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College strike pushes students to drop out

After a work stoppage halted college education for hundreds of thousands of young learners from across the province, students were given the opportunity to receive a full tuition refund if they chose to dropout. However, some students made the big decision before the strike came to an end.

The Algonquin Times caught up with a few of them who agreed to share their reasons.

Breyanne Gionet Paw

Breyanne Gionet Paw decided to drop out of the culinary management program as the strike was coming to an end. After graduating from the chef skills program last year, she was content enough with her accomplishments thus far and didn’t feel a need to continue with a second program.

Gionet Paw decided to share her thoughts and decision with her family and friends on Facebook on Nov. 21.

“After not getting to finish two of my favourite classes and missing an exam that could have improved my mark, I decided I am no longer going to stay in this program. I feel like I will learn all the best actually being out there in the workforce.”

Not only did the strike effect her education, it also took away from her work life. As a former employee of Subway in College Square, Gionet Paw began losing many hours.

“I went from working 30-plus hours during school, to five to 15 hours during the strike,” she said. “I lost a lot of money.”

Kara Elizabeth Brennan

Kara Elizabeth Brennan dropped out of her first year of the animation program a few days after the strike officially ended.

“I considered dropping out around week three to four,” said Brennan. “Especially when I heard that they’re not extending the year.”

Brennan was worried for her education after learning that her course would be condensed and her Christmas holiday would be shortened. She never expected the strike to last as long as it did.

“When I heard we’d get a full refund I decided to take it, come back next September, and actually learn all the material I paid for,” she said.

Hailey Jones

Hailey Jones decided to leave the construction engineering program in her first-year after realizing how the strike would affect her education.

“I originally didn’t consider dropping out at all actually,” said Jones. “I wanted to wait to see how the teachers would reconstruct the remainder of the semester.”

After attending a few classes when the strike ended, Jones felt that too much material was cut. Her projects and exams were also worth a lot more than they originally were. She decided to drop out because she wanted to learn all the material that could be offered to her.

“I do not regret dropping out at all.”

Isabella Cummings-Lloyd

While Isabella Cummings-Lloyd expected the strike to last as long as it did, she didn’t consider dropping out until after the third week.

“I was getting no work done, nor was I given any,” said Cummings-Lloyd. “So I was just working at Tim Horton’s and then I’d go home and do nothing.”

Cummings-Lloyd was a first-year child and youth care student. With some health concerns of her own, the decision to drop out became hinged on more than just academic stress.

“My health is more important to me than trying to make it by in school,” she said, “I do plan on going back in September.”

Natasha McDonough

Natasha McDonough knew she would be dropping out of her program, as soon as a potential refund was announced. As a second-year child and youth care student, she didn’t think the strike would last so long.

“I was actually okay with the strike at first,” said McDonough. “I laughed it off and figured it would only last two weeks at most.”

After the strike reached the one month mark, McDonough starting hoping the semester would be cancelled.

“I couldn’t imagine that we could make up for that much time being lost, without hindering the learning of students.”

McDonough doesn’t regret dropping out. She says she is glad to not be wasting her time and money.

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