Last Words: Back to school blues and gaping holes in campus

Back to school blues don't mean you should skip class

Back to school heralds the obvious return to classes, but also the unwelcome reappearance of early mornings and homework -- for some, resulting in a serious case of the back to school blues.

Vacations are great, and important for everyone's health and sanity, but before you sleep in through your first class back, give a thought to the fact that you're (hopefully) at UBC to get an education -- and you're paying big money to do it.

It might seem like it's no big deal to skip the occasional lecture -- and that's probably true -- but even though you may be able to coast through a course without going to classes, or maybe even get a good grade, you're still missing out on whatever that professor has to say on a subject that they've more or less dedicated their life to. Not to mention that domestic tuition works out to around $20 per class.

That's not to say that you can never miss a class. Just keep in mind that you can get a lot more out of UBC than just a piece of paper with your name on it, if you put in the time and effort.

MacInnes pit is a fantastic "welcome to UBC" monument

While most students were at home for the holidays, construction crews were hard at work creating an even larger, more desolate wasteland out of what used to be MacInnes Field.

The former field, best known as the site for day drinking in the sun at Block Party, has become a giant eyesore. Crews even put up two levels of fences around it and created roundabout detours to the SUB for good measure.

This hellhole that greets the thousands of students who bus to UBC everyday will be the site for UBC’s new Aquatic Centre. After that is open, the current Aquatic Centre will be torn down and replaced with a field -- also know as 'the old switcheroo'.

While construction has been a mainstay of UBC’s campus recently, the state of MacInnes Field is particularly off-putting. Yes, in the long run, the new Aquatic Centre will be bigger and better and there will eventually be another field that students drink beer and throw Frisbees on. But for now, we’re stuck without a field, and with an even more overwhelming sense of despair every time we use the bus loop.

New football coach Blake Nill will be a turning point for UBC football.

After the team missed the playoffs this year, UBC fired coach Shawn Olson and brought in Nill. He has a history of running winning programs, but he also comes with a big price tag by T-Bird standards -- $140,000 a year -- almost 50 per cent more than Olson’s salary.

At the press conference announcing Nill’s hiring, one of the first things he said was that if UBC wants to compete with football programs like Laval, the program needs to spend more on coaching and equipment. At the same conference, he said he made his goals for the program clear, and gave UBC multiple chances to forget about hiring him as a coach. But UBC seems to be on board with Nill’s brand of football.

While the money itself won’t solve all of team’s problems, it should help.

At his former job with Calgary, the Dinos trounced UBC twice, with an aggregate score of 126 to 17, though Nill wasn’t at the second game because he was suspended for comments in a previous game. He was also suspended for in-game comments in 2010 and was accused of running up the score in a 2001 Saint Mary’s victory over Mount Allison 106-0.

But Nill has a reputation for rebuilding programs, and UBC definitely needs some rebuilding right now. UBC hasn’t won a Vanier Cup since 1997. Nill’s led teams to seven Vanier Cup games, pulling out two wins. UBC should not have been a 2-6 team with the level of talent they had this year. Nill’s hiring also raises the chance some Calgary players will follow him to UBC. The team has a lot of rebuilding to do, and Nill could be the one to do it.