University of Victoria: Student life on campus
An insider’s guide to the best place to live, campus food and more
Alec Lazenby, 22: History and political science
Why did you choose UVic?
I am from North Vancouver and wanted to move away from home. Going to UVic meant being able to get away while also being close enough to visit home on long weekends and during holidays. I had heard great things about the school from family and friends who had attended. And I had always loved Vancouver Island. Upon seeing the campus, I was blown away by its beauty and proximity to the ocean. For all these reasons, I applied only to UVic.
Describe some of your best experiences so far.
From meeting my partner of four years (in our least favourite course) to being invited to work with a professor on his latest book, I have had many wonderful experiences at UVic. Another is working for the Martlet, the university’s independent student newspaper, where I made many friends and gained invaluable hands-on journalism experience.
Are you involved in extracurricular activities?
As somebody who was never involved in extracurricular activities in high school, I am surprised by all the ways I have been involved at UVic. I began volunteering for the Martlet in my second year, working my way up to senior staff writer by the end of my third year. I have also served as the associate editor and editor-in-chief of the Ascendant Historian, UVic’s undergraduate history journal. And I have also worked as a research assistant in the history department.
What do you think of your professors?
UVic profs, by nature, are relatively laid-back; however, new students should always ask around and check out Rate My Professors if they are unsure about a specific instructor.
What do you think of the school’s administration?
UVic, like any post-secondary institution, has significant bureaucratic issues and red tape. Classes can fill up quickly, so it’s important to register as soon as possible. The school’s administration could do a better job of responding to students’ calls for complete divestment from fossil fuels and to their concerns about rising international student tuition.
What is off-campus life like in Victoria?
There is always a new artisan stall or shop to explore in Oak Bay and James Bay, and the eclectic neighbourhood of Fernwood offers plenty of opportunities for adventure, as well as the best coffee and ice cream in the city. A trip out to Sydney or Michell’s Farm in Saanich are wonderful ways to spend a sunny weekend. Willows Beach is the perfect spot for a picnic or for swimming with friends.
If I wrote the school motto: ‘Cool like the sea’
Best place to live: Oak Bay (if you can afford it) or Gordon Head (if you enjoy hikes)
Best place to study: Any one of Victoria’s endless number of coffee shops. Personal favourites are Habit Coffee and Cat’s Coffee & Cake.
Best campus events: Dodge in the Dark and intramurals
Weirdest tradition: UVic Crushes & Confessions Facebook page
Best campus food: The sandwiches at Munchie Bar
Best cheap lunch: El Furniture Warehouse (full meal for $5.95)
Best pizza: Pizzeria Prima Strada, Ali Baba or Oregano’s
Best place for a fancy dinner: Il Terrazzo
Best giveaway: AirPods or an iPad at the UVSS’s AGM
Best bar for hanging out: Felicita’s (the campus pub)
Best live music venue: Thursday open-mic nights at Felicita’s
Best hangover breakfast: John’s Place
Best place for a nap: The Engineering & Computer Science Building is open 24 hours and has designated resting spots
Best weekend activity: Drinks at the Sticky Wicket or a picnic at Willows Beach
The thing that surprised me most about the school: The beauty of the campus
If I could change one thing about the school: More engagement by the administration with students