Shae Lynn C.


2019 Scholarship Recipient


Scholarship Amount: $10,000
School: University of Calgary
Program: Kinesiology

My name is Shae-Lynn and I am a third-year kinesiology student at the University of Calgary. Like most university students, I experience daily stress caused by a ton of factors such as financial struggles, academic pressure and time management, However, these issues have significantly increased in the last 6 months because my father was murdered on March 10th in my hometown of Valemount, British Columbia.

The week that my dad was murdered was the busiest, most stressful week in my academic career. I had 3 mid-terms to write and countless assignments that were due. I felt extreme pressure about falling behind so I chose to write one of the mid-terms the day following his death and I only lost school for one week.

However, his death has also had a positive impact in my postsecondary plans. It has become a motivator for me to push harder and to step outside my comfort zone therefore I’ve decided to study abroad in the winter semester of 2020.

Because I’ve lost financial support from him and he didn’t have life insurance, I’m required to take out more student loans. This means that I have to work so much harder in school to get the best grades that I can in order to create as many options as possible.

Because his death was criminal, there are court hearings. In addition, he lived alone meaning there’s been an abundant amount of work to do, to deal with his house and his belongings. I was required to make multiple trips back to Valemount in the last 6 months in order to deal with these affairs. I live 7 hours away so the cost of transportation, food and lodging has been significant.

I now am fully responsible to pay for rent, food, tuition, phone bill, car insurance and gas whereas my dad previously helped me with these costs when he was able to. Life insurance would have lightened the financial stress I feel and allow me to focus more on school. 

I lived with my father for the summer of 2018. However, having lost him, I will now be responsible to finance food and lodging independently when I return home during breaks from school. The emotional toll of this scenario has been immense. I’m experiencing extreme anxiety, stress and anger. It’s rare that I make it through a day without crying or having a panic attack. The grief that I’ve experienced has been tremendously exhausting leaving me feeling worn out at the best of times. 

I’ve been working incredibly hard to stay on track with my school plans. I worked hard on managing the grief I’ve experienced since his death. I make time to process my emotions. I see a counsellor every couple of weeks. I plan to attend a homicide support group and I can take control over the things in my life that I can such as my diet, exercise and sleep schedule.  To provide for myself financially, I held a full-time job during the summer and have since become part-time during the school year. Although, it’s been difficult to balance the various aspects of my life, it’s been necessary to reduce the stress related to finances.  I’ve also applied for more student loans for this year and have worked hard on budgeting.

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