As the recipient of the CAWEE Scholarship, I have been asked to contribute to this addition of Connected. The request was principally to identify what I will use the award for. It seemed such a simple question at first. Yet, the drafting of this article has, in fact, become quite challenging. It has required me to genuinely reflect on what will be the most beneficial use of five hundred dollars.
As many readers will understand, graduate studies are an exceptionally expensive endeavour. Over the course of a two-year MBA program, the award represents only half a percent of the money paid to the university for tuition. Do not think I mean to suggest the award is insignificant or undesired. This is certainly not the case. I am very pleased to accept the CAWEE Scholarship and humbled by being selected as the recipient. Nonetheless, while the money could reduce my overall tuition, I feel as though it would be ‘lost’ among bank loans, government grants, and school bursaries. Instead, I could suggest it will support my living expenses and could contribute to anything from rent or groceries to mandatory health insurance or public transport fees, but this seems banal. I am lucky to have a supportive family network. While they are unable to contribute financially, I do delight in semi-regular meal contributions. As a hint for those with children or family members undertaking post-secondary studies, leftover casseroles go a long way to easing the burden caused by completing assignments late into the night!
The work I do on-campus, both as a Teaching Assistant and Peer Support Officer, also help to cover my day-to-day costs and, as importantly, allow me to impart knowledge and learning from my own experiences as well as gain a different perspective and understanding from the students I support. It is unfortunate to note there are not enough on-campus positions for every graduate student. Even where on-campus positions are available, generally graduate students are ineligible. This is due to the Canadian Federal Government providing tax concessions for the employment of undergraduate students, but not those of graduate level. Apologies for making mention of my displeasure at this particular policy however, if there are readers who have influence in Federal politics, please take notice.
Returning to consideration of university expenses, one that many students overlook until courses commence is related to books and study materials. The power of technology has seen a transition from paper documents and published books in print to online resources. While I appreciate the convenience of online resources and the associated environmental benefits, not being part of the ‘Millennial’ generation does sway me to prefer printed materials. Online resources do have the added benefit of being less expensive than their printed counterparts, but remain unavailable for sharing or on-selling. As such, I have concluded, the best use of the CAWEE Scholarship will be to purchase hard copy study materials. The award will just about cover the full cost of books for my upcoming fall and winter semesters. I expect to then donate these books to another studious and deserving student entering their final year. In this way, I believe the CAWEE Scholarship will not only benefit me, but continue to benefit others for at least one or two book edition updates.