TFM:Surviving at UTS

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Surviving at UTS

Food by Tom Bozic
Procrastination by Gabriela Marcionetti

Where Can I Find Food?

As you have probably noticed by now, there aren't many places to eat at UTS. Around the Broadway precinct you've pretty much got the Level 3 Cafeteria, two cafes (Concourse and Cafe.10), two bars (Glasshouse and The Loft), and that's about it.[1] Both the Markets and Ku-ring-gai folk[2] have it even tougher, with just the single cafeteria and bar on campus. Seeing as the vast majority of ProgSoc members study at the City campus, we shall focus our discussion of places to eat in the City.

On Campus

Let's start our gastronomic tour from the Union area on Level 3 of the Tower Building, which is essentially a scaled-down shopping-mallesque food court, complete with the range of bastardised "international cuisine" that so defines a typical Australian suburban shopping mall. Tables are plentiful, but fill up rather quickly come lunchtime. On the whole the food served here is passable, cheap and will satiate your between-class hunger, but don't expect Michelin Star quality.

For a quick-and-light meal on the go, you can't go wrong with Sushi Roll with its standard range of nigiri- and maki-zushi in bento boxes. For something a bit more substantial and high in essential carbohydrates, try Past@licious with its wide and tasty range of hot pasta and soup dishes.[3] If pasta's not your thing, grab a kebab from (arguably the most popular of the food court shops) Uni Brothers 2 Kebabs[4] -- they're pretty much on par with what you'd find in a caravan next to a petrol station. Or maybe you wish to set your tongue on fire and give your nasal cavities a good cleaning, in which case, order a Raja or Rani curry meal from Bollywood Bites, with your choice of congealed gunge sitting in the bain maries all day -- quite filling, I must admit. Or maybe you're after something more "oriental", in which case, New Oriental Chinese with its noodles and fried rice should suffice. Mention should also be made of the Broadway Eatery opposite the five aforementioned establishments, with its assortment of pies, sandwiches and drinks and the Union shop which sells candy. As you can see, first-years, university food is not as inedible and abominable as you might have heard prior to enrolment. It's just kind of ordinary. If you're in need of something more liquid-based and intoxicating, pay the Glasshouse Bar[5] a visit and, while you're getting plastered prior to that all-important mid-semester or final exam instead of studying, why not shoot some pool or listen to a band that performs periodically during the day. For something slightly more upmarket and trendy, with more music and the occasional poetry reading by members of our Writers Society, scurry on upstairs to the Loft and check out what's going on there.

Leaving the Union Food Zone and walking straight past the Concourse Cafe, with its insipid coffee and even worse "big breakfast" that I once made the mistake of trying, and hanging a left to Building 10, we come to the imaginatively-named Cafe.10 (formerly the Atrium Cafe). Its coffee is not too bad and neither is its food. Opposite Cafe.10 lies the UTS (in)convenience store[6], which has your typical selection of chips and drinks, as well as day-old pies/sausage rolls. Their drink selection caters well for cheap caffeine ($1 cans of Pepsi) to your more niche beverages (Doctor Pepper and other imports) - just be mindful of expiry dates. Walking around the front of the Tower and down Harris Street, you'll have your choice of two coffee-houses - Pausa and My Cuppa. Pausa, I have yet to try, but My Cuppa is actually reasonably good and my choice for coffee 'round Broadway Campus. If you like alcohol, don't forget to pay the Agincourt, Clare and Bar Broadway Hotels, with their beer and pub grub, a visit -- Bar Broadway, in particular, does some nice Thai.

Arriving at Building 5 a.k.a. Markets Campus, you'll find the Markets Eatery, where they do satisfactory soup and pasta and the cafe/bar/recreation area next to the Eatery -- coffee's not too bad. There are also a couple of other cafes outside to check out.

Around Campus

To be honest, you were pretty much wasting your time reading the previous section, since the food worth eating at Uni is actually not at Uni -- it's around Uni.

I guess you could go for your Maccas or your Kentucky Frieds or your Hungry Jack's or your Subways or your Oportos that are just as ubiquitous in the City as they are in the suburbs. Or you could settle[7] for the food court at Broadway Shopping Centre, which is basically a suburban shopping experience in the City.[8] But let me tell you, lucky reader, that you are studying in unarguably the greatest city on the planet with literally thousands of culinary opportunities begging for you to explore, far too many to list here, so we'll have to whittle it down to a few choice selections, based on such scientific metrics as tastiness, satisfaction and affordability.

