Getting your money’s worth on campus

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Group projects are the reason why some of us no longer have any faith in humanity. StockSnap via Pixabay

What keeps one going through college?

by katlyn richardson, contributor

Most post-secondary institutions offer some form of socializing outside of academics. These opportunities are where I made my friends at the university. I sat on URSU’s board of directors, ran a student society, volunteered with the Ambassador program, and even attended a few events put on by residence services.

The people I consider my closest and truest friends are from these events. When things get tough, I know I can rely on them to help me if needed, or just offer their support. Reflecting on it, I’m not sure how many of us would have met had it not been for the various activities I was involved in.

During my time at URSU, I can certainly say that it wasn’t easy for a variety of reasons. But I would be lying if I said I learned nothing. I learned how to navigate toxic workplace relationships, when to just ignore certain things and people, how to prioritize doing the right thing even if others don’t always agree, and how to make sure that I can say I did my best at the end of the day. I sat on the disciplinary committee and student appeals committee, where I was able to shine light on the point of view of students to the university administration who may not have experienced what it is like to be a student today.

I also learned a bit more about how the administration and management of the university works. I think this a unique experience that more students should be able to participate in because of how valuable it is to understand how to communicate with others who hold a lot of power over you by virtue of their roles. The university was very good at not using the power dynamic to influence opinions, which is quite honestly rare to find.

I know I put in thousands of dollars to get my education and not everyone can afford to do that, so I know I am very privileged to be where I am today. Having had these opportunities has shown me how much value we can add to society by reducing the costs of going to university. I also completely understand the people who do not wish to go due to stress and/or workload, and know that university is not for everyone. I just don’t think that cost should be as big of a factor as it is now.

Student loans only recently got some boosts to help students with the sheer amounts of debt with the new changes to the Repayment Assistance Program, where you can delay the start of payments until you make over $40,000, and the federal government removing the interest on federal student loan amounts.

As I reflect back on my student experience, I feel like I had a pretty good experience overall. While some people had me questioning if what I was doing was even worth the mental strain I was being put under, I had friends under similar pressures, so there are different support systems wherever it may be needed. Looking at my overall experience, support systems are how I succeeded and this is the reality for many. In the end, while you may only get what you put into education, you cannot light the candle at both ends and hope for success. Sometimes your support system is just you, and that’s okay, because sometimes the only one you need to succeed for is yourself.

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