Knowledge is power.

As a Humber student, there are so many little secrets I know now that I wish I knew during my first year. And if not for a little curiosity, and a lot of struggle, I might have never learned about them at all.

Now that the fall semester is officially underway, it’s time to share this wealth of knowledge with the newcomers at Humber College and the University of Guelph-Humber.

Here are 8 essential secrets all first-year students should know.


1. There’s free parking near Lakeshore campus

Front view of a car parked on the road.

Whether you purchase a parking pass or pay the daily rate, it’s expensive to park on any campus. If you can’t afford it, I have good news: there are plenty of residential streets around the Lakeshore area where you can park for free. I realized this during my second semester, and it saved me a lot of money. There’s a three-hour time limit though, so be careful not to get a ticket!

As for Humber North and Guelph-Humber students, the pickings are slim. If you weren’t able to score a parking pass this semester, you’ll have to fight for a place in the parking garage or purchase a pass to shuttle from Queens Plate Drive.


2. You can print assignments from your phone or laptop

An image being printed on paper.

If you didn’t know, every student gets $25 each semester for printing on campus. Most students use the desktops in the commons areas like libraries or the LRC to print assignments, which is fine, but that’s not as fast and convenient as printing from your phone or laptop.

Skip the hassle of using campus computers, and see for yourself.


3. Anyone can book meeting rooms for group projects

People conversing around a board room table with laptops open.

As a first-year student, I quickly learned that workspace for group projects was extremely limited. I noticed the meeting rooms in L and B buildings early on, but they were always in use by other students. I didn’t know how to book one for myself, so I just made do with whatever spot I could find in the commons or cafeteria areas. Major regrets. Booking a meeting room is easy, and so worth it. Just be sure to book your slot as far in advance as possible. They fill up fast!

This can be done at Lakeshore, North and Guelph-Humber campuses.


4. There are hidden study areas around campus

Female sitting against a bookshelf in a library and reading a book.

While there are plenty of designated places to study on campus, there are a lot of students who want to use them. You’ll often find the commons areas, cafeterias and libraries are full. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find a nook or cranny to call your own. At Lakeshore, try the quiet study room in the B building library (it’s tucked away, near the meeting rooms), or the loft-like workspaces on the 4th floor of G building.

At North, you can try your luck with the Hives, located on the 4th floor of the F Building. With over 4,700 sq. ft of study space, you’re sure to find a cozy spot to hit the books. In addition to the many nooks and study spaces in the LRC, North and UofGH students also have access to some of the study spaces at the newest building on campus, the Barett Centre for Technology and Innovation.

While UofGH students are welcome to take advantage of Humber study spaces, there are always a ton of empty classrooms at Guelph-Humber. Just be sure you’re out before 10 p.m. or security will ask you to leave. Kindly, of course.


5. Free garlic bread is a thing

assorted size sliced bread on table

This one hack is as little known as it gets. But the hard-core GH Cafe goers know. The GH Cafe is actually the only place on campus where you get free garlic bread with purchase of any soup or salad. So if you’re trying to stretch your dollar, this is one way to, quite literally, get that bread.

Free carbs? Count me in.


6. You can take a nap at the IGNITE Sleep Lounge

A puppy sleeping on a person's arm.

Your first year of post-secondary is one of the most exhausting times of your entire life. Between going to classes, completing assignments and holding down a job, it’s hard to get the rest you need. By second semester, I was napping in my car on a regular basis and it was pretty rough. I wish I knew about the IGNITE Sleep Lounge sooner.

It’s a quiet room with dim lighting and comfy chaise lounges where students can nap for up to an hour at a time. Located at KX204 at North campus and KB106 at Lakeshore, the Sleep Lounge is free for all Humber and UofGH students. Just bring your student card!


7. You can download Microsoft Office for free

Close up of a laptop keyboard.

Every Humber and UofGH student needs to know this: you can download Microsoft Office 365 for free. All you need is your school email address to confirm you’re a post-secondary student, and you’ll be cranking out assignments on Word, Excel, and PowerPoint in no time.


8. Media equipment rental perks

man wearing crew-neck shirt looking at digital camera with camera stabilizer

Calling all UofGH students: do we have any podcasters, designers, editors or photographers in the house? Well, skip the busy 3rd-floor Mac labs and try your luck at one of the more secret rooms at Guelph-Humber. Beside the 3rd-floor GH Print Lab is a small room complete with Mac computers and even a podcast room. No matter your program, all you need is a key from the Media Cage, also located on the 3rd floor.

Another bonus tip? Anyone can rent a camera with a Guelph-Humber student ID.

For more back-to-school content, check out these commuter tips to hack your ride to school.

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