Fernando N.


2021 Scholarship Recipient
Scholarship Amount: $10,000
School: McMaster University
Program: Nursing

The loss of my father impacted my ability to afford university because the financial burden that was placed on my family. My plan was to attend McMaster University for their BScN (Nursing) program in the fall of 2019. I am currently enrolled in my second-year of this program, however, I had no choice but to work a part-time job during high school to get to this point. The passing of my father was the first real hardship in my life, however, in the spring of 2019 before beginning my first year at McMaster, I left my mother’s home due to abuse. I spent the summer of 2019 living with a few different friends as I don't have any family close by that I could live with. That summer was the hardest year of my life; however, I maintained a job to keep saving for school, and I searched for cheap housing near the university to live in starting in the fall.

Although I only had two backpacks worth of clothing, my friends mother helped