by Karen Chen
Do you ever feel that the idea of “fun” in student life is centered around partying, joining clubs, and constantly being surrounded by your school community? Movies advertise the extroverted lifestyle – big school dances, crazy ragers, insane pep rallies, and dozens of smiling faces.
The truth is, it can all be a little intimidating at times. Maybe you prefer a quiet night in or value one-on-ones with friends. The good news is that your university experience can be equally as fulfilling and fun as an introvert. Here are a series of things you can do on campus to feel connected and involved!
1. Grab a drink from Blue Chip & hit the turf
Take advantage of these sunny days with the refreshing summer drinks from Blue Chip! Sitting on the turf and chatting with a friend is a great way to create a meaningful connection and get to that deeper level of connection with a friend. If you are in the mood for solo activity, catching a nap or diving into a good book is a great way to spend the afternoon as well!
Some of the yummy Blue Chip summer drinks are butterfly lemonade, iced green mint tea, strawberry matcha latte, and cookie smoothie (where you can choose your favourite Blue Chip cookie to blend).
2. Visit the various gardens on campus
There are so many gorgeous gardens on campus! They serve as a wonderful place to read, journal, or do a little photo shoot with a friend. Here are some must-sees:
- Nitobe Garden – you get free entry when you have your UBC card, this is a scenic place to relax and take pretty pictures!
- UCLL Bench – listen to the relaxing water of this serene location right beside the rose garden
- The fence behind the Museum of Anthropology – this is the loveliest place to catch sunsets! Be sure to bring some bug spray.
- Botanical Garden – this is also free entry with a UBC card, and they also have a TreeWalk suspended bridge that is $9 for students! It is so gorgeous when the flowers are in bloom.
- Rose Garden – the classic destination, sometimes you can catch graduation or wedding happening!
- Pacific Spirit Regional Park – a very refreshing and peaceful walk where you can find yourself immersed in nature and greenery. There are tons of trails to choose from of different lengths and sceneries!
3. Go museum-hopping and exploring around campus
Do you know how many hidden gems our campus has? I did not even realize we had this many museums until composing this list! Here they are, for a lovely solo educational day or sightseeing with a friend:
- Museum of Anthropology (MOA) – the classic! Check out all the different interesting cultural exhibits in the building across the rose garden—free entry for UBC students.
- Beaty Biodiversity Museum – beyond the whale skeleton lay rows upon rows of various animal models and cool facts about them. See them in action here! Free entry for UBC students.
- Hatch Art Gallery – this is in the Nest (2nd floor) and displays artwork from different students, switching out every couple of months. It’s also UBC’s only student-run exhibition space! Open weekdays from 12:00 – 4:00 PM.
- Visit all the Indigenous art on campus – As you walk around, read up on the stories behind the Indigenous art on campus.
- Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery – check out this interesting gallery with different featured exhibits. Free admission and tours are available and open on weekdays 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM and on weekends 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM.
- AHVA (Art History, Visual Art, & Theory) Gallery at the Audain Art Centre – this art gallery is located near the Ponderosa residences, hosting different artworks, lectures, and performances. Open on Tuesdays to Fridays from 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM.
4. Sit on the swing chair in the Nest and people watch
Simple as this sounds, it can be a ton of fun! The Nest has a series of study spaces on the west side of the building, where it is a lot more hidden from the open space and has plenty of peace and quiet. The swing chair faces MacInnes Field, where people are playing sports, reading, snoozing, or grabbing coffee with their friends.
Check out these other study spots in the Nest!
5. Exercise in a way that you enjoy
If going to the gym and hitting the weights is not your thing, no worries! There are many opportunities to exercise in ways that are fulfilling to you personally.
- Runs around campus – we are lucky to be on such a spacious campus, take advantage of it by drafting different routes and going for runs!
- Wreck Beach stairs – At 500 steps each way, be sure to stay hydrated, and do not forget to enjoy the views and greenery!
- Gym sessions at the ARC or the Birdcoop Fitness Centre – personally, I love the gym as a little bit of solo time away from everything. I just put in my headphones and get immersed in working towards a healthier version of myself. Going around noon usually ensures a gym that is not too packed!
- Fitness classes – did you know that when you purchase a UBC gym membership, group fitness classes are automatically included? This has everything from pilates, spin, HIIT, and boot camps to yoga – something for everyone and their different comfort levels! It is a great deal as well, and a place to potentially meet people of the same interest! Check out the full schedule of fitness classes.
- University Golf Club – are you a golf fan? The driving range is an awesome way to practice your sport, and you can receive incredible deals with your UBC student card.
- Ice Skating at Thunderbird Arena – as a UBC student, you receive free or discounted admission to so many places! Take advantage of that by booking free skating sessions (skate rentals cost extra, but are still discounted for UBC students).
- Swimming at the Aquatic Centre – use your UBC student card to book free swims at the Aquatic Centre (the late-night ones hit different).
I hope this list gives you a more comprehensive view of how to get more connected with the campus, and that you now have an activity in mind of what future activity to do. Have a wonderful rest of your summer!