Point of Order – Lack of employment and rising debt load is daunting for a Student by Stéphane Groulx

CFN – Cornwall’s job market can be tough, especially students. There are only so many well-paying employment opportunities for us in the community, and once they are filled it means that many of us will be forced into a situation where we will have to compete with non-student job seekers for employment in Cornwall.

While one might think this should not concern a student seeing as we have unique skills sets acquired in our post-secondary studies, oftentimes the non-students seem to have a higher success rate at obtaining employment, at least that is how it has been in my experience. I think the reason these non-students are often successful at getting these jobs is because they are a less costly investment on the employer. After all, if the employer is seeking to fill a permanent or full-time position, hiring a student who will be returning to their studies in the fall would mean that the position would become vacant again in the coming months, and that the employer will have to once again put time and effort into training another new hire. Essentially in cases such as the one presented, hiring a non-student would be beneficial to the employer because there is a higher chance at retaining that employee in the long-term.

Now on a personal note, for the last 4 years of my life it always seemed as if I never had to worry about employment. My life seemed forever busy back then, whether that be through school, with the militia, or working one of the many summer jobs I had somehow managed to acquire year after year. I always had a steady income, and my education always took top priority.

Flash forward to the present and my situation is drastically different. While education remains my top priority, much has changed. I no longer have the steady employment I came to rely on in the past, and that is profoundly frightening to me as a low-income student with an ever expanding debt load. Just my first year of University alone has put me roughly $15,000 in debt to the provincial and federal governments. Imagine if you will, how much money I will owe once I have completed my 4th year and obtained my honours degree. It makes me hesitant in my aspirations of going further academically once I’ve received my degree. I may end up having to once it comes time to it in 2015, consider putting off graduate studies in order to work full-time in order to pay off my debt load.

These are some of the realities I have observed in my personal life as well as for students seeking employment here in Cornwall, but the issue is far more complex than that.

Our parents, teachers, mentors, and society in general infer to the student that higher education, be it College or University, is the key to economic prosperity, yet those of us who come from low-income and middle class families are made to suffer on our path to the land of milk and honey simply because we are not as well off as those who were lucky enough to have been born into more wealthy families.

Now I am not denying that those who are successful and comfortable financially did not work hard for their riches. I am merely expressing my concern with how unfair the current system is to those of us who are not as fortunate.

It is my opinion that one’s merit and willful determination to obtain a higher education should be held to a higher regard by the system than one’s monetary capacity. Those of us from low-income and middle class families should not be made to suffer mountainous debt and ever increasing tuition fees. Education is equally a right as much as it is a privilege, and it ought to be properly extended to all those willing to learn.

Born and raised in Cornwall Ontario, Stéphane is a social activist and political science student at the University of Ottawa who is avidly passionate about politics, policy-making, as well as getting youth involved in the democratic process.

Stéphane also loves to observe and explore his surroundings, take part in rational discussion, learn new things, write, and meet new people.


If you wish to contact or sponsor Mr. Groulx email us at info@cornwallfreenews.com or call our hotline at 613 361 1755 or follow him on twitter   @StephaneGroulx

Best Western Cornwall


  1. Wasn’t any different 30 years ago. Stop whining and pick up a hammer.

  2. It was different 35 years and more ago. And there aren’t any hammers to pickup, just bricks. beware…

    “There’s a battle outside
    And it’s ragin’
    It’ll soon shake your windows
    And rattle your walls
    For the times they are a-changin’.

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