OPINION: There’s not right choice when students have to pick between class and work

Kasie DaSilva

When you are in high school and have a part time job, it’s usually the best time to be alive.

Yes, the joy of spending eight hours at school and then heading to work right after a few times a week. But where does that money go? There is a sense of financial freedom when you’re still young and living at home. You’re able to book off time work to focus on school because, who cares if you’re missing one pay cheque? Your parents will still buy you groceries.

But college it is a whole different world.

College is expensive, especially when you live away from home. There’s rent and groceries to pay on top of tuition and textbooks.

Having classes and working at the same time is obviously not ideal. Classes can be at weird times of the day. So, when I’m booked for shifts at the same time I have class, I’m left with a choice: class or work.

It’s tricky to make that decision. I pay to go to school, so I should attend class and learn, but if I miss work, I’m missing a shift that helps pay for school.

That is what makes me think, why do we have pay for school if it gets in the way of making money to pay off all our debts for it? Why do teachers give us such a hard time when you say, “sorry I have to leave class early, I work at 3?”

We work so that we can pay for the services they provide us.

I know OSAP is a thing and it has saved me the last three years, but students only receive two payments at the beginning of each semester. I’m not complaining about getting the loan, but the two payment method doesn’t work.

Does the Ontario government really trust brand new college students who get $6,000 at the beginning of the year to spend it responsibly? If they do, they’re crazy.

First year my friends and I blew through our first ever OSAP payment on going out to bars and ordering pizza at 2 a.m. By November, we were calling our parents crying for money.

It was a lesson well learnt, because it did teach me how to budget much better for the second payment that year, but until the system changes, it will trap those who are new to it.

At the end of the day, college is just a huge lesson. I’ve learnt so much about the real world in the last three years. But, I still find myself juggling work and school.

I currently have class five days a week and work two jobs. To say work and class sometimes get in the way of each other would be an understatement.

It’s a struggle for any college student paying their own way through school, but should it be? Students should not have to choose between attending class and having the money so we don’t have to eat ramen every night.

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