I’m in my third year of my program at the University of Waterloo, and I still find myself asking, “How did I not know about this all these years?!” Universities and colleges offer so many services to so many students that there are often more perks to being a student than we could even imagine. To help keep you in the loop about everything available to you, here is a list of services many campuses offer that you don’t want to miss out on any longer.

Campus Safe Walks

Most campuses have some form of program where you can call or message a hotline and two volunteers will come to your location and escort you to where you need to go. With all of the night classes I take, I can appreciate how important of a service this is to make use of. No student should have to feel unsafe on their own campus.

Free Trial Weeks

Schools want us to use the additional services offered on campus, but how are you supposed to take advantage of them if you don’t know if they’re worth investing time and money into? Keep your ear out for free trial weeks on your campus  – especially during the first weeks of each term. As a UW student, I take advantage of the free fitness classes offered the first week of each new term. Maybe you’re like me and don’t ever end up paying for the real service (school is expensive as it is), but fun classes to check out with a few friends is too good of an offer to turn down!

Blood Donation

There’s always a big need for blood donations, and what better way to find volunteers than at a campus full of thousands of students? I just learned for myself a few weeks ago that many campuses like mine have blood donation stations set up once every month in a central area on campus for students to come and donate blood in between classes. I highly suggest finding out when this option is available to you next – you don’t even have to leave campus to potentially save a life (not to mention the free cookies as an added bonus)!

Resume & Essay Editing Services

Writing isn’t everyone’s forte, but with campus support services, it doesn’t have to be. Most campuses offer services in which students are able to visit their campus’ writing centre and have a staff member, peer, or volunteer edit their essay for them or offer suggestions for improvement. Similar services are also offered for resume editing and constructive criticism, such as through your school’s co-operative program. These services and where to find them are definitely worth checking out!

Housing Services

When I was still living in residence and was first considering signing a lease with a few friends, we did some research and discovered that our campus student housing office offers free lease advisory sessions. We had a staff member read over our lease in order to point out any points of concern in our landlord’s lease. Luckily, there wasn’t – but I know plenty of people who could have used the extra help with spotting anything fishy! This is definitely worth looking into if you’re considering living off campus or switching up your housing arrangement.

Student Wellness Services

Last but certainly not least are the services available on every campus that are designed to ensure the well-being and health of students. Included in these services are accessibility services; this is your go-to stop if you live with any type of disability and need support around exams, seeking a note-taker, or requesting any other special accommodations that you may require. The second student wellness service that is important to make use of are your campus’ counselling and mental health services. A common misperception about counselling services is that you will have to wait days or even weeks to book an appointment with a counsellor. However, universities and colleges are aware of the surplus of students who require these services, and provide additional resources for students such as walk-in appointments and peer counsellors who are always available to help. Finally, you may only think of your campus’ health services as a place to go in the event of a medical emergency or lingering sickness. However, this is a great resource for attending health and wellness sessions, receiving free sexual health tests and resources, and even simply filling a prescription without having to leave the comfort of your own campus. All of these services are there for a good reason, and it’s important to make use of these when you need them – we all do from time to time!

Of course, this only skims the surface on all of the services universities and colleges offer for their students free of charge. We’re only students on a single campus for a matter of a few years, so take advantage of all of the perks while you can. There is no excitement that exists quite like a student discovering free things!

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