Jennifer, 27

I grew up in a family that suffers from colonial and intergenerational violence, substance abuse, mental illness and poverty. Since I was a small child I knew I wanted to break that cycle and boy did I try my damnedest to do so. I truly believed that if I worked hard enough in post-secondary that I would be able to get a decent job making a difference in my community. Little did I know that this would be a grand illusion. I have no stable job, which means I don't have a stable paycheque; I don't have benefits; and I don't have any savings. I also have learning disabilities that made it really difficult to work the way the university wanted me to work, so it took me 8 years to finish two and a half degrees that left me feeling completely burnt out and depressed. My student debt is roughly 65k. I keep asking myself why did I even bother going to school or even trying to make a better life for myself. It is really discouraging to people like me who desperately try to play the elitist game so that they don't have to continue living in poverty and fear. This is a perfect example of how systemic violence can consistently tear you down no matter how hard you work. All I want to do is work with people in my community, focus on my art, and start a family. I can't do any of this with my debt and the subpar education I received. I paid for a crap education that didn't equip me with any sort of job ready skills either. Thanks Ontario!

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