Against the Odds: A BC Student’s Story

Last year's Education Contest generated stories of struggle and perseverance from students and graduates across British Columbia. Here, Ainslinn Barnes from Merritt, BC, shares her struggle to make ends meet while attending school.

Being a student in 2017, we are expected to live off of tiny student loans and put ourselves tens of thousands of dollars into debt to become productive members of society. 

This is not just. And yet we are told that education is the door to the world. Depending on your social status as well as your financial balance, this door is sometimes barely open. Education is the key to success, and yet our government is enslaving its people in debt, rather than providing opportunities to grow academically.

I was born and raised in low-income housing, and was put into protective custody and became a permanent ward of the court when I was 11-years old. My mother could not provide for her children. As the youngest, I was the only one taken away. I saw the hardships my mother faced and I promised myself I would do well in school and never end up fighting day-to-day to make ends meet.

Everyone had low expectations for me, but it was that prejudice that set a fire in my soul and has motivated me to work as hard as I could every day to prove that I was as capable as everyone else.

Education gave me the strength to face each day and to do my very best. Education kept my life on track and helped other kids see me as normal. Education has led me to this very moment, chasing my dreams of business.

I work two jobs while attending a full-time program. These two jobs help me make ends meet, while I work my tail off for two years in a Business Administration program. It’s hard to do homework or see loved ones when school, homework and my jobs fill every day of the week.

I feel like a constant anchor is dragging behind me everywhere I go. This anchor is the financial burden, a heavy, constant reminder that I cannot take a day off to rest. I have to keep going because there is no other option.

Higher education shouldn't be such a heavy burden. If you agree that the BC Government should invest in post-secondary education, pledge to vote to support colleges and universities in the upcoming provincial election