The pandemic has made for a strange summer, full of socially distanced picnics and tequila smelling hand sanitizer. Yet, somehow, these past five months have flown by and in a blink of an eye, we’ve traded hot, humid summer nights for brisk, breezed autumn mornings.

As the weather changes, so does the city of Kingston. Students flood back into the streets, filling up neighbourhoods and making houses, homes. For upper years, it is time to return to their previously unoccupied brick houses, restoring them with the constant chatter and laughter that usually fills the student ghetto. We are also welcoming Queen’s Class of 2024 onto our campus for the first time, and amidst the uncertainty of a global pandemic, they will be making our tricolour city their home.

However, as we ease into the early weeks of September, we’re confronted with the cold, hard, truth. School is starting, whether we like it or not.

Although this year feels different, looks different and is in all actuality, drastically different, some things will stay the same: essays will be due, tests will be crammed for, 8:30s will be missed, and all-nighters will be needed.

With undergrad comes constant trials and tribulations. But, don’t worry, MUSE readers, you don’t have to tackle this year alone!

We asked upperclassmen to share some of their most secretive tips, tricks and ultimate Queen’s hacks that have gotten them through undergrad. Although not all of these tips and tricks might apply to our online fall semester, they can be adapted or pocketed for a hopeful future where we rage at stages and have our bruschetta bagels in-person.


What are some of your best Queen’s hacks that have helped you throughout undergrad?


Befriend bartenders to get free coat check and drinks

Super cute and isolated study room in the top of Theo!!!

MacCory is a great place to study, as well as the top floor of the arc. The libraries get full super fast… so also check out the law library!

Grocery checkout is the best place to get study snacks!

If you have to read a book for a class that you really aren’t motivated to, download the audible version! Your first two books are free when you connect your account to the free 6 month amazon prime membership you get in first year.

I never tried this cause Covid got in the way of my plan but bring zap straps and small scissors to stages then zap steal ur coat to the rail (where other coats are typically piled) so it can’t be stolen easily lol

bring a big plastic bottle to Lenny and fill it up with cranberry juice for vodka crans

sneak in at the stages back door

crave and cogro are the best

order takeout and take it to the pier for a sunset dinner with blankets

go to the spot, you have to in first year

loco grilled cheeses and breakfast are pure gold

get your friends to save you seats in stauff

always hug the hug lady

buy a mini Xmas tree for your house

double up coats so only one person pays for coat check

Talk to people in your classes even if it feels weird at first

always dance at stages as much as you can and your hangover will be less bad

play flip cup in trinity with your empty dollar beers cups

silver wok is the best takeout Chinese food

May not be applicable this year, but often it’s quieter and less distracting studying in random empty classrooms on campus compared to the libraries. Also, the Tea Room in the ILC has delicious food & drinks. If you walk to class down Barrie/Clergy streets then Old Farm Fine Foods is just behind the parking lot for Dupuis/ILC/WalterLight and does a coffee card (10th coffee free) and has great fresh baked goods in the mornings too! Good for lunches as well.

Take full advantage of q medicine services, your student insurance covers a lot more than you think (physio, massages, dental)


You can sneak into a second floor JDUC room with your friends when their locked by using a skinny metal coat hanger! Great study spot during exams.

Make a tight group of friends you can rely on! Who you surround yourself with will have a huge impact on your success and happiness at uni!

Find a good bathroom on campus and then never tell anyone where it is.

The hot dog truck across the street from Dunning on Union has the most amazing fries you’ve ever tasted – Landmark 10 Cinemas is just a short drive/bus ride away from campus and has these crazy two person reclining seats… very good for a date

Some best Queen’s hacks would be: Checking RateMyProfessor before choosing any courses, making sure you don’t choose back to back classes that are on opposite sides of campus, try to make friends with people on your floor, faculty, and classes!

If you break your laptop or phone go to the top floor of the JDUC to the UBreakitWeFixit place! they are really inexpensive and nice!

In the winter when it gets really cold I like to wear two pairs of pants; one is long underwear and the other are regular pants. I’m from BC so the Ontario winters seem really cold and I found this was a way to stay warm and stylish!

Go to bars like the Brass or the Mansion for brunch – it is cheap and actually pretty decent hungover food!

Cogro cheddar bagel with top secret. That’s all.

What is one piece of advice you wish you knew in first year?


Good things take time, everything will work out in the end so don’t stress, just live in the moment and appreciate the present

Lenny brunch on Sunday’s are the BEST. Nothing beats those home fries.

Apply to so many clubs and follow them on social media! If you don’t get in to them or miss deadlines – message or email them and see if there are ways you can get involved. Don’t be discouraged, there are soooo many cool clubs and you probably think you won’t get the position, but tbh you probably will.

Meet as many people as you can, most people make most of their friends in first year! Don’t be afraid to make plans with people you’ve just met!

Try not to obsess over little mistakes because, truly, no one is thinking about you as much as you think they are.

It goes by way too quick, take lots of pictures and say yes to as much as you can (in a smart way LOL)

Everyone finds first year hard in their own ways. Literally everyone. They just aren’t telling you.

You can avoid long outdoor walks through campus by going through the underground parking garage

For girls – make a big box and put going out tops in it. bring all your boxes to one room when you and your housemates get ready and then it is easy to see ALL your options.

Do room crawls once you have your own house! they are so fun!

Go to the SHRC. I promise you it ISN’T WEIRD! I thought it was in first year but really they just have lots of really cheap products whether you want sex toys, lube or condoms, plus they have lots of information and are really nice. Embrace your sexuality – it’s undergrad!

If you live in Wally especially – big breakfast at Botterall. But go even if you aren’t in Wally.

You will make friends!! Try new clubs, go to as many and whatever new things you want to! You may not be super close with your floor, but you’ll definitely meet people in your classes and for sure if you join any clubs/sports/design teams/ etc where people have more common interests with you.

Partying isn’t the most important thing to your university experience.

Time FLYS, enjoy the good with the bad! Make the most of it.

Drinking is a marathon, not a sprint.

Not everyone meets their best friends in the first week of school. It’s okay to be lonely. It’s okay to miss high school. It doesn’t mean you “peaked” in high school, it just might mean you haven’t found the right group of friends yet. Just keep going.

Plan out your courses and schedules carefully in first year, make friends with people in other residences, don’t stress about not having a group of friends in your first week, you’ll have plenty of time to meet friends, and take care of your physical and mental health! Also, CoGro and the Jupiter are two great cafes to study/chill at with your friends!

So many students change their plans, take longer to graduate, fail things. It all works out in the end!

Get linkedin. It isn’t just a commerces thing and the earlier you get it, the more connections you get and the easier it makes it for yourself down the line.

CGC in the Mac Corry is SO delicious

Talk to your professors, it makes a huge difference!

Queen’s has a lot of resources – USE THEM! There are so many amazing extracurriculars to be a part of, work study positions to apply to and various sorts of certificates/courses you can take for free! There are so many opportunities to educate yourself and grow as a person on campus, but it is your job to go out there and find them!

Get the grilled chicken at loco, best TAM out there

if you find a snack on the ground you’re allowed to keep it and eat it usually


HEADER IMAGE SOURCE: @worry_lines – https://www.instagram.com/worry__lines/?hl=en (picture edited from “life” to “undergrad”)
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