Students often encounter barriers to their success that stem from the personal rather than the student side of their lives. Being a student in a post-secondary program requires dedication and hard work. Unfortunately, the other demands of your busy life will not disappear.
The information and suggestions on this page may help you prepare yourself and those close to you. And remember, the Counselling Services team are always ready to help as well.
There are six main areas that potential students need to consider in order to manage their personal lives effectively while at school:
|Accommodating your special needs in school||Finding a place to live|
|Adjusting to school after being in the workforce||Living with a spouse/significant other|
|Childcare||Paying for your education|
Adjusting to school after being in the workforce
It's very common for people who have been out of school for a time to be fearful about returning to education. They have uncertainties about their ability to function as a student again (feeling that their "student skills" are rusty) or that they won't be up to the same standards as other students in their program of study.
Saskatchewan Polytechnic has found that students who return to school after a period away from formal learning tend to do very well. In our opinion, the mature student excels because:
- They have not stopped learning. They have picked up skills and knowledge in whatever they have been doing since leaving school.
- They tend to be very goal directed. They know why they are returning to school and are intent upon working toward and achieving their goals.
- They tend to be very motivated. In many cases, they have given up a pay cheque, time with their families and made other sacrifices to return to school. They are willing to devote the time and effort to reach their goals.
Finding a place to live
This is very important to student success. If you don't feel safe and comfortable within your living space, it will be difficult for you to concentrate on the big job of being a student. If you have roommates, you will want them to have a similar lifestyle to what you will have as a student.
Ideally, you will want your accommodation to:
- Have easy access to the campus you are attending
- Be affordable - within your budget
- Be comfortable and secure enough to meet your needs
- Provide access to the services you require
- Have a quiet space to do your school work
Saskatchewan Polytechnic Student Associations' maintain housing registries in all our campus cities and student family housing is available in Prince Albert and in all our campus cities. Check these resources on the housing page.
The Office of Residential Tenancies can also provide you with information about the landlord/tenant relationship and your rights and responsibilities.
Living with a spouse/significant other
Students find it difficult enough to focus on their studies without having an unhappy spouse or significant other to contend with too. To avoid this very common situation, here are some tips:
- Involve those closest to you in your decision to pursue further education. Talk about your reasons for wanting to pursue your education and the goals you have set for yourself in doing so.
- Look realistically at the changes that will come about as you begin your program. These changes may include having less time and money to spend and having to relocate together. It may also be necessary for you, the student, to leave your family behind to attend school at another location.
- Have a frank discussion about the support you hope the people in your life can provide you and the long-term benefits that you see your education providing to everyone concerned.
Paying for your education
Each year, there are students who must leave their program because they didn't have the money to make ends meet. While some sacrifices in lifestyle must be made to obtain an education, your basic needs for food, shelter and clothing must be met. If they're not, the resulting stress can frustrate your effort to be a successful student.
Essentially, there are two funding considerations:
A. How much will I need?
Add your expenses together making sure to include rent, food, toiletries, transportation, utilities (electricity, phone and heat), recreation and other personal costs as well as tuition and books. Then look at your financial resources from loans, savings, parental support and scholarships or bursaries. If you are unsure of amounts speak to other students, a counsellor or advisor.
Can Learn is a government of Canada website that can help you estimate how much money you will need for your post-secondary education and offers links to post-secondary financial resources.
B. What sources of funding are possible?
- The most common source of funding for Saskatchewan Polytechnic students is through student loans
- You may be eligible for sponsorship through the provincial employment services.
- You can apply for scholarships, bursaries and awards. Saskatchewan Polytechnic will give away $1.5 million in awards each academic year and awards in every certificate and diploma program.
Additional funding sources for Aboriginal Students are also listed on the saskpolytech.ca/scholarships page.
If the points above aren't enough to convince you, please be comforted by the fact that Saskatchewan Polytechnic has a number of people who want to help you succeed.
You can get help with study skills, time management, test taking strategies, essay writing and many others by contacting Learning Services. Instructors can help you when you are having academic difficulties.