For college and university students, the end of April means the end of exams, which means getting to come home for the summer.
Although this means free homemade food and going to the lake, it also signals it’s time to find a summer job—a task many are having difficulties with this year.
Heather Sieders, a Lakehead University student just finishing her third year of Honours English and concurrent education, expected to come home and work at the Ontario Travel Information Centre here.
But when the Ministry of Tourism abruptly closed the centre as of April 30, her plans changed and she had to go look for another job.
Sieders has found employment at Walmart for the summer. But like many other students she applied to multiple other places but has yet to hear back.
She plans on working most of the summer to help pay for her return to school in the fall.
Not every moment can be spent working, though. Sieders plans on taking a break and possibly going camping, as well as allotting time to complete an online course.
With five finals this past semester, hopefully this will help lighten the load next term.
Meanwhile, first-year commerce student Sarah DeGagne got home at the end of April. She said her first year of post-secondary education was really good, although it was challenging and a lot different from high school.
“I don’t think anybody really expects how much different it’s going to be,” she remarked.
DeGagne was able to land a job working in the front office of the Fort Frances Times. But she noted many of her friends haven’t been as lucky,with many still struggling to find full-time summer work.
While some have found jobs, they’re not necessarily the ones that they were hoping to get.
When DeGagne is not working, she plans to relax while getting ready for her next year at the University of Manitoba.
In the meantime, she’s excited to simply “not be at school,” and is looking to acquire some work experience this summer when she’s not spending time at the family cabin on her weekends off.
Like many other students, DeGagne quickly has found that coming back to Fort Frances from a larger city can be just as much of a culture shock as moving there was.
In Winnipeg, she said, “everything you could ever possibly want to do is just a 10-minute drive away” while here there is much less to do.
This may be one of the reasons Reece Brown planned on staying in London, Ont. this summer. He said that “getting a job was actually very easy,” but that getting full-time work was difficult seeing as he only has six months of experience as a 3-D animator.
When his only other option became to stay and work as a telemarketer, Brown decided to come home and hope for better luck here.
While it will be difficult for him to find a job in his field, Brown hopes he’ll still find time to build up a portfolio. In addition to that, he looks forward to seeing old friends and spending time at the cabin—a recurring theme among returning students.
Other students are graduating and must begin to look for full-time permanent work.
Graduating this fall, Brittany York plans to come home this summer and begin looking for a full-time job as a dental hygienist. She’s spent the last two years attending St. Clair College in Windsor, where she had lived in residence.
“My program is very demanding,” she noted. “I’ve been busy in clinic, working on projects, and doing a lot of studying for tests.
“Now that all my classes are over, I’m studying for my final board exam,” she added.
While York said she enjoyed living in southern Ontario, she would prefer to settle closer to home.
“Ideally, I want to work close to home because my family is here and family is very important to me,” she remarked.
While jobs may seem scarce, they also seem to be what continues to draw students back to Fort Frances.
Whether students want to live in Fort Frances or not, they come back—looking forward to the lake, seeing friends, and hopefully making money so they can go back to school again.