The Martlet’s Survival Guide to UVic

Illustration by Emily Thiessen
Illustration by Emily Thiessen

Places to study on campus, ranked

Being a new student at UVic introduces you to a flurry of new things, especially if you’re living on campus. There’s new people to meet, Vikes games to cheer at, icebreaker games to awkwardly take part in, and bus routes to figure out. But at the end of the day, we’re all here for one thing: getting an education. Unfortunately, this requires studying: Lots and lots of staring at books, computer screens, and eventually the floor, as you start to collapse from the stress. But let’s not get carried away. The whole point of a university campus is to provide students with a learning environment where you can prepare for tests, papers, and projects. Here is a list of seven different study spots, ranked from worst to best.


First off, everyone studies differently. Some people prefer background noise while they hit the books, and others need absolute silence. However, the SUB can be insane during a regular school day. Crazed, hungry students running back and forth with their food come at you from all angles. The food stations explode with sounds of sizzling food and whirring blenders. EVERYONE IS TALKING. Seriously, there are dozens of better places to study than this.


A campus pub doesn’t exactly seem like an ideal place for studying, but Felicita’s isn’t as bad as you might think. Going here in the middle of the day can provide a chill atmosphere, and background noise lovers will feel pretty comfortable while reading. And who wouldn’t love beer and appies while memorizing facts? The downside is it’s not the best place to study at night, since karaoke and other events create plenty of distractions.

Your bedroom

This may seem like an obvious answer to some. You’re cut off from the outside world, your bed and snacks are an arm’s length away, and you can study in your underwear if you’re into that. But with being close to all your stuff comes all your distractions as well: Netflix, phone calls with your hometown friends and family, and the allure of your comfy bed. And, if you have a roommate, things can get tense if you have different ideas of how you want to spend your night. I recommend keeping your schoolwork out of your place of relaxation.


This is a go-to for coffee lovers. The smell and atmosphere of the BiblioCafé is a welcome feeling for many students. It gets quieter and less busy as the day wears on, and you have the entire library right next door. The only downsides include lack of seats and plugs for your laptop, as well as the constant danger of someone spilling coffee on your MacBook.

Clearihue Building

Clearihue is one of the few buildings on campus that is open late. The building is packed with empty classrooms that, outside normal class time, you and your study buddies can grab and be as chatty or as quiet as you want. The place definitely takes on a gloomy atmosphere at night though, and I would never suggest someone spend several hours in an empty classroom alone. It’s definitely a solid bet if you need some isolation, but if you start talking to yourself and writing threatening messages on the chalkboards, you need to scoot. Also, good luck finding an empty classroom during exam time. The building fills up fast.

McPherson Library

Duh! What else is this place for? Okay, besides finding a book. The McPherson Library is the classic UVic study spot, with group study sections (2nd floor), computers (main floor), and quiet cubicles (basement and 3rd floor). Most cubicles have their own plug, and everyone is pretty respectful of the noise level. Get there early during exam season though. The place becomes an absolute zoo, filled with manic, angry students taking every seat possible.

Law Library

The Diana M. Priestly Law Library is THE place to go if you want absolute silence in your study time. Do not come here to study with your friends, unless you’re booking a study room. While visiting, I once stubbed my toe and yelped in pain, and everyone looked at me like I slapped their grandmother. Also, don’t forget that it is a LAW library, and Law students have first dibs in this building. Be respectful of the students around you.

Public places to sleep on campus, ranked

This spring’s reno of the Human and Social Development (HSD) building foyer brings a disturbing change to campus. By replacing upwards of eight well-worn couches with large, collaborative work tables, the university has quietly done away with some of the most desireable nap real estate on campus. Human beings might be 90 per cent water and ten per cent collaborative work ethic, but university students are just 1:1:1 coffee:Netflix:sleep, so recklessly destroying such an important and limited resource as a place that always had at least one couch free is obviously a covert act of war against students.

As a new member of the Can-Afford-Tuition-And-Stayed-Up-All-Night-Watching-Brooklyn-Nine-Nine-And-Just-Quit-Coffee-And-Has-Forty-Minutes-To-Spare socioeconomic class, you might feel you deserve — no, are downright entitled to — a place to snooze on those long, on-campus days. For those who do, it is time come together to stick it to The Couch-Removing Man. To help you join the cause, I have worked with one-woman organization Sleep Tourism UVic (me), and a real-life campus naptivist (also me), to compile this list of some remaining snoozespots on campus. Go forth and nap, my gender non-specific siblings in arms. United we sleep!

