Category: Finances

Physically distanced job searching | Guest blogger Cassidy Brown

For students, the months of March and April mark a time of preparing resumes and cover letters, and starting the summer job search. Between tuition and basic living expenses, as students we need to know that we have a reliable income for the summer!

The transition from the busyness of classes and exams to summer jobs can often be a hard and stressful time. Obviously, the COVID-19 pandemic has posed an extra challenge in this year’s job search. Many students at CMU work at summer camps, or take this time to do practicum, and as summer plans get cancelled or postponed, it’s critical to find a job that will provide enough income throughout the summer.

Guest blogger Cassidy Brown

So, I decided to start the job search, and here is what I found.

1. People are still hiring!

This surprised me. I thought that with non-essential businesses closing, that would mean the job market is non-existent. There aren’t as many jobs, and options are narrow, but if you have the time to search through your local job postings, you just might find something good!

2. Graduates are in luck!

I’ve seen many companies who are hiring online tutors (specifically in English) to do online tutoring through Zoom, but they want applicants to have a completed bachelor’s degree. With schools closed, parents don’t always have time to assist their children with learning and are looking for people to help their children succeed during this time.

3. Cleaning, cleaning, and more cleaning!

Medical facilities as well as other essential businesses that remain open now have much more cleaning to do and are hiring people in part-time positions to help keep these businesses sanitary and up to all the current health codes. However, these jobs are more high risk, and require that you have no contact with people who have had symptoms or who have tested positive.

4. Fast food all the way!

As dine-in areas of restaurants close, the drive-through line only gets longer! Many businesses are hiring people to work fast food windows, as well as prepare food.

5. There is always government funding!

While it isn’t the same as having a job, and might not be an ideal option for you, the government has rolled out the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) and the Canadian Emergency Student Benefit (CESB). If you qualify, these Federal financial aid programs should get you some money to put towards education in the fall. Keep an eye on your school email for more info on that from Heidi Nighswander-Rempel, CMU’s Financial and Student Services Advisor.

Websites like Indeed also have sections where you can specify what type of job and hours you’re looking for, and you can even specify if you want to work online. Talk to friends and family and see what kinds of jobs you can find.

So, if you’re already bored with the “nothingness” that social distancing has brought to some of our lives, freshen up your resume and see who is hiring!

– Cassidy Brown, 2nd-year Peace and Conflict Transformation Studies student

So you want to write a winning scholarship essay…

Everyone wants free money, am I right? But the idea of writing an essay can seem rather daunting! We realize the sacrifice and determination it takes to sit down on a free weekend to write an essay between other high school assignments, so we thought we would save you some time and effort by helping you write an essay that is a cut above the rest!

1. Have a point!

We have given you questions to guide your thoughts and we do want you to answer all the questions posed, but we are expecting you to incorporate those questions into a larger narrative. Make sure your essay has a unified statement, thesis, or argument behind it. For example, the leadership award asks you to engage three questions, all which should link back to your main point. Not only will this help you to stay on task, it helps us to read and understand your writing. The last thing you want us to be asking ourselves when reading your essay is “now what point is s/he trying to get at, again?”

2. Uniqueness is key

Support your argument with examples from your own life, and tell us why it matters. We aren’t looking for journal entries but we are looking to see that you have thoughtfully engaged the topics in your own life. These are the kinds of essays that stand out above the rest. For example, if you’re applying for the Academic Merit Award and the essay is asking you to write about the importance of diversity and dialogue, make sure you know what those words mean on a personal level, and you have a story or a strong researched argument to back up your opinion. 

3. Show some excitement

Readers know when there is emotional investment in the essay and when there isn’t. Don’t write about what you think you should write about; write about what interests you!

4. Proofread!

Always have someone else read your essay before submitting. Another eye may catch an embarrassing spelling or grammatical error you missed. Don’t let spelling and grammar mistakes be the reason your essay is tossed aside.

5. Cite reputable sources

Make sure you opinions can be backed up by other knowledgeable sources (NOT buzzfeed or Wikipedia). Choose an academic style like APA or Chicago and stick with this style the whole way through.

Remember, you are brilliant and you can do this! If you have further questions, feel free to reach out to your Admissions Counsellor.

Writing suggestions courtesy of the CMU Admissions Team

A place of belonging: A thank you to our donors

CMU would not exist without the generous support of our donors, and for them we are so incredibly grateful. Many students rely on and benefit from financial aid, and every year CMU celebrates the people and organizations who make this aid possible! This wonderful speech was given by 3rd year student Marnie Klassen, who thanked our donors on behalf of the students this past Tuition Freedom Day. Enjoy!

Marnie KlassenNearly three months ago, I sat behind the steering wheel of my friend’s car, driving towards Winnipeg after a summer home in BC, and listening to an interview with social researcher Brene Brown. She was talking about true belonging and said, “Fitting in is when you want to be part of something. Belonging is when other people want you.”

I grinned at the passing prairies because I knew that was exactly what I was returning to.

CMU is a place of making connections, and a place of belonging. I’d like to tell you a bit about my experience with these things, and how being able to make connections has created a space of belonging for me.

