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Life lessons : The University Years

May 10, 2009

Today I am continuing the story of how I got to be the frugal common cent saving mom that I am. Two weeks ago I told you about the Teen years and well now it is time that the teen goes to university.

When I was in grade 12 my mom married an awesome man named Alfred Smoat. He was ex military, strict, and he loved my mom and treated her well. For her this was one of the very best things to happen in her life. Now with a father figure in the house things were a changing. Home seemed to have more structure.

Shortly after my mom married my stepfather they were transferred from jobs in Winnipeg, Manitoba were both had worked at Deer Lodge Hospital to the east coast where mom began working at Shearwater and my stepdad at the Dockyards. Finicially things seemed good and there was enough money around. I was just graduating high school and decided instead of going to the University of Manitoba where I had been accepted into the Education program ( and yes I wanted to be a teacher), I would move to Nova Scotia and attend Dalhouise doing a Bachelor of Arts. That choice forever changed my life.

I went to Dal for the first year of my Bachelor of Arts. This was my first time getting a loan, and credit, and both came way to easy.

Life lesson

1. Don’t do school on loans alone. I don’t think students realize how much that education will cost them, and then as well what happens if you cant afford to pay it back is not pretty. I know from experience.

2.Never give an eighteen year old a credit card. I was offered and got 6 my very first year of university, and guess what they were not used wisely. I had no idea what credit was or what happeened if you didnt pay on time.

After spending one year at Dalhousie I missed Winnipeg very much. I decided to continue my education at the University of Manitoba, so in the fall of 1984 I was headed back west. I decided I wanted to join a sorority. I attended rush and then pledged Alpha Phi. I loved the sisterhood and the connections that came with sisterhood. There was a downside though for me. I was living a lifestyle that well I couldnt afford, after all do you realize how much a formal dress costs??

3. Another life lesson here, don’t try to keep up with others around you. I wish I understood that at the time.

I got myself more and more in debt, and even at one point worked 3 part time jobs in an effort to have it all and be it all. I did have some successes at school. I lead a student campaign that stopped a new radio station from going up on campus that would of cost present and future students millions.

4. Learn how to connect and network was another lesson I learned. That campaign got one of the largest voter turn outs that a Canadian university had ever seen. I was proud and still am of what we did that day.

I really enjoyed most of my university years but I also feel that I was two people sorority girl and then there was me who really at times felt lost in it all. My time at university was cut  short my final year when my mom got sick my final year and I returned to Nova Scotia.

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