McPherson Library, 3rd floor mezzanine, random corner of the floor 

“The work-study student who found me was very concerned. Also, my back hurt. DO NOT RECOMMEND. 1/5 Z’s.”

David Lam Auditorium lobby

“The couch was uncomfortably small, the space large and strange and echoey. This is probably what it would feel like to sleep in the Portal labs. The nap is a lie. 2/5 Z’s.”

McIntyre Theatre lobby

“I blended in well here because I can pass for a theatre student, and theatre students pretty much always need a nap. The lobby was busy but the stepped floor made for a spacious, carpeted bed. Either a perk or a drawback, I awoke to someone reciting Mamet. 2/5 Z’s.”

Bob Wright Centre foyer

“Since the tragic loss of the HSD foyer, this is the only place I have successfully nabbed a couch during the midmorning rush. However, it’s also the place I’ve received the most dirty looks from strangers. 3/5 Z’s.”

Hickman Building floor

“There were 40 or 50 students waiting for class to let in, and it totally looked like I was one of them. I used my backpack for a pillow and huddled against a wall. Hickman has beautiful natural lighting and a great peaceful ambience so even though I woke up 15 minutes later when everyone shuffled into lecture, I felt deeply refreshed. 4/5 Z’s.”

David Turpin Building, A-wing, lower floor

“Another space with great lighting and atmosphere. I claimed one of the orange couches in the sitting area, but there are plenty of other suitable nooks, crannies, and flat surfaces here for the undiscriminating sleeper. This space might be too busy during peak times, but this particular afternoon, it was nearly empty. 4/5 Z’s.”

The quad on sunny days

“This was the sole spot where I was not the only person visibly trying to sleep. I did not really sleep here though, because this cute frisbee player kept nearly hitting my head. Still, I did meet a cute frisbee player. 4/5 Z’s.”

Cornett Building, any C-wing study room

“Snooze mecca! The napping North Star! This was my best on-campus nap since the HSD foyer. No one else was here in the late afternoon, and I slept soundly for over an hour. There was even a little drool spot on my coat liner. I felt fantastic. The vinyl couch made the sound of farting rainbows. 5/5 Z’s, would recommend!”

Sleep at home because you are better than me

“5/5 Z’s and you can screw right off.”

Places to eat on campus

There was a time at UVic when bunnies ran rampant across the campus. While the lean, skittish survivors scarcely resembled their docile counterparts, a starving student may have once been tempted by these fluffy sources of protein scampering just outside their dorm. And while a guide on how to capture and cook a UVic rabbit could once be found on the Internet, today one can no longer rely on these scarce rodents as a reliable food source. Luckily, there are other options for your survival at UVic.

Munchie Bar

Bar none the best coffee and pastries on campus. Just coming out of renovations, you can find their fresh new look in the Student Union Building. Their croissants are flaky and fresh, and their espresso is hand-tamped and pulled — nothing resembling the turn and burn BiblioCafé varieties.


Offers the best in customizable lunch options. If you’re a picky eater and want your wrap or sandwich just so, here’s the spot for you. Open to more than just the Education Department, Mac’s is found in the MacLaurin building and set up Subway-style. Watching your sandwich (or wrap) artist work, you might learn a thing or two about how much food you can stuff inside one small tortilla.


If you’re willing to brave the airport-like halls of the Mystic Market, Berries offers the solution to that sweet tooth craving. With a selection of real island-made gelato and fresh waffles, you can’t go wrong indulging in a little bit of dessert.

Grad House

If you’re looking for a real sit-down meal, the Grad House is arguably the best option. And despite the misleading name, you don’t have to be a graduate student to eat there. Whether you’re looking for the classier options found in their Study Group Platter — including house-made chorizo! — or the happy-hour special including a burger and a beer for $8 every Monday after 5 p.m., it’s an all around great pub.


If you’re looking for an early start — or breakfast for dinner — Basecamp, found at Mystic Market, is a surprisingly good and thrifty option. Basic breakfast options abound, but if you’re looking to indulge, the grilled cinnamon bun is always a great way to start the day.

Community Cabbage Project

While the bunnies may no longer be around to provide sustenance for those thrifty students, there are still options available. The Community Cabbage project offers free lunch most Fridays using mostly “rescued” food. For those on the fence, it’s much more than food from a dumpster, as they managed to produce some very tasty dishes last year.

Of course, for the really adventurous amongst you, deer are becoming an increasing problem on campus . . .