Main Mall during a class change is like one of those time-lapse videos of Tokyo crosswalks, except more chaotic. It can be frustrating getting through crowds of people to make your next commitment.
It’s easy to adopt a “me versus them” attitude in this situation, but it’s important to stay patient and remember that we’re all on this big, beautiful campus together.
If we all do our part, we can make traversing Main Mall more bearable for everyone. Personally, I’ve decided to take my pain from years of dodging careening longboards and turn it into this guide. Here are some tips to help you figure out 4 of the busiest situations on campus:
Navigating Malls and halls
It can sometimes feel like you’ll never escape that group of slow walkers.
1. Keep it like the highways—slow traffic on the right, fast traffic on the left. If you’re shuffling along dreamily while you delight in the changing autumn colors, move to the right. Panicked Arts students rushing to Buchanan will be grateful.
2. Never stop on the sidewalk/in a hallway/on a staircase during a class change. If you see your buddy from first-year Residence and MUST compare how swole you’ve become since then, kindly take it somewhere else.
3. Open that second door. I always see crowds of people trying to funnel through one door when there’s two. It’s ok to go and open the door to spread the crowd out—be the black sheep!
Check out this article as well for a reminder on umbrella etiquette when you’re on campus!
Respectful cycling and skateboarding
While I want to encourage alternative modes of transportation, I also don’t want to get run over by your unicycle.
4. Consider dismounting. Yes, I know you want to get to class quickly. But riding your bike through a dense crowd of students is legitimately dangerous, and university is enough work without a lawsuit.
5. Get a bell. If I’m going to have to dive out of the way, I would appreciate some warning.
6. Travel on less popular routes. If you’re on wheels, consider taking some detours to avoid the crowds of people walking. You’re going faster anyway, so you’ll still save time.
Keeping lines moving
Waiting at some food locations on campus can seem as daunting as the line for Space Mountain at Disneyland.
7. Don’t cut (duh). Even if you have a friend near the front of the line, it’s really not fair for everyone else waiting. There is, unfortunately, no FastPass system at UBC (though if anyone wants to create that petition, I’m listening).
8. Know what you want. You have the time to pick, so be ready to order when you get to the front.
9. Stay alert. Line-ups are a great place to catch up on Instagram, but make sure you’re paying attention and know when a cashier is free to help you so you don’t slow things down.
Finding tables and seats
We’ve all had the experience of wandering around a library or a cafeteria for what feels like the length of the camping scenes in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
10. Share! You don’t need a 4-person table for yourself. There’s no requirement to become bosom buddies with the people you’re sharing with, but who knows, you could hit it off.
11. Don’t leave your things and vanish. Someone once asked me to watch their belongings in Koerner and they came back TWO AND A HALF HOURS LATER. They were lucky I was still there, but don’t hog a seat for that long. It’s very unfair to the people who are, you know, actually there.
12. Find an alternative. On nice days, I love eating my lunch outside instead of taking up room inside. Of course, this can be difficult in Raincouver, but explore the campus. There are tons of lesser-known spots to sit or study.
Bonus tip: Be kind!
As the modern classic High School Musical taught us: we’re all in this together. Be kind to everyone on campus, and understand that everyone probably feels the same frustrations that you do. No need to glare at someone for snagging the last seat in Irving—next time, your situations could be reversed. A friendly wave and a jaunty skip to the next library is much better.