The Ontario College Faculty Strike has been going on for four weeks now.
For four weeks I’ve been waiting to go back to class, to continue my education, and follow my career plan. But I can’t, because of this strike.
It’s frustrating when you have a plan in place, and that plan is put on hold because of something that’s totally out of your control. There’s nothing I can do about it. All I can do is wait, and keep checking for updates, updates that never seem to come.
I’m 27 years old. I have a 10 year old daughter. I want my professional life to begin so I can start making a decent income; so I can pay off my debts; so I can buy us a house. But this strike is putting my future on hold. And if something doesn’t happen soon, what does that mean for my education? Will I even get to graduate on time?
At 27-years-old, I don’t really want to graduate even later. Just saying…
Attending college is not cheap; it costs thousands of dollars every semester.
I feel that I have a right to the education I paid for.
There’s not much I can do about that though, other than voice my opinion, which is what I’m doing now.
In the meantime I’ve been working my one on-campus job that’s still running. My other on-campus job is also on hold until the strike ends. And when I’m not working my two days a week, I’m at home doing things around the house. I’m reading my textbooks and trying to keep my lessons fresh in my mind for when we return.
But just because I’m not in class right now doesn’t necessarily have to mean my future is actually on hold. My education may be – and I hope we don’t lose the term – but I can still do quite a bit with all of this free time.
For example, a classmate and I went to a networking event a couple weeks ago. The Waterloo Region held a Starter Company Open House, where a few different startups (mostly in the tech industry) welcomed the public into their work spaces. It was a fun evening of exploring my own backyard and a nice way to stay in touch with a friend from school.
On Saturday I went to another event. This time it was a creative business workshop where a group of creative entrepreneurs in the KW area got together to learn some stuff about starting a business, and then we had the opportunity to network. I met a few really interesting people who I hope to talk to again soon. I also started networking with a really amazing organization in hopes we can work together someday.
Networking is new to me. I should have started a long time ago but I had zero self-confidence until this past year.
So, this strike is kind of a bummer (okay, it’s a big bummer), but I’m trying to make the best of it.
Here are a few ideas to keep busy while the strike goes on (and hopefully for not too much longer):
- Attend networking events
- Take online courses (Lynda.com is free for some college students)
- Read notes taken in class
- Read ahead in textbooks and readings listed
- Practice the various tools learned already
- Connect with classmates even if it’s just to chat
- Take advantage of the resources still available on campus
- Pick up extra hours at work
- Take a moment to chill, because when classes finally resume we’ll have a heck of a lot of work to do
If you’re a college student in Ontario, man oh man am I ever sorry to say that I FEEL YOUR PAIN!
Stay strong, fellow students.