Friday, 17 June 2016




            Hey friends! Welcome back to The Grad School Guide: a place where you can sit back, relax, and learn about all things related to the wonderful world of higher education. In the second edition of the 2016 guide, we’re going to talk about the best places on campus to eat and study: perhaps the two things that take up most of a grad student's time (other than classes, that is).

            I have always been a notorious and un-repenting “in-class eater” and I want to share the passion I have for food with all of you lovely readers. During my undergrad, I was known as “that girl who always eats during class” and my reputation has not changed as I have become older, and hopefully wiser, during the first year of my MMSt. This article also serves as an apology to anyone who has been stuck beside me during a lecture and had to listen to me masticating everything from a granola bar to a full-sized bowl of udon noodle soup.

           As we know, our good ol’ Faculty of Information is located in the Claude Bissell Building, connected to Robarts Library. We second years also know that as grad students, sometimes we feel like we don’t have time (even though we definitely do) to wander beyond the walls of this building (especially during the winter!) on our everyday quest for basic sustenance. Although our faculty has a library of its very own (the Inforum, located on the fourth floor), UofT has a whopping total of 44 libraries with copious amounts of resources and interesting study spots galore.

           With this article, I aim to introduce MMSt students, new and old, to spaces other than the Robarts cafeteria and the Inforum. Why? Because we all need to break out of our normal routines and change it up once in a while. If you want to cue up the song “Breaking Free” from High School Musical and play it while reading the rest of this article, now would be the time to do so.

Helping you lovely readers enjoy this article more than I presume you already are. Source.

            Together, we are about to embark on a journey towards curating the ideal grad school experience, outside of the classroom. So without further ado: let’s get to studeating (a portmanteau of studying and eating that I just made up for my own entertainment, and because I enjoy laughing at my own jokes way too much).

Gerstein Library
7 King's College Circle
Although this library is known as the “science and information centre,” it’s anything but a sterile environment. With glass enclaves that face directly onto Queen’s Park Crescent, this library can provide a quiet and serene study space for anyone who wants to study in a bit more of an anonymous setting and change it up from the chatty environment that the Inforum can often foster.

A view of one of the quiet study enclaves in Gerstein. Source.

John W. Graham Library at Trinity College
6 Hoskin Ave.
Another nice and quiet spot to indulge in a study session (sensing a theme here?), Graham Library is a great place to hunker down in a cubicle and seriously get your study on. Its beautiful early-19th century facade doesn't hurt either. I recommend taking a study break to contemplate your life choices in front of the reflective pool and fountain (!) at the front of the building, or at one of the tables outside in the courtyard.

A view of Gerstein and its reflective pool from the courtyard. Source.

Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport
100 Devonshire Place
I know what you're thinking: "studying at the gym? That's just nuts." Well I'm here to prove you wrong. Not only is Goldring a hip new athletic facility, it also has a seating section on the main floor that is ideal for some post-cardio essay-writing, and that overlooks the Kimel Family Field House where basketball and volleyball games are played.

Goldring in all its glory. Source.

Innis Café
2 Sussex Ave.
Located on the opposite side of Sussex Ave. from the Faculty of Information, this family-run café serves up healthy and hearty meals, made-to-order. The super sweet caf staff supply a menu of everything from breakfast sandwiches and freshly squeezed juices to burgers and quesadillas, all for a student-friendly price.

Someone else snapped an awesome photo of my favourite meal at Innis: the chicken skewers with salad and grilled vegetables. Source.

Diabolos Coffee Bar
15 King's College Circle
This student-run, fair-trade coffee shop in the Junior Common Room at University College sells coffee and snacks that will make you feel good too. If you're looking to "break free" (hope you're still listening to High School Musical!) from your usual caffeine-run to the Starbucks in Robarts cafeteria (and you might want to after a while), this is a great alternative.

View of Diabolos. Source.
Food Trucks
Looking for a break from the great indoors of the Faculty of Information but don't have time to head too far away? Roll on over to any of the food trucks that line the streets of St. George from Bloor to College. Anyone who has seen me during lunchtime knows that I eat the shwarma platter from the food truck right outside the entrance to Claude Bissell more often than I would like to admit in a public blog post. 
Kee's food truck on St. George. Source.

This article serves as a mere appetizer to the varied array of restaurants and study spots in and around UofT campus, so please sound off in the comments if you have any recommendations that you wish to share. Stay tuned for the next edition of the Grad School Guide on July 15th and stay cool, first-year friends.

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