7 Tips for Finding Your Way Around Campus

I remember my first day at UVic. It was five years ago, and I was finally back at school after taking a break to work. I stepped on campus and I remember thinking to myself “how am I ever going to find my way around? This place is HUGE!!!”

I was concerned that I would never find my classrooms. I was worried I would get lost immediately. I knew that I would never remember how to get back to the bus. Campus seemed so big to me!

But before I knew it I discovered that campus really wasn’t that big! It became easy to find my way around. A lot of new students tell me that they are worried they will never be able to find their way to class, or that campus feels so big, and I know exactly how they are feeling, because I felt that way too! But believe me when I tell you that you will figure it out before you know it. I’ve been there. So here are my seven tips for figuring out how to get around campus, and conquering that feeling of “this place is huge!”

1. Take a walk.

Just stroll around campus for a little while, and maybe keep a note of some landmarks so you recognize them when you pass them again. It will make this place seem a lot smaller!

We are lucky to have such a beautiful campus – it’s almost like walking around a park! Take half an hour or so and wander around, take some pictures, and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.

(Not on campus yet? Take the virtual tour to get a feel for it.)

Who wouldn’t want to take a walk around this gorgeous campus?!

2. Find out where your classes are before the first day.

If you check your detailed timetable, you will be able to see where your classes are located.

The buildings will be abbreviated (for example, CLE instead of Clearihue), but you can find a list of buildings here, where you can also print off a campus map.

If you already know where you are going before classes start, you will be a lot less anxious about finding your way there on day one.

Check out this gorgeous campus map!

3. Pop by the Welcome Centre.

The wonderful staff at the Welcome Centre, located in the University Centre, will be happy to point you in the right direction! They can provide campus maps, helpful hints, and a smile!

The Welcome Centre is just so…welcoming!

4. Ask someone.

People around UVic are super friendly, and most are more than happy to point you in the right direction if you ask. Some faculty and staff even wear “Ask me” buttons!

I remember standing in the middle of campus with a list of my classes in one hand and a map in the other, trying my hardest to find my way to one of my classes, when someone tapped me on the shoulder and asked if I needed directions.

I helplessly pointed to the building code on my class schedule and said “What even is ECS?” That friendly person let me know that ECS is the engineering and computer science building, and even walked there with me so I wasn’t late for class! You may also find some tents around campus during the first few days of the semester to help point you in the right direction (and maybe to hand out treats).

5. Use your phone.

Google Maps has all the buildings on campus marked off, so it’s an easy way to figure out where you are going! We also have signposts around campus pointing to buildings and important landmarks, so you can be confident in your directions.

How awesome is Google Maps?

6. Ask your CL.

If you are going to be living in residence, asking your community leader where to go is a great idea! They are experienced students who already have at least one year at UVic under their belts, so they can definitely point you in the right direction.

7. Get lost.

Look for signs around campus pointing you in the right direction

Now, this seems rather counter-intuitive, but I found that getting myself lost on purpose helped me really get to know campus!

The day before classes start is a great opportunity for this, or really any day when you don’t have any commitments. Plan to get lost on campus, and spend your time walking around without any pressure! Once you do find your way back to a place you recognize, you will be much more confident in your ability to find your way around in the future!

So, those are my tips! Good luck finding your way around, and don’t forget – campus will feel much smaller once you’ve figured it all out! I believe in you!

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