On a campus that may seem daunting now, it’s important to keep exploring and find places that make you feel at home.
For me my freshman year, it was Campus Grounds. The warm, soft lighting surrounding cozy couches. The smell of fresh drip coffee. The promise of new music playing from student-curated playlists. Campus Grounds was everything I had hoped to discover as a freshman in search of a study spot other than the library. The student-run coffee shop was a treasure chest full of flavor and quirky charm — my own hidden gem. Yet, there are infinite nooks to discover and countless crannies to frequent. Here are a few of the hidden gems on the list. The rest are for you to find.
Whether it be a sunny school night or late-night on a Saturday, there’s bound to be a crowd at Zicks, the on-campus pizza parlor. But while you wait for that tasty flatbread or salad, play a round of pool or a board game with friends. Or you can also retreat to the basement, which is complete with TVs and video-game consoles to curb your hanger for the time being.
The Magnolia Room
Just two flights above the Pit lies Campus Dining’s best-kept secret: The Magnolia Room. It’s more commonly known as “The Mag Room.” For just one meal swipe, you’re guaranteed a lunch with white linen tablecloths, a plentiful array of salads, soups and sandwiches and a mint on your way out the door. Aside from weekday lunches, the elegant space is also used for receptions, a cappella concerts and formals.
On a sunny autumn day eno hammocks can be found strapped from tree to tree, slacklines wobbling between them like tightropes and students lounging on blankets side by side. Though it lies in plain sight, the sprawling green of Davis Field can feel like a lush new world of its own after a long day spent studying between classes. Be sure to step outside for a minute, take off your shoes and spend some time basking in the sunshine.
May Way Dumplings
Reynolda Trails are conveniently located just behind the freshmen dorms — a beautiful stroll to the shops and restaurants of Reynolda Village. But when the Village Tavern has a wait that’s out the door and tables are full at Silo, quick service and fresh Asian fusion can be found at May Way Dumplings. The affordable and authentic dumpling restaurant is perfect for take out after a weeks worth of dinner on campus.
Cross Country Trails
On various stop signs around campus drive you might start to notice small red, yellow or blue stickers with arrows and a corresponding QR code. If you follow the arrows long enough and use the interactive maps after scanning the code, you will find yourself on a series of gravel trails covered by a canopy of trees. The cross country trails, located just behind Palmer and Piccolo and the Barn, are perfect for everything from a casual stroll to a long run on a hot day. The blue arrows lead along the trails for a 1.2 mile loop, red arrows extend onto faculty drive for a 2.23 mile trail, and the longest loop stretches even further for a three-mile circuit.
For the best bang for your buck in the realm of on-campus fine dining, look no further than Bistro ‘34. On the same floor as the New Pit, you can order a salmon plate with steamed vegetables and buttery mashed potatoes topped off with a sweet dessert. Various old gold specials rotate throughout the week, but food dollars can also be used to treat yourself to a dinner that transports you to a restaurant off campus without the added expense.
Rocking Chairs on the Balconies of 4th Floor Benson
The five floors of Benson University Center are constantly hopping with activity. As the home to many campus offices, the copy center, mailroom and a bustling food court, Benson can be overwhelming at times. But on either side of the fourth floor are two balconies that provide an escape and a birds-eye view of the goings-on in Tribble courtyard and Benson circle. Seeing campus from a new perspective — and from the comfort of a rocking chair — can be refreshing beyond belief.
Study Spot in Tribble
Last but not certainly not least, I leave you with my number one hidden gem on this campus — the single desk in the basement of Tribble. At the end of a long hallway, it sits right beside a nearly floor to ceiling window with ample natural light and company only from surrounding professors offices. Since stumbling upon it, this desk has been my go-to study spot. I won’t tell you which wing it is on — that’s for you to find out — but I will say that if the library is overcrowded and you need a quiet spot to study through the night, this desk is worth searching for.