Let's start with the Market City food court. Yeah, I know, I've been decrying food courts in general this whole time, but Market City's food court is quite a treat, especially if you're a big fan of Chinese food. As far as I know, it's the only licenced (read: alcohol!) food court in the CBD, not that I've ever imbibed there. Amongst the zillions of outlets in the food court, I'm a particular fan of Top Choice Sizzling Hot Pot with its freshly-made Szechuan, Mongolian or Satay Lamb served on a heated clay bowl with rice. Just outside the main food court area is Poporo's, which serves modern Japanised Western cuisine. You must try their curry rice washed down with a Calpis -- it's to die for. If you're brave enough to venture beyond Market City and into the greater Chinatown area, you'll have a mind-boggling array of restaurants to choose from. A ProgSoc favourite -- and one of Chinatown's best-kept secrets -- is an intimate, little restaurant wedged between the Agincourt and Pausa that serves fresh, hand-made, home style Chinese noodles. For an unforgettable experience, try Wagaya just opposite the Entertainment Centre, with its noisy clientele and modern Japanese cuisine that you order by touchscreen. I'd generally avoid Darling Harbour as that place caters more to the tourist market and is probably out of most students' price range, although if you must eat there, the ribs at Hurricane's Grill are quite something and the sweet pancakes at Pancakes on the Rocks are rather nice, but I'd steer clear of the savoury pancakes if I were you.

Walking in a westerly direction along Broadway, you'll find some more great places to eat such as Essen, with its German cuisine and the largest chicken schnitzels this side of Vienna and the Little Haveli Indian curry house -- you can just taste the love and tender care absent in most curries found in food courts and lesser North Indian diners. Across the road, you've got the Lansdowne and Broadway Hotels. The Broadway has the better food of the two, but the Lansdowne is the cheaper option with its $5 with a schooner deal.

It's at this point that you can go in two general directions: north along Glebe Point Road in Glebe and south along King Street to Newtown. I would say that Glebe Point Road is the more multicultural, culinarily speaking, of the two streets with restaurants representing just about every cuisine on this insignificant speck of the universe -- Italian, Spanish, Mexican, Nepali, Polish -- you name it, it's there. Special mention must be made of al-Mustafa's and their fine Middle Eastern cuisine and the wryly-named Badde Manors Cafe, specialising in coffee and vegetarian dishes. After a satisfying meal, why not wet your whistle at either the Ancient Briton or Toxteth pubs. While it too has a diverse range of cuisines to choose from, King Street tends to specialise in the cuisine of one particular culture -- Thai. With just about too many Thai restaurants on that street to count, competing for your palate and your Austudy loan, you just know that you're going to get the best and most affordable Pad Thai or green curry Sydney has to offer, no matter which one you choose. And, of course, King Street has its fair share of iconic pubs as well -- Marlborough (Marly), Sandringham (Sando) and Courthouse, just to name a few.[9]

All-nighters

If it is the day before it is due, and you haven't started your assignment, you have three options: a) stay up all night at home, or b) stay over at uni, or c) fail. If you have planned ahead of time to stay over at uni, pack as you would for any other overnight trip. Essentials include a towel (so that you can shower in the morning at the gym) and a toothbrush (your teeth will have that fuzzy feeling after 3 litres of Coke).

Building 10 offers 24 hour PIN access to all IT students, which you'll need to get into the building or any of the labs at non-standard hours. Alternatively, there are 24-hour labs scattered all over Buildings 1 and 2, which thankfully do not require PIN access during the small hours, but - truth be told - the Building 10 labs are nicer. If you really like to come prepared, bring your sleeping bag and a pillow, or several pillows, because all your unprepared friends will undoubtedly steal your pillow.

There are several places to sleep around uni. The tower has lots of couches on level 3 and 4, and the annexes and mezzanine levels towards engineering have some of their original black leather compliment of couches. All of these are good places to keep in mind, as the couches in Building 10 will undoubtedly be already occupied by other last-minute assignment types.

For an over-nighter, you will need vast quantities of food and caffeine. Instead of relying on vending machines and McDonalds, take a trip to the Coles at Broadway Shopping Centre, and stock up. A favourite is to get a bread roll from Bakers Delight outside Coles and 50g of ham from Coles. While you are at Coles, you should buy as much soft drink as you can carry and as much snack food as you can afford. If you're ill-prepared or run out of supplies, K-Mart at Broadway is open 24 hours and will still provide much sugary goodness. It's much cheaper than getting it from a convenience store -- which is why you're there. Expect hordes of hungry students in need of a sugar hit to descend on you when you arrive back at Uni.

Not feeling motivated? Write a list of all the things that you need to do and reward yourself with a mini chocolate bar when you complete each one. If you go down to Coles before it is dark, you will also get some of your daily vitamin D (a deficiency that plagues computer scientists). Try getting some fruit as well, if you think that all the sugar consumption will affect your productivity. Avoid red cordial and creaming soda, because being so high on sugar that you are bouncing off the walls won't get your assignment done.