I arrived at CMU two years ago, pretty sure that I knew what I was doing. I would major in Communications and Media, and double minor in Biblical and Theological Studies alongside Peace and Conflict Transformation. Yeah…that didn’t happen. After a few classes, it was clear which conversations made me come more alive. My plans were upturned.

Since abandoning my 18-year-old-self’s plan, something miraculous has happened – I have begun seeing and making connections. What does this look like exactly?

Technically, it means that I’m pursuing an interdisciplinary degree in Social Theology with a communications minor. But technical terms don’t tell you much—let me instead tell you what I’ve experienced here at CMU.

I lived in dorm for two years, and was drawn into a community full of commonality and difference. A few months into my time here, I found myself a part of a group of friends all studying different things—there was the composer, the music therapist, the philosopher, the poet, the peacemaker, among others. There we were, sharing cafeteria meals and constantly gleaning from each other’s learning. I still sometimes forget that I did not, in fact, take Business Ethics last year, for all of the wonderful and intriguing tidbits that permeated dinner conversations.

"CMU is a place of making connections and a place of belonging"I didn’t only eat with peers. Eventually I began eating a lunch or two a week with professors, and realized that not only was I developing relationships with them and the ideas they brought to the intellectual table, but they had their own relationships that they were happy to welcome me into. I would eat quiche with faculty members Kenton Lobe and Chris Huebner, and would be drawn into conversation not about sustainable development or Michel Foucault, but about cyclocross racing. The people and ideas I was dovetailing with were also constantly connecting.

The real learning came when the connections began to move from conversation to classroom to experience.

In Introduction to Sociology, I wrote about bicycle commuting, interviewing three winter cyclists from Winnipeg and postulating that their interaction with their place increased the ways they were able to build social relationships, rooting their identity as neighbour in their concrete neighborhoods. At the time it was very theoretical for me, as I felt I did not have a neighbourhood, living at CMU and all, and I was not a cyclist. Months later, in The Study of Voluntary Simplicity, I took up a simplicity practice. In an effort to discover what this simplicity business was all about, I began to spend time outside every day. Suddenly I had a neighbourhood. The trees of the Assiniboine Forest and the deer prancing frantically across Grant Avenue were my neighbours, inviting me into their space of belonging.

This fall, I am living off campus for the first time, and while my academic work is still significant, I wonder if my most important work is not my walk to and from church each week. The theoretical learning in which I partook a year ago has translated into the way I live my life with others, the very grounding notion of belonging in a neighborhood, to a community rooted in its place.

This is not a small thing. Entering a space at CMU where I can make these connections between disciplines, and between academia and my own life has allowed me to find a space of belonging. Coming from three provinces away, it is no insignificant feat to build a home in a place. And yet that is what I have been enabled to do here. I keep coming back to a line from a friend’s thesis which she presented two years ago. She wrote, “Learning is a practice in community,” and I think that’s exactly right. We would not be able to learn and become in the same way in isolation.

And so, dear donors, government, and churches, thank you. Thank you for making possible this space where not only can we students learn to read and write and study well, but where we can make connections to the other parts of our lives and learn to belong to each other. Thank you for your prayers, your participation in our community, and your generosity of heart and resource. May we receive these gifts well and continue to create spaces of belonging, as might fit in the Kingdom of God.

Financial aid: A source of hope and confidence

University is a fantastic experience…but your bank account might try to convince you otherwise after you’ve spent a semester or two in school.

Lacey Siemens - Financial Aid: A Source of Hope and Confidence

For a student moving away from home, expenses go beyond paying for school and textbooks. The cost of living, groceries, gas tanks, and more, dig deep into the bank account and can be extremely intimidating. How are you ever going to make that much in one summer? Well I can assure you there are resources to help you cover the costs of university.

Scholarships that I have received have provided a source of relief and comfort during my time at CMU. This past summer I had the opportunity to work for a drop-in centre that provided snacks, supper, and day programs for children in the north end. This opportunity was rewarding in countless ways, and truly helped me develop skills in areas that will help me in my career as a music therapist. Yet, in this position, I was not able to earn enough to pay for even one semester. In making the decision to pursue experience in this field, I sacrificed a comfortable, high-paying job and free rent at home.

After paying rent for the whole summer, I barely broke even. But it was during this time that I experienced firsthand God’s love and provision. I received a letter informing me that I was being awarded a CMU academic excellence award, in addition to a generous scholarship from a CMU donor. This aided in covering my tuition expenses and fees, along with the cost of living as an out-of-province student.

Lacey Siemens - Financial Aid: A Source of Hope and Confidence

This summer was a time of relying on God to provide the means for me to continue studying at CMU. The day I received the letters outlining the scholarships I had been awarded, I remember calling my parents and laughing about the concerns that had us anxiously praying months previous. Scholarships are so much more than just a basis for financial support. They are a source of hope and confidence. Some generous person is showing they believe in you through their willingness to help you on your journey.

Use the tools and resources available to you, and don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help by applying for scholarships. The funds you receive might just be the hope and confidence you need to kick-start your dreams.

Lacey Siemens is in her first year of a music therapy degree at CMU.

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