May 31, 2010

Pay Day

Filed under: Life's Like That — Chantelle @ 9:26 am

Today is pay day at work. This is very significant, because it is the first pay day I will have recieved since I have began working full-time for the summer – the first cheque I have recieved since the very insignificant last paycheck I got from my part-time “school” job as a janitor.

See, the cost of living is rising. Granted, it is nothing like what you would find in Vancouver or even possibly Calgary, but the fact remains the same. Now, before you assume that I am just one of those people who has a large nest egg to sit on and unlimited resources, let me tell you a story.

In high school, I was always a very busy person. I was President of SADD, Co-editor of the newspaper, I was on the yearbook committee, the curling team, the basketball team, and occasionally the track team. This is not to say that I was a particularily athletic person – in fact, I’m pretty awful. I just enjoyed the challenge and the camaraderie.

In grade 10, I took my first ‘real’ job. I had been working for my dad on the farm for a couple years prior, but didn’t feel that it was applicable. Anyway, I had gotten all my training, and began work as a lifeguard. It just so happened that the pool was short-staffed the year that I started. As such, I began working thirty hour weeks from the get-go… on top of school, my sports, and my other extra-curriculars. As soon as I began working, I began to forge my independence. I bought my own groceries for days I worked through meals, and I began to save for school. It was a small start, but something.

When it came time to start school, this desire for independence had only grown. I knew that I would need my parents’ help to an extent, but was determined to take as little as I could from them. I also decided that I was not going to be one of those students that gets a student loan and then has to spend the next 50 years paying for school.

So I got a job at the university, and began to work. Now, for those of you who have taken full-time university classes, you know that there isn’t a lot of extra time to fit work into your schedule. I was lucky in that by taking commerce classes I didn’t have labs to suck up full afternoons at a time, but I was still taking 5, sometimes 6 classes at once. Thank-fully, I already had plenty of experience with over-extending myself from high school. To this day I think that my over-eagerness to do everything, and do everything well in high school is what helped me keep my sanity in university.

Since I moved to the city in September of ’06, I have not been able to count on a steady income. Sometimes I would have to take a day off of work to finish a project that was due. Sometimes I would pick up extra shifts, if I could. I have been living in cycles – working part-time one job during the school year, finding another job to work full-time in the summer. I am ready to be done.

So when I realized this spring that I had only four classes left to take to finish my degree, I pounced. I am now taking summer classes – one night class two nights/week, and one online. I hope to take two night classes in the fall to finish my degree in December. I am currently working a full-time summer position, and looking for a full-time permanent position to start in the fall.

I am definitely looking forward to having a “real” income, rather than having everything I make syphen directly into bills and tuition!

To all those who want to go through school without loans — it’s a hard road. More than once I wanted to just get a loan so I wouldn’t worry about living paycheck to paycheck. Once I took a job with a local fast-food chain just to make that month’s rent, and then quit because I knew I didn’t actually have time to work two jobs. But, if you are determined enough it is possible to do. Don’t give up.


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