Actually Getting the Assignment Done

When it comes to actually working on your assignment -- getting to Uni early on the day that it is due is vital -- don't think that you can arrive at Uni at 10:30 or 11, and be able to easily find a computer. Chances are, if you've left your assignment to the last minute, everyone else has too. Try for a Linux lab -- you can login to a Windows Session from these if you need to -- or one of the many Macs scattered around the place. The Windows labs should be your choice, unless you know you won't need anything at all that might possibly be a Windows file. If you're working on a Word document, and have to leave the lab you're in, save a plain text copy of your work as well, just in case the only computers that are available don't have Microsoft Office, or even OpenOffice, installed. That way, you'll be able to get straight back into your report, without having to wait around for a Windows lab.

Fortunately, once you've grabbed a computer, it's yours for the rest of the day, unless you need to leave that lab because a class is on in there (check the notice on the door, and aim for one that isn't booked, or isn't heavily booked that day). Try to sit with a friend. They can mind your stuff when you're in the bathroom or getting food, and give you someone to talk to while you're avoiding your assignment.

Don't be disconcerted if it looks like all the labs are full - most lab assistants/tutors won't mind if you use a spare computer in their lab, so long as you're quiet, don't disrupt their class and leave if a student in their class comes and needs the computer that you're using. If you are noisy, expect them to ask you to leave immediately. There are also a few labs tucked away on level 3 of building 10 - find them, and head there when the other labs are filling up. It can also pay to leave about 5 minutes before a class is due to start in a lab, that way you can get to lab that doesn't have a class in it before everyone else realises that they're going to get kicked out of their lab. Lastly, don't have too many qualms about "walking in behind someone else" when it comes to the Post Grad labs. If you're desperate, you'll probably try anything! Most people won't really notice or care, so long as you're not using at computer when a Post Grad is going without. Although, keep in mind that you are somewhere where you aren't supposed to be, so leave if a class starts, or if someone points out to you that you're not really allowed to use the computers in that room. However, if you don't draw attention to yourself, you'll generally be okay.

What's at UTS?

Believe it or not, there are things other than subjects and food at UTS. A major part of these "Other Things" are the clubs and societies, which you're probably already aware of, having joined ProgSoc. Most clubs tend to be linked to a faculty, and offer social activies to their members, such as BBQs or Balls. The Faculty of Engineering and IT has two clubs like this, EngSoc (The Engineering Society[10]) and BiG (Bachelor of Information Technology Group)[11].

The Union

The Union runs regular weekly events such as trivia or bingo at the Glasshouse (where free drinks can be won) and music performances (weekly at the Loft and occasionally Glasshouse) as well as less periodic sporting events and bar parties. Near the Union area, next to the Students' Association Office are some table tennis tables - though you'll need to bring your own rackets/balls.

The Fitness Centre

The Fitness Centre in Building 4 offers standard gym equipment and an array of classes, for $10 per visit. It also offers the all-important showers, which you'll need to remember if you ever stay the night at uni. Over your years at UTS, you might have grand ideas of going to the gym three times a week at the beginning of a semester, so you might sign up for a month, at $95, or even three months at $140. But if you're part of the 90% of us who'll go three times the first week, twice the week after, and then twice a month after that, just pay each time you visit.[12]

Multi-Purpose Sports Hall

....and don't forget to swing by UTS' brand-spanking new, subterranean Multi-Purpose Sports Hall, which is more-or-less an annex of the Fitness Centre, right under the Alumni Green, where you can shoot some hoops on the basketball court, or deflect a spike on the volleyball court or lob it in the back of the net on the futsal pitch[13] or perfect your pliés in one of the dance studios. There's no end to the possibilities!


  1. There's also the university's function centre -- Aerial -- on Level 7 of Building 10, but that, as you'd expect, is only open for special functions. Quite possibly the best food you'll find on campus, if you're fortunate enough to attend a function there.
  2. Hi there, Ku-ring-gai students, way out there in the Lindfield bush...
  3. Past@licious was once known as Stock Market, where one of its signature dishes was the so-called "Croatian Goulash", which, as someone whose background is of that particular European nation can attest, is anything but -- it was more like a soup than a stew.
  4. Or is it Uni 2 Bros. Kebabs?
  5. Known to Engineering students as LDC3 (Learning and Design Centre, Number 3).
  6. Affectionately known as such for its various inconvenient times of closure.
  7. As we often do on ProgSoc meeting nights when we couldn't be arsed eating anywhere else.
  8. Whereas suburban shopping malls are an ersatz city shopping experience in the suburbs.
  9. All of which, at some point, have been immortalised in Whitlams songs.
  10. Formerly known as the Society of Electrical, Computer Systems and Mechanical Engineers (SECSME) before the political correctness police came to town.
  11. Requiescat in pace, CompSoc.
  12. A stark illustration of the effects of VSU: When this paragraph first appeared in TFM 2003 (pre-VSU), the dollar amounts read, in order: $4, $35, $80. Trust us -- the Australian dollar has not inflated by that much in the past nine years!
  13. The "courts" all occupy the same space -- it's not called "Multi-Purpose" for nothing.
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