BY REBECCA SOARES
Christmas may not be ruined for college students but their school year definitely got more difficult.
On Oct. 16, colleges across Ontario began a strike that lasted five weeks and because of it, the remaining semester, as well as the winter semester, got extended.
While the strike didn’t impede Christmas plans for many students, it affected those with jobs.
In October and November, students couldn’t sign up for more hours because they didn’t know when the strike would end. Others thought about looking for work but didn’t because they couldn’t tell potential employers how long they would be available.
“I basically just sat at home for five weeks,” said Christian Apostolovski, a second-year journalism broadcast student at Conestoga College, “I considered getting a job but the strike was only supposed to last three weeks so I tried waiting it out.”
However, some students were lucky enough to pick up extra shifts, but that didn’t mean it was without complications.
“I worked extra throughout the strike but it was hard to know when I’d be working and when I’d finally be told it’s time to head back to school. I essentially had to be on an on-call basis which was difficult for me and my employer,” said Georgina Vitelli, a first-year practical nursing student.
Now that classes have resumed, students who have jobs can’t work full time during the usual three-week Christmas break because classes are being held for two of those three weeks.
“I feel like I have to be more money cautious to make up for what I lost,” said Emma Van Haaren, an interior decorating student at Conestoga.
It’s not just the remainder of 2017 that’s difficult for students either,
“I didn’t have travel plans for around Christmas but I did for January and because of the semesters getting extended, I can’t go on my trip anymore which sucks,” said Vitelli.
And she’s not alone.
“Since the winter semester was extended as well, it interferes with the summer job I have and when I was supposed to begin that,” said Van Haaren.
Students say the extension of both semesters has interfered with their ability to earn and save money, creating a financial burden.
“I’m actually heading to the financial office because of everything that’s happened,” said Vitelli.
Conestoga students believe the college should consider helping every student and not just those who fit the criteria for the “hardship” fund.