The Critic Guide to Relaxing Around Campus

The Critic Guide to Relaxing Around Campus

The life of a student is a life of stress. Countless classes, assignments and exams will all get the better of us sooner or later. Things are hard sometimes. That’s why you deserve to take a minute to sit with your friends and kick back. There are lots of places around Uni that can help you chill out for a while.

Here’s a guide to some of the best and worst locations around campus to just sit and relax.


East Lane

Whoever designed East Lane seemed to have thought of it as a hip and happening spot for the youth to hang out and drink coffee. In reality this strange hallway serves only as a slightly faster route to escape campus.

East Lane features a number of comfortable couches and a rather jazzy coffee stall. The couches are cosy, but unfortunately they’re bright red. This means that every strand of hair or drop of coffee that falls upon the cushions is incredibly visible. It’s not awful, but it ruins the mood a little.

The coffee stall does bring the vibe up with its delightful aroma. However, the mood is brought crashing back down every time somebody actually orders a coffee and the machine screams as it pours liquid out.

Is this a relaxing spot? It’s not great, but can be a great haven on a rainy day.


The Trees Outside Burns

These trees are a hotspot for smokers who like to disobey No Smoking signs, and students waiting to meet their friends. The bench is comfortable, and not a bad place to sit for a while. The trees and flower gardens breathe a bit of fresh air into an otherwise grey spot.

The downside to this area is the nearby road. The sound of constant cars and occasional buses pollutes this otherwise calm area. A loading bay across the footpath also creates some occasional noise, as do the many students coming to park their motorcycles and mopeds.

Is this a relaxing spot? If you can get past the constant road noise, then yes. This is a fairly chilled out place for a quick break.


The Stairs by the Leith

Just outside St Dave’s is a wonderful wide area that’s ideal for taking some time out. Food can be easily accessed from the café or vending machines inside St Dave’s. The many stairs and ledges provide plenty of seating; even on the busiest days you’ll be able to find some privacy here.

However, the main attraction of this space is the Leith itself. The river provides two wonderful ingredients that mix together into a relaxation fix unlike any other on campus.

The first key feature is the sound. The soothing sound of the current drones out all of the foot traffic or conversation coming from the path above, making it a calm escape from the masses.

The second feature is the ducks. Most people can agree that ducks are very cool. The Leith ducks are very friendly, and don’t mind taking a cute wee nap just a few feet away from you. Some of them will fly about the area looking for food, while others will dive under the water to try and catch themselves a tasty morsel. Either way these handsome birds will provide you and your friends with plenty of talking points as you sit and take in the sun. The only downside to this spot is occasionally a gang of seagulls will come and skulk about.

Is this a relaxing spot? Yes (unless you hate birds).


Outside the Museum

As one of the largest areas of uninterrupted grass near central campus, this is an ideal location for those on a relaxing lunch break. Large trees provide ample protection from the sun, and a place to lean our backs.

With Re:Burger and Rob Roy dairy just across the intersection, and a churros cart frequenting the area, this the default space for those looking for a peaceful place to enjoy some unhealthy feel-good food. The only things bringing the mood down here are the roads on three sides of the area, making for a rather busy orchestra of background noise.

Is this spot relaxing? Yes.


The Grass Beside the Leith Construction Workers

This area is a prime example of unused potential. Downriver from Burns is a quaint little patch of grass next to a parking lot. It has a small fence that makes for a nice seat. It looks like a classic wholesome hangout area for a small group of friends.

Unfortunately, there’s a goddamned digger working throughout the day right beside it. Large temporary construction fences block the view into the Leith, and to top it all off, a children’s playground sits adjacent to this area. If you’re not listening to the sound of a digger clearing away rock, then you’ll be hearing either young children screaming, or burly men shouting.

I asked a passing student his opinion on the area, to which he replied “This area’s pretty shit. It might look nice once it’s done, but I’ll probably graduate before that happens”.

Is this a relaxing spot? No. Maybe in a few years.


The Grass Outside Campus UBS (also known as Union Lawn)

This is everybody’s favourite spot to enjoy a good dumpling. What’s remarkable about this spot in particular is the amount of seating diversity in one area. You have the more sociable concrete ledges, you have the cluster of trees blocking out the sunlight, and you have the memorial bench all the way at the back.

The concrete is a fine place for a quick pit stop. Sit with your mates and enjoy some Chinese crepes straight after class. You’ll have a good time. The grass is maintained regularly, making it a hospitable place to sit and enjoy some shade. The bench down the back is the ultimate convenient escape. It’s almost always free in mornings and afternoons and it’s so far away from the foot traffic that it’s no longer an issue. This location has it all, ranging from social eating place to impenetrable zen fortress.

Is this spot relaxing? Absolutely. Take a minute to sit next time you go past.

This article first appeared in Issue 5, 2019.
Posted 11:07pm Thursday 21st March 2019 by Wyatt Ryder.