How the Strike Stole Christmas

strike feature image

This post was submitted by concerned Ontario College student Emma Harris. 

It was 5 weeks before Christmas,
And all through the campus,
Not a student was stirring,
Not even a hippocampus (apparently).

The seasons have changed but the strike has not. With Christmas fast approaching, over 500,000 students in Ontario are waiting to hear a solution to this historic strike.

In the weeks leading up to the strike my classmates and I were reassured that “it’ll only last a week or two”; and that they’ve “never lost a semester before”. That is obviously not true now that we are entering the sixth week of the strike and the semester is rapidly disappearing.

The first week was a well needed rest during midterm season, and many thought of it as the reading week that was not previously planned. However, halfway through the second week we all began to get antsy. When will it end? Should I go home? Do I get a job? Should I transfer to a university? For some students, home is thousands of miles away. To go home not knowing how long you would be able to stay is a risk many weren’t able to take.

strike body image

Another thing we were promised was that “no student has ever failed a semester due to a strike”. It was reassuring to hear that in the beginning, but now things have changed. Semesters will either be pushed out or cancelled, graduation will be delayed for students in their final semester, and placements will have to be postponed.

Schooling aside, how will we, the students be able to pay for everything going forward now that our time to make money during the planned breaks will be shortened? The current contingency plan is for us to continue semester one into January, but at this point we might have to push into the summer when most of us would normally be working in order to get money for the next year.

The most recent attempt at a solution ended with 86% of faculty voting “no”. What does that mean for us? Another week of waiting? Another month? No one can tell us for sure.

strike sign here

What we do know for sure? We the students are not happy. Is this what college is all about? Spend a month and a half getting into a good routine, gaining momentum and good study habits only to be knocked down during midterms? If this strike had been resolved last summer, or during the first week of classes, we would be approaching exam time now – almost finished the semester. But instead we are waiting for the “higher ups” to decide if we can get the education we paid for.

I chose my college because I thought it would give me the education I needed for the career of my choice. I’m confident that they can still give me the schooling I need to succeed but with my future at stake – with “our” future at stake – I question my ability to succeed in the time we have left.

I look forward to this strike being over so I can go from stressing about picket lines, contingency plans and condensed semesters and return to being a typical student worrying about studying, assignments and exams.

For more information about the current strike status, consult your local college website.

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