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Kaitlyn Holbein, a fourth-year English literature student, provides upper year advice to new students about the best places to check out and the various services that are offered on campus. 


Dear new incoming students,

Welcome to Carleton University! I hope that you are ready for a really exciting and stimulating four years!

As a fourth-year English Literature major, I wanted to write specifically about things that new students should know about campus. As I was writing this, I wanted to specifically touch on what I would have liked to know about campus when I was an incoming first year.  I spoke with some of my friends and co-workers at Carleton to try to come up with some really useful information that will probably change your life at Carleton forever, or at least help make your first year go a little more smoothly! Here are some of the common questions about campus, and my answers to them:

Where are the best spots to go on campus in between classes?

There are some really amazing places around Carleton where students can hang out and study. One of my favourite spots, in fall and late spring, is right down by the Rideau River at the end of Campus Avenue. There are loads of picnic benches right along the water, as well as a little alcove of picnic tables right beside Nesbitt. It’s a really peaceful and relaxing place to get some work done. The MacOdrum Library is also a place that I frequent quite often. When studying or working I like to sit up on the fifth floor (a silent floor), preferably by a window. When hanging out with friends, the Learning Commons (second floor) or fourth floor are both great spaces. However, during the 2012-2013 academic year there will be ongoing construction, so it may not be as peaceful as usual. There will be other designated silent areas though throughout the school to compensate. It’s also worth noting that students are allowed to make use of any unoccupied classrooms to study in, when there are no lectures or anything occurring there. My other favourite place to study is up on the top floor of Azrieli Theatre right next to the floor-to-ceiling windows. For hanging out with friends, there is always Rooster’s or the booths in Loeb Building. That being said, there are really a multitude of little spots all across campus and I’m sure that you won’t have a problem stumbling across them as you move from class-to-class. Most students end up picking a few favourites that they rotate between.

Where can I go on campus to get help, if I need any?

Moving from high school to university is a big change. A lot of students find themselves needing a bit of guidance, but not knowing where to go for it.  In September, before classes get too busy, it’s a great idea to visit Learning Support Services, on the fourth floor of the Library. They offer a ton of great workshops on different study skills that can get you off to a really strong start at university. They also offer a Writing Tutorial Service for FREE (!!!) that allows students to get help with essay-writing. Students are paired with an upper-year or graduate student who helps them shape their paper for 50 minutes per session. There is also a Tutor Referral Service for specific courses, which operates out of LSS, but it does cost $10-14/hour to make use of this. The Academic Advisors at the Student Academic Success Centre (SASC) can help students pick the right courses for their program requirements. SASC is located on the 3rd floor of Tory Building, right down the hall from the Registrar’s Office. The Registrar’s Office offers help in the summer and early fall for students who are having trouble registering for their courses. Lastly, if you are in need of psychological help, there are counseling services available in residence as well as in the Carleton Technology and Training Centre (CTTC), which is located next to the Athletics complex.

Where are the best places to buy food on campus?

This question really depends on a number of factors, such as class locations and accommodations. For instance, I personally love eating at the Fresh Food Company in Residence Commons. The food is delicious and there is always a wide range of choices to suit individual needs and tastes. However, I don’t go there too often during the academic year because my classes are all closer to the quad. For residence students, though, it does make a lot of sense to use this venue. Because I’m so far away from residences, I usually buy from the University Centre food court, or the Loeb Building cafeteria. Both locations have a variety of choices such as salads, pizza, pasta, sandwiches and lots of other choices. However, there are also a lot of cafés  and coffee shops that sell some great food in addition to their beverages. Rooster’s is my personal favourite, as they have omelettes, salads, soups and wraps at a really great price point. Rooster’s is owned by the Carleton University Student’s Association (CUSA), so a lot of the proceeds do go back to supporting different clubs and societies at Carleton! There are also five Tim Horton’s on campus (Residence Commons,  Floor  1 and 4 University Commons,  River Building,  and Athletics), as well as Starbucks (University Centre) and Second Cup (Canal Building). There are also three sit-down options in the University Centre – Oliver’s Pub, Mike’s Place and Baker’s- and they are all great spots to grab a delicious bite to eat between classes. A hidden gem, most frequented by Engineering students, is Leo’s on the third floor of Mackenzie Building, which is reputed to be the cheapest place on campus to grab good, although it does have different hours and not as much selection. Lastly, you can always carry your own lunch around or store it in a rental locker (rented for $24/academic year through Parking Services), or make use of the microwaves located on the bottom floor of the University Centre next to Tim Horton’s, in Leo’s in the Mackenzie Building or on the bottom floor of Loeb.

I hope that these questions and answers gave you some ideas about where to go and what to do on campus. If you have any additional questions or concerns relating to where to go on campus, please do not hesitate to get in touch by leaving a comment under this post.

Best of luck in your campus explorations!

Submitted by Kaitlyn Holbein, a fourth-year English literature student.

To help find your way around campus, download the Carleton Campus map.

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