bagel and long walks by the canal on Sunday

The thing that surprised me most about the school: Finding the cafeteria decorated for holidays with a Met Gala level of commitment

If I could change one thing about the school: The fitness centres, though adequate, have a lot of room for growth. I can’t help but be jealous of other universities’ larger gyms and women-only gyms.