Students Helping Students: Living on One’s Own for the First Time
by kdesrochers on May 11, 2015 - 7:27pm
As a final project, I decided to volunteer. Volunteering gives a new sense of community involvement and opening one’s mind. I decided to take the knowledge I have obtained from living on my own at a young age to try and help others. Unfortunately, volunteering in today’s society is quite difficult to achieve; emails are sent, phone calls made, messages left, and yet no response. For the previous reasons, I decided to take the knowledge I have obtained from living on my own at a young age to try and help others. With the help of others, I created a series of documents for students that will be living on their own for the first time, either going into CEGEP or university, with information. The documents created will be available on both the CSA and FLIP Facebook pages, as well as in their independent offices. By incorporating the virtual and actual copies of the documents, no matter where a student goes, they will have the opportunity to get the information needed.
According to Aleksandra Sagan from CBC news, 14 per cent of people with federal student loans have defaulted within three years of leaving school”. Defaulting one’s debt is when someone is unable to meet his or her legal obligations on payments of what is owed. If students are able to have the information necessary at their disposal then students will be better prepared for their future by having an understanding of their financial situation. People do not usually realize how crucial it is to know where one’s money is going and how much of it. It is easy to spend more than one makes and only become aware when it is too late. Though Quebec has tuition prices at reasonable costs, schooling is still expensive, especially for young adults that do not have the experience of managing their money responsibly.
The documents created incorporate information concerning clinics, hospitals, restaurants, etc., as well as, contact information for health centers, tips on living on one’s own or with friends for the first time, and finally a sample budget that will be available to print and fill out for students to stay on track of their financials. When I first moved to my apartment, I had no idea where anything was, once I got sick I ended up going back to Bromont for a day to go to my clinic at home; when I had so much homework and did not have time to make a supper, I ended up eating toast and jam for supper. Health care, clinics, restaurants, etc. are not always evident until one actually needs them. If I had known where things were, I could have saved time from driving for an hour back home and missing classes to go and get medication five minutes away. As well, when a person knows more about the town they live in, it is easier to make the new place feel like home. Coming to a new town, a new school, a new apartment, was hard enough; and not having it feel like home made it that much harder. The budget sample was created as some students may already know about everything they have around them, however, they may not know about their financial situation or where their money is actually going and how much. Paying for textbooks, courses, and school supplies can make one’s money disappear quite fast, by keeping track of one’s income and spending will allow students to know how to manage their money in the best way that fits them.
The incorporation of having both the virtual and paper copy of the documents was thought of with the help of the TED talk on New Power. New Power is “like a current. It is made my many. It is open, participatory, and peer-driven. It uploads, and it distributes. The goal with new power is not to hoard it but to channel it” (Heimans). By having the documents available online, students are able to change the budget sample as it fits their situations; as well, students will not be bombarded with documents, but are able to look for and choose the ones needed.
The idea for this type of volunteer project, was first thought of with the help of another TED talk, where Robert Gupta found a way to put together two of his favourite things, music and medicine. Instead of using shock therapies, medication, restraints, etc., Robert Gupta illustrates how mental illness can be helped with music. Gupta based his life on the connection created between mental illness and music as a cure. As well with the recent strikes on austerity and the famous strike of Maple Spring in 2012, it has become evident that students want to know and understand where their money for tuition is going and are having growing concerns over paying their tuition. Gupta influenced me insofar as although volunteering is an important part of society, when deciding on what to do, one should choose the project that they know about or are familiar with, therefore, allowing one to truly be committed and value the difference possible made. Because I have experienced living on my own for two years now, paying for an apartment, schooling, clothing, food, etc. I believe that if I had been better prepared in my first semester, my transition would have gone much better. For students starting CEGEP living on their own, or those leaving to go to university, the documents offered from someone who has gone through the milestone may be quite helpful.
As an addition, from the experience I’ve obtained by creating a volunteer opportunity, I have decided to become a tutor and coach a U-12 girls soccer team over the summer. Volunteer has become something that I enjoy and believe to be extremely important and creating one can be just as rewarding, if not more.