Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Best to just smile and say "I'm fine!!"

Student debt ruined my career & forced me into poverty.

It's a long story that I haven't spoken of so if you want to listen here goes. (Get your coffee! )

I used to work at Lilydale, that is where I got the chronic tendonitis. WCB, who is supposed help people, would not retrain me. After much frustration I decide to get a student loan and go back to school after working 11 years in the labour force (working any farm/labour related jobs I could find.)

The course I thought I wanted (1 year black and white photography program at Selkirk College) was cancelled just as I had everything arranged. So on the advice of my family I went anyway but took different courses in the hopes the program would be restarted.

Investing in Our Future
The average debt of a Canadian student at graduation is $27,000. We need to fix this. Here’s how:
Posted by Green Party of Canada - Parti vert du Canada on Wednesday, September 16, 2015

That summer I had been determined to get the funds to restart the program that they said cost $400,000. I remember typing a letter on a typewriter (my typing was so bad but I had taken a little course and was trying) and I sent that letter to every company that had made like a $1,000,000 in revenue or something. I had gone to the library to look for travel books when I found a book with that info and that's how I got the idea.

So it was an interesting summer. I worked for home support. It was hard. I was summer relief, I would go to 3-5 homes in a day, clean, cook, scrub toilets, potty train and babysit triplets.
My mom was a super sweetie, she had done the same work for 12 years and knew how hard it was.

She would make me nice lunches and tell me how to find certain addresses, she knew Clearbrook/Abbotsford like the back of her hand.

Everyday I would come home and she would say "You got some mail!" and I would have some very kindly written rejection letter. Some companies and people were really sweet. Fuji and someone else sent me film. Scott paper sent a really nice note and I even got a letter from Diana's lady- in- waiting.

But no one could help. Even the government sent some annoying letters...about why they wouldn't fund it. (They are in storage but I will share them here when I find them someday.)

Anyways I went to school the first year on the hope and prayer and I was lead on to believe it would restart...but eventually was told this would never happen.

So I decide to go to Dawson College, back in Montreal, my French tutor told me he had taken a program there. For some reason they are not getting the paperwork.

Remember there was no real email back then...people went on the internet but it was crude and cost tons in phone bills. Most people phoned or sent snailmail. This was in 1992.

This one receptionist told me the 2 year program was being cancelled and that they pretended to lose my paperwork so I wouldn't pay and move and then only get one year of schooling.

I'm devastated. So I decide to go to Langara. But you need Math 11 and Physics 11 which I do not have and I end up taking Adult Basics Education to get them.

Long story short, I take another full year of course and borrow more money.

I get accepted to Langara and attend. That's another 2 years and I borrow.

Then I get a job. I work my ass off with these bills coming at me. I am almost suicidal because I can not pay. It truly is killing me. Finally I make a deal to pay $300 a month.

I work scanning aerial photos.   

 It was crazy, trying to pay rent and the money. I do that for 3 years. I pay of the $8000 BC student loan and start on the other. I pay off $12,000 total.

Oh I forgot to mention, I was supposed to get some deal where if you complete your studies in the alloted time you get part of the debt forgiven.

I did everything right but they didn't care that there were cancelations. So instead of paying back $16,000 they wanted $22,000.

Anyways I work and work...killing myself slowly but I am doing it. Then I get let go.

I take a step back look at my life.

I take a trip and try to refocus.

I decide to take a web design program but I chose poorly and they lie. They tell me they can teach me to build a shopping cart. This is 1999. They can't. E.I. makes me cash my $5000 in RRSP's and put it towards the $11,000 course.

Half way through when I threaten to expose the truth they kick me out even though I have a doctors note saying I super stressed and that's why I missed a class.

Now I am totally f__ked up. 

That is when I try to web design on my own but there is the wonderful crash.

My debt is huge, I can't pay rent and I am almost on welfare.

I give up my apartment, give away a ton of things and go to Mexico in hopes of doing web design there. In my head I am thinking I might just jump into the ocean and not come home.

Then a big fire happens and burns my camera and a lot of other stuff. I am screwed. My mom wants me to come home.
I meet Angel's dad. He lost his things in the fire too. We move into a little room together.
I come home and try to find work...but I feel I need go back to Mexico. I manage to get back but then 9/11 happens. There are no tourists. I find out I am pregnant. Truthfully I had been on a mission. I had prayed I would get pregnant, I had never tried but I wanted a baby more than anything.  Unfortunately there is too much stress and I leave Mexico and Angel's father.

As crazy as it sounds I thought that once I got home even if I had to go on the system for a little bit I could find a job and raise my child. I am almost 40 years old.

Enter Gordon Campbell who changes all the welfare rules and makes it super hard to get welfare, gives a very low rate and well it was hard. I was also very naive, I had no idea that daycare is $700 a month and a  babysitter is $10- $15 an hour...

But if I hadn't had all that debt I believe my life would have been so much different.

And if the education system wasn't totally f-d up with course cancellations and fraudlent courses that offer programs that don't live up to what they say they teach.

I am not the only one...there are thousands of stories like this.
So if Elizabeth can fix it, she's definitely got my vote. 

I hope and pray my child will have a much better life and never experience the difficulties I have had.  She's had to deal with enough poverty as it is in her life.

Yes people have helped(And I am SUPER GRATEFUL for the help) but it's been hard...a lot harder than I let on many times. .I have learned it is Best to just smile and say "I'm fine!!" 

The truth is life is shitty sometimes, but if all these things had not happened I would not have my beautiful little cherub. So it is what it is and I am happy but I pray that it will be better for the next generation and my kid.

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