04 Jul Queen’s University Academics
You’re paying big bucks to be here at Queen’s. You worked your ass off to get here and likely you’ll have to work fairly hard to stay here.
Add to that a desire to have a dazzling social, sex, and extracurriclar life and you’ve got a lot to look after.
You have to make your time here count. It’s not hard to have a great work / play balance. In fact, it’s what makes Queen’s so great. People here know how to work hard and play even harder.
Granted, working hard really is only half the battle. You have to know what you are getting yourself into. Getting a 90% average in PoliSci just ain’t going to happen – but it’s one of the most rewarding programs of study at Queen’s. In the mood for studying and headed to the second floor of Stauffer Library? Think again.
Go into your education at Queen’s armed with the advice of upper years. Your education here isn’t all about courses and grades and midterms. It’s about learning how to live on your own and how to create interesting new relationships.
Like it or not, you’ll be spending a fair bit of your time at Queen’s studying, and sometimes your ghetto house with eight million distractions just doesn’t cut it. We’ve compiled a list of some of the greatest spots on and off to campus to study.
The Common Ground
Otherwise known as CoGro, Common Ground is more than just your average study stop. Here you can enjoy a number of coffee-based beverages, along with smoothies, iced teas, and Italian sodas. They also have sandwiches (recommended: the Ham, Apple, Cheddar) and cake- really, really good cake. Located on the second floor of the JDUC, Common Ground has ample space filled with comfy sofas and armchairs, along with regular tables. It can certainly get noisy and rowdy here, but you are likely to bump into classmates who you can woo classnotes for say, the price of a Peachy Queen’s smoothie.
Fireside Reading Room
Located on the second floor of Stauffer Library is a big room filled with large oak tables and warm fireplaces. Honestly, why would you study anywhere else? The room looks out over the corner of Union and University and is a picture perfect spot for studying. It can be hard to find a table in here, especially if you want a whole one to yourself. So go early and stake a claim.
The Sleepless Goat
Located at 91 Princess Street, the Sleepless Goat, or just ‘the goat’ as regulars call it, is a workers cooperative coffee house serving up affordable fair trade coffees, desserts and vegan fare. They showcase local art on the walls and have lots of tables and chairs.
Starbucks at Johnson & Division
This Starbucks is one of the nicest coffee shops I have ever seen, as it is located inside a beautiful, old limestone building- something that was well incorporated into the store’s design. Here you will encounter the usual Starbucks fare, free wireless, and many, many students. This is a good place to study in the evenings, and is always a great place to enjoy an overly complicated drink while surfing the Internet.
Coffee and Company
Located directly across the street from the Johnson and Division Starbucks is Coffee and Company, a local chain. The selection is fairly wide here, and prices are moderate. The chai latte is well worth trying. Coffee and Co. has another location downtown at Princess and King that is far more elaborate has a good number of tables and chairs, plus the staff doesn’t mind if you stay for hours.
The Grad Club
A bar and music venues in the evenings, the Grad Club is an overlooked spot to get some daytime studying done. It’s a huge old mansion right on campus on the corner of Barrie and Union and has three floors filled with nooks and crannies for studying in. They have a limited lunch menu and cheap drinkings that flow all day long. So if that Pot Shard labelling is getting you down, just grab a tall one.
For some reason or another my favourite study spot is the Starbucks in the Indigo on Princess. Located on the top floor of Indigo there’s a small Starbucks with lots of seating and a great view of Princess street. Sure it’s nothing special, but the atmosphere is really great. They pack lots of little tables into a small space, so you are always bumping, literally, into a friend or a friend of a friend or a classmate. Plus, you are welcome to browse the selection of books at Indigo for inspiration or those well earned study breaks!
Queen’s certainly offers some of the most stimulating and challenging courses out there; the majority of the courses I’ve taken at Queen’s were tough. However, there exists a certain batch of courses that are so hard to fail it’s nearly impossible. Read on …
Physics 020 (Physicists in the Nuclear Age): Aside from being, bar none, the easiest course I’ve ever taken at Queen’s, PITNA was a fabulous course. Boris, the prof, is well spoken, bright, and funny, and he makes the lectures fascinating. Now, I’m not sure how great this courses is going to look on your transcripts, but a 96% beside Pysics 020 can’t look that bad. C’mon, it’s ‘science’. Anyway, the course sort of delves into great physics minds of the 20th century and makes for some great dinner party conversations. If you’ve got the spare time take this course without hesitation. Everyone enjoys it.
Film 250 (Fundamentals of Production): In order to take this class you need to have Film 110, which most kids take in first year (it sounds easy, I mean you watch movies right?). Anyway, FIlm 110 is not a bird course. It’s not the hardest class there is, but it doesn’t fit into this category. Anyway, after 110 you have a wealth of film courses open to you. If you like being bored out of your skull and want an easy A, take Film 250. I guarantee you will learn next to nothing, make a short film, and walk away with a boosted GPA. Word of the wise, this is the most painfully slow moving class I have encountered. Take it in the summer session if you can, as the class hours are dramatically cut.
Health 131 (Basic Human Nutrition): This may have been the most useful course I took during my time at Queen’s – and it’s certainly up there with the least, err, challenging. After taking this course I walked away with a greater understanding of the human body, I knew how to eat well, and I got an A. The work load is light, very light. I took the course by correspondence in the summer and still managed a month long backpacking stint in Europe in the middle of the class. So, if you are at all interested in nutrition, calories, weight loss, or just general good health, take this course.
Queen’s has some amazing libraries, their collections are immense and their architecture stunning at times. Chances are you’ll be spending a fair amount of your time at Queen’s holed up in a study carrel here, paying your overdue book fees, or frantically tracking down that required reading.
Food is allowed in the libraries in small quantities, and don’t think about bringing in your curry from last night. Use commmon sense and bring in small, quiet study foods. Drinks can be brought in so long as they are sealable. Additionally, there are a few vending machines with pop, candies, gum, and random stationary. Plus, you are never more than a few meters away from an on campus coffee shop!
There are ample photocopy machines available, you just need to buy a copy card, and in most libraries there are after-hour check outs, in case you desperately need that John Berger book at 2am.
All libraries are now equipped with wireless internet as well as ethernet ports and it’s handy to bring your laptop along. I’ve even left my powerbook unattended for hours at a time and had no problem with theft.
Affectionately known as Club Stauff, Stauffer is the place to see and be seen on campus. People often ‘dress up’ to study, err people watch, here. Because of, or despite of this (depending on which way you swing), Stauffer is a great library. It’s new, clean, and is an overal great facility.
The higher you go the quieter it gets, and the easier it is to hear those annoyingly frantic msn converstaions your carrel buddy is engaged in. During exams it can be hard to find a spot, even ONE spot, so stake your claim early.
The wealth of resources here is tremendous. They have a great art library on the third floor and a fairly deep online journal database as well. Don’t forget to check out the Fireside Reading Room where you can cram the night away infront of a crackling fire.
Hours at Stauffer are good, especially during exam time when it stays open until 2.
Douglas is the Engineering and Science library, and it’s where the medium to hard core studiers go. You don’t have to get dolled up to go here. In fact, if you walk in in stillettos you’ll probably be dragged out. Douglas has a sweatpants or Eng jacket only rule, unwritten, but it’s there.
Don’t attempt to eat, chew gum, or make a peep, as hard core Eng Chem kids are dealing with life and death finals, and that girl in your Children Lit course thinks that if she doesn’t finish Harry Potter by 10pm the world will end. You know the type? If you are in the mood to get some serious studying done, go here, you’ll either produce a set of killer cue cards or die of boredom.
The top floor of Douglas is stunning. There are stained glass windows that let beams of light in and old wood bookshelves that bring to life all your ivy league fantasies.
The rule with Douglas is, the further down underground you go, the quieter it gets.
The Law Library
To be honest, I’ve never studied here. In fact, I can count the number of books I took out at university on both my hands (shh). However, I do know that this place to get lots done, and also pick up a cute law student if you are so inclined.
This is the health sciences library and is a smaller and quieter library than the others. It’s located in Botterell Hall on Stuart Street and provides a great escape from the frantic Stauffer and Douglas crowds.
Kingston Frotenac Public Library
The town library at 130 Johnson Street is another good bet to get lots done and to be able to take out fun books. It didn’t dawn on me until third year that there are no fluffy fun books to read on campus. If you are in the mood for a good thriller or even something remotely non-academic you have to buy it at Indigo, or else come here.
There’s a small cafe in the Kingston Frotenac Public Libary that serves nice snacks, the staff is friendly, and the clientel is refreshing. If you are getting stressed out with school, come study here and you’ll soon realize there’s more to life than that Bio-Chem midterm.
scholarships & funding
While most of us put some time and energy into applying for entrance scholarships before university, why do we all suddenly give up once we get here? The amount of money that Queen’s puts into bursaries and scholarhips is staggering – so get up off your ass and apply. If you work hard at it, you should make it through school footloose and debt free.
Your first stop on the scholarship hunt at Queen’s should be Gordon Hall (Room 225). There they have binders upon binders filled with external scholarships to apply for. Additionally, they post new and interesting scholarships on the wall. My first piece of advice is to simply apply. Far too many people are just too lazy, and that really helps YOUR odds.
Next scour the internet. Queen’s has a scholarship website that lets you download and print off applications to a few of it’s merit based awards. Don’t hesitate to apply for awards if you are going on exchange or on an off campus course, there is money set aside specifically for people like you. Also, there is a set amount of funding for student athletes, so if you are involved in a sport, make sure to apply.
Lastly, remember to try and keep your marks up. At Queen’s you are automatically considered for in course awards if you keep your grades up.
First of all, this is one of the easiest ways to score free money at Queen’s. If you are on OSAP or BCSAP or whereverSAP, then make sure to apply pronto. Or, if you were unable to get on a student loan but are still strapped for cash, then apply anyway. Remember, this money is there for those who need it, not for those who need a new Juicy Couture bag. So, fill out the online bursary application – it takes about fifteen minutes – and then wait for the magic to happen.
Don’t forget to check out the interest. There are lots of community organizations that give out bursaries each year. Many years large chunks of that funding goes unclaimed! Try your province’s home arts council, your parents place of employment, and any organizations that you volunteer time for.
Work study is another great source of funding. Essentially you sign up at the beginning of the year and once accpeted you then can apply for various on campus jobs. These are great for two reasons: 1) you get paid 2) you get work experience in your field of study or interst. During my time at university I was lucky enough to work in Student Recruitment. I gave tours, arranged open houses, and helped to recruit students for Queen’s. I can see myself pursuing a career in recruiting in the future, and it was a work study placement that gave me the insight.
While I’m sure you are familiar with provincial student loans, but did you know that if you have a student loan from the government you are eligible for a Canadian Millenium Bursary? These range from about $1000 – $5000 depending on your debt load and are 100% non-repayble. It’s free money, just for taking out a loan.
Another loan option is through your bank. They are called lines of credit, offer low interest, and you don’t have to pay them back until you are finished with school. Additionally, you don’t pay interest on the money until you’ve used it!
Queen’s itself also offers loans. They have short term loans for emergencies, as well as taxi assistance.