Chrissy Lynn Trudel, 22

Growing up in a small town in Northern Ontario, I had no choice but to move away for my Bachelor degree. I am now pursuing my Master and had to move even father and spiral into more debt. I would not have been able to attend school if it was not for student loans and that should not be the case. The fact that we are going into college and university knowing that our only choice is to be in large amounts of debt is really discouraging. I feel like I am being punished for wanting to grow my knowledgebase in a field that I love. School should not be an automatic debt sentence. I currently owe over $37,000; this is not including my current year at the graduate level. I have undergone so much stress throughout my post-secondary journey primarily because of finances. Instead of just focusing on school and the stressors of being a student, like we are always told, I have to worry about how many meals I can budget in a semester, budgeting to visit my family for the holidays and participating in social events. If I did not have to worry about the money owned once I graduate, I could be a lot more relaxed and just enjoy being a student. There are so many great things about university: the life-long friends I have made, the extracurricular I am involved with, learning from my professors and peers, as well as so many other great experiences. Unfortunately these are all overshadowed by the stresses brought on by how much money I owe the government. To make matters worse, the amount I currently owe does not reflect the interest that will be added six months after I finish my program. Without the stress of student debt I could focus on what I came here to do – learn. I could enjoy the thought of finding a career path that I love without worrying if I will make enough to pay off my debt. Having a fresh and bright start after school could be a reality if student loans were not constantly on my mind. This is an issue that needs action immediately as too many students and graduates alike are suffering the realities of mass amounts of debt. This is something that impacts so many other areas of life like financial security and mental health and eliminating student debt would ensure so many aspects of our lives get a fresh start.

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