About Me

undergrad RN
I'm a twenty-something Canadian student. After stumbling through a few years of college, I finally managed to get into the nursing school of my dreams, where I hope to graduate in 2012 with a nursing baccalaureate degree. I want to offer an honest look into how a modern nurse is educated, both good and bad. Eventually I hope to compare my education to my day-to-day career and see how it holds up. Whatever happens, it should be somewhat entertaining. Find me on allnurses.com!
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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Listen to the money talk!

Paying off my TD student line made me realize that I haven't addressed student loans yet. School is expensive. I am nowhere near rich.

Students generally have two choices for loans: governmental and/or credit lines with a bank. The latter I wouldn't use again if I have the choice. I needed it for my high school upgrading because the tuition was around $1700/term and not eligible for government loans.

This year I reapplied for federal/provincial student loans through the ALIS Student Finance portal. I used them in '06 for my Design program as well, but I wayyyy overdrew what I needed. My reasoning at the time was "less work, more study", but in reality that turned into "same work, some study, more debt". I got about $13,000 in loans that year alone, and that is going to be hell to pay back.

Word to the wise (or not so wise) students who may find their way here and haven't yet realized the following: STUDENT DEBT IS REAL DEBT. Even though it seems like pretend Monopoly money when you take thousands of dollars from the government (technically, from your future self!) and spend copious amounts on books and tuition, and you get stoked because you have an extra three grand to burn... take a minute to work out how long you will have to work to pay that back. So your shiny new RN position pays, what, $25 an hour? I mean net pay, not gross. Say you owe $40,000 in student loans to the Man. After paying off your rent, utilities, nourishment, and all your fixed expenses, you're left with $8/hr as disposable money. that's 5000 HOURS of working at your new job. 125 full-time weeks. Almost 2.5 "volunteering" YEARS!! Without buying anything. And not including interest. All so you didn't have to work during school. Well, you'll be working now! 

This year I've only applied for what I was sure I needed (about $9500, overall). Edulinx and the NSLSC surprised me by throwing in a few bursaries that I was not expecting - about $4000 in free money! My intentions are to use what I absolutely have to, and bank the rest in a high-interest savings account. It would be nice if I could graduate with no debt, but that's quite the pipe dream. Thus, I will content myself with as little debt as possible.

I take debt very seriously (thanks, Gail), and I wish someone had pointed out the simple math to me 3 years ago. Before I acquired $6,000 of bullshit "surplus" loans.

I'm not sure if I mentioned before that I am on my own to finance my education. My parents, bless their hearts, would rather not be fiscally involved. While I sometimes am jealous of other students who don't have to pay rent or get jobs, most days I am exceptionally proud of what I have accomplished. When I get that parchment on my wall, it will be my own.

To that end, I scored a sweet job last winter - working with the municipal government, getting paid (very) good taxpayer money. It's all telephone work, so it will be highly conducive to studying, and it's only a few minutes' commute from school and my house. Most of the people working there do that as their career. Man, if anyone had ever suggested to me when I was a support worker that in less than 5 years I would be making twice as much hourly, without actually accomplishing any Post Sec, I would have laughed and laughed. It'll be very conducive to Operation Low-Debt-Education! I haven't told my boss about switching to part-time for school yet... I'm still working up the cojones.

Anyway, here's the breakdown on what I got approved for. If you apply online they are pretty quick about getting the results back.

Your application for financial assistance has been approved:

from SEPTEMBER 03, 2008 to MAY 23, 2009

You are eligible to receive:

TOTAL $10,585

Yes indeed, I am a lucky ducky. Spending it wisely, that's the tricksy part.


Cartoon Characters said...

I also paid my own way through. I first starved to death (nearly)while taking the LPN course on a $100 per month stipend, and then worked full time as an LPN while taking all my University courses (pre-req) then challenged the RN access exams and then completed the RN program/no breaks until graduation. It was the only way I could do it. You are right....my diploma is OWNED by me.

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