RE: To the students who are struggling the balancing act between finances and school.
You are not alone.
It is hard. Beyond hard. I am going to go with the word impossible to appease all avenues of your life while putting on the hat of student, worker, friend, partner and/or volunteer...(well not impossible, but feels that way). The exchange for career is time and money which is an interesting avenue to compartmentalize. A future awaiting in my career choice of teaching, has taken away hours/days from work. My weekends include working as a waitress (Saturdays) and as a retail worker (Sundays). Whereas my Monday to Friday, are my days as either a student or working with students. My intensive program has allowed 12 weeks of traditional course work to condense itself into 6 weeks, while a 2 week meet and greet then invites me to teach a full 6 week block to which I prepare EVERYTHING. With little time to know the kids, classroom agreements and traditional lesson planning, my heart is in my stomach. Everything seems to crumble down. Time to sit and relax feels like it isn't an option although I choose it quite often over school work (and then break down because yes, I brought this on myself). The tears fall uncontrollably for having to touch your savings account because - you just don't have enough to cover your transportation costs this week. Yet, I really wanted all those bath bombs, so I mean, I have to get them. It is a difficult time. So difficult, because you need to survive and thrive through vices, but those very vices pull at your time/finances despite them filling you with joy. It is an interesting time. Some years of schooling seem to prevail over the others. This exchange even happens with semesters, leaving you unfulfilled with the lack of work hours because of your lack of availability. Moreover, giving too much time into one avenue (part time work or school) leaves the other falling behind the dust of the trail. There seems to be no winning. You do the best you can and often enough, one of these paths hinder. In the past, I chose work over school, but being so close to my education finish line, I have chosen school over work...which reflects on my present financial situation.
Now you are sitting there, not being able to participate in social events, because you just can't cover your portion of the dinner because hey - I really need to pay my parking for this week. ($80 a week...). The choices for convenience come at a cost; financially, physically and emotionally. My balancing act is far from balanced, and this week in particular has shined a light to what seems like a few unhappy moments. The school days provide you with homework each and every night making the 7 day a week "work life" seem drastic and draining - yet, you still don't have the funds to keep you afloat. I want so many things, but having to say no to support needs: parking, food, car etc. which, can leave you feeling low. This feeling comes since you cannot provide yourself with typical things you once could have, maybe last semester, last year or a few years back as you distributed the weight of your balancing scale in favour of career as opposed to work.
The break downs are real. The hours at work seem to be pulling you away from your school work, but when you are at home you are so exhausted from classes, work and commute that you need time to rest. Oh, and doesn't your bed and Netflix just look so much more inviting? Now enter in panic mode because it all accumulated last minute and of course, you work the full weekend. The only few shifts you have. Now there is your choice. Getting this assignment done that’s due - like tomorrow. Or work and stay up. What to do. You need the influx of cash but you also need to finish the assignment (this panic is all too real). Your availability in the 7 days a week of doing everything while switching your hat for student, worker, partner and self-care seem to fall at the wayside, because you threw too much up at once. The big picture here. Today. Is. FREAKIN. HARD! Sometimes, the week or month is hard. Not all of it - but big parts of it.
I write this post to honour my heart and spirit that is hurting. Yes. honour every emotion you have, both positive and negative because healing is important. And currently, I am hurting. I feel like I am failing and I write this because I know that there are far too many people are out there silently crying from the stress of their days. To my fellow students - I am here, alongside you. Tears flooding and bank account depleting. It is hard, so hard. Just a few more months to go and hopefully we can take on a little more work. It is okay not to be okay all the time. I am not today. Today is a hard day. Today isn't a bad day. It is just a day where I feel like everything is giving way. My heart hurts and I know that this time in school needs my focus and attention, despite having to break apart my savings that I worked so hard for. I have fellow classmates who work extremely hard and sometimes, it just feels all too overwhelming.
I hope to forgive myself for giving my all into my future career and sacrificing what I love to benefit that. I hope to forgive myself by giving my career the focus it deserves and to be more understanding that I just have to manage my finances a little more closely. I hope to forgive myself for not saving as much as I want to/have in the past or even at all. I hope to forgive myself for using my savings a little when need be for things that are important (and things that aren’t but being mindful to what extent). I hope to forgive myself for melt-downs because I feel like I am not contributing to my relationship as much as I have been or should be. To my partner and to myself - I am sorry for taking away the time from us. We deserve more. I hope to forgive myself for not being able to participate in social contexts for the lack of financial stability (currently). Going from a workaholic to someone who works 2 days a week is a drastic change to meet the needs of my program. It is hard, but I will forgive myself through tears. I will forgive myself as I write this all down as I connect with others on a similar journey and free myself from heart-ache of self-regulated dissapointment. Just know, deep down - I am proud of me. Also, I am proud of you too. Please allow yourself to release the emotions that ruminate in your heart. Release anger, stress, sadness and disappointment with a 5 minute meditation or 20 minute tear-session. Now...take a deep breath. Proceed. You got this, despite feeling you don't. Also, I got this despite feeling that I don't
Thank you for reading along and to all the students out there going through this...the light is beyond the horizon.