Monday, May 30, 2011

Here's how to survive UBC. 50 great tips!

Ages ago (seriously, AGES) I asked people to take my survey. And I finally read the results!
Thank you to the TWO PEOPLE that replied! I love you both. So, so much. (One was my mom).

(The other was someone who's going to UBC next year and reads other stuff I've written. And so this is a message to that person- tell me who you are, because you didn't log in! And I would love love love to drag you all around UBC and tell you all the cool places and everything. Tell me tell me tell me!)

Anyways, as requested, here is a list of How To Survive UBC.
(Not that it needs surviving. It's a cool place).

1. It rains. Be prepared for this. Rainboots, a sturdy umbrella, an umbrella that fits in your backpack for days when it doesn't SEEM like it'll rain but later will, a backpack or something that is waterproof, a laptop with a good battery because outlets are scarce in lecture, sports gear (hockey, ski, etc)
2. Sign up for stuff! Lots of it! But not so much that you can't do classwork. But I was on two hockey teams each semester, and it was awesome. Planning on maybe joining the Ski and Board club, too, which is like, the biggest club there.
3. Wear flipflops in the dorm. Everywhere. No bare feet. NO. (I had this cut or something on my foot get infected, so I couldn't walk so well for a few months. Last week, went to a doctor to have it treated, he put this liquid on it, and IT IS SO PAINFUL NOW. Like, agonizing-can't-walk-maybe-I-need-crutches painful. So wear shoes!)
4. A mini fridge is useful- but not mandatory. However, the fridge everyone shares in the common room does get stolen from.
5. Down comforters are awesomely useful, because it gets cold, and you cannot control the heat in your room.
6. Bring decoration for your room- and tape. The poster stuff at the front desk does not work.
7. Speaking of the front desk- they rock! They know everything!
8. Get the smallest meal plan possible. You can upgrade, but you CAN'T downgrade, and any leftover money is put on a stupid cafeteria giftcard of uselessness.
9. Move in as early as possible. It's a hectic day.
10. Campus is dead on the weekends- dead dead dead. So make friends that live on campus so you don't get bored. (OR VISIT ME. Because I love you).
11. If possible, make friends that aren't in the freshman dorms. You will get sick of that place, trust me. It's not like, bad or anything, but you do get tired of the one room arrangement.
12. Do stuff with your floor! DO IT. And do it in the beginning. Because they get close-knit, and if you miss that initial bonding... stuff's awkward.
13. Go into the city! We live in such a cool city. And there is loads to do.
14. There is no wifi in the dorm. Bring a LONG ethernet cable, because you'll want to study on your bed, and you want that cable to reach.
15. The bed is very high up. If you want it lower- do it BEFORE moving your stuff in. Because lowering it requires EVERYTHING to be moved out of the way.
16. Filing taxes- random, but there's a tax clinic the international house does. Extremely useful. A random guy helped me with mine! He was nice. And liked hockey.
17. Make friends. Lots. From lots of different places.
18. Make friends with someone with a kitchen. There are none in freshman rez.
19. Every floor of rez has its own microwave, FYI. No toaster, though.
20. Those electric kettles are useful.
21. Summer storage- very, very little offered on campus, and from what I hear, theirs is small. Just something to think about.
22. The Canucks backup guys practice at the rink in the summer, I believe. Mornings. COOL TO WATCH!
23. School hockey games are awesome! Also, I always want to go to one.
24. AMS offers free tutoring. And at the math annex, there is great math tutoring. I hear we also have a writing centre. And a job centre, to help write resumes and stuff.
25. The buses stop at 2AM, I'm mostly certain.
26. Bus 99 is your best friend. It'll take you just about everywhere. The village (fast food and staples), Safeway (one's on Sasmat and a bigger one's on Broadway), the skytrain station (Cambie is the Canada line- takes you to the airport. Grandview highway is the stop for the commercial station- takes you out to Burnaby and stuff. NOT, I believe, to the airport).
27. Leave lots of time to get to each class. Construction is always going on- and they looove to block the route that is not only fast, but oftentimes THE ONLY GOOD WAY TO GET TO CLASS.
28. Tim Horton's takes your mealcard, and they have awesome hot chocolate, don't they?
29. Late morning classes rock.
30. No, they don't always take attendance, but for heaven's sake, you didn't come here to be mediocre, so go to class! Every day! And workshop! All of those too!
31. Use the prof's office hours if you need help. They're nice.
32. The beach is clothing optional, FYI. Also, there are 500 stairs of death to get down to it. No lighting at night.
33. It does snow. Plan accordingly. Jacket, gloves, scarf.
34. Dorm life is like living in public, basically. Doors are always open. Do with that what you will.
35. There's a No Frills far down Alma street (I heard there's a smarter way to get there than I use) and they are cheaper than Safeway. Also- Safeway is only a good deal if you have a card, and the card is free!
36. Granville stop on the 99- you'll find a Chapters bookstore here. Great store!!
37. Go to Grouse mountain! It's pretty.
38. Get your textbooks EARLY. Because they don't stock enough of them, and the bookstore is closed Sundays. (I know, right? It's so stupid).
39. Having your own printer is extremely useful! However, if you opt not to (I advise against this, but whatever) there is one at the library across from the SUB. You will need a printing card. There is one printer for everyone in the computer room (AKA the Harry Potter room- looks like Hogwarts in there!)
40. Buchannan buildings are like those moving staircases in Harry Potter. Extremely confusing. Leave extra time to get to classes there- you may get lost
41. Arts advising is in the Buchannan D building, I believe. Bug them with schedule stuff. They also schedule counselor drop-in.
42. Microwave locations: Buch D AMS "lounge" (you can sleep here), Geography building (can sometimes sleep here. Nice couches- but limited supply).
43. Your RA will be so super nice. Seriously, I can basically promise that. I had two, and both were so sweet!
44. Do things with your floor. Join the random group of people in the house lounge. They're friendly! Also, signs are posted on your floor with things to do.
45. The gym at the rez does not have an elleptical. It has a treadmill. If you workout a lot- the bird coop, next to the SUB, is $25 per semester. They have a lot of machines, but peak times (most times), it's very busy. There are lockers, or cubbies. Still a cool gym though.
46. You won't need much food-related stuff, but you will need: microwavable coffee mug (or two), paper plates if you plan to reheat stuff, plastic spoons/forks, popcorn, reusable water bottle, if you get tea remember to get sugar too, tuperware. Sounds like a complete list.
47. When doing laundry, set a timer in your room! The laundry room is in the basement. If you don't get down there as your clothes are finished in the washer or dryer, someone WILL most times just dump them on top of the dryer/washer.. or on the floor. It happens. Frequently. Also, washers and dryers suck, particularly the dryer, doesn't dry at all! Leave time for double cycles. And laundry takes like, 2 hours, FYI. Also, people HATE it when you do it past like, 10PM. So don't.
48. The Pendullum has good quesadillas, but they don't take the mealcard. The Chinese food place across from them is good, no mealcard. The burger place, where you order through the window in the wall, is good. Blue Chip Mountain Co or whatever, is good (but don't steal someone's travel mug like I did. Oops. Sorry, person!). I hear the bagel place is great. (none of those places take the mealcard). Across from the outpost, where you can buy stamps and get a PO box and there's a mini post office.
49. Movie theatre in the SUB- so awesome! Shows new movies after they're released, super cheap, popcorn, nice people work there, usually few people show up!
50. Talk to me! I already love you. And, as you can probably already tell, I love talking to people.

So, there's 50 tips for how to make UBC awesome for you.

Also, it's now 1:04 AM. College has made me a vampire. (PS- you won't get tan at UBC).


  1. Hey! Thanks for the post, it was really informative.

    I have one question: as an international exchange student from Germany I have never been to UBC.

    I have a worklist with quite a few courses back to back - Math, Chemistry and Physics. is 10 minutes enough to get to each class? I do not anticipate bringing a bicycle, but am moderate at running.

    Thank you,
    R. Hammerschmidt

  2. AHHHH!!!!

    I was the one who did your survey last year, and reading this blog post makes me really really really happy.

    Thanks so much for these tips, I never expected 50 of them!!!!

    By the way, I'm in the middle of course registration, and I honestly can't decide on a major.

    Oh, and to the R. Hammerschmidt comment, I suggest you find out which building your courses are in, then look at a map and consider whether or not you'll have time to go between buildings. My worklist is full of courses back to back, but they're all in one group of buildings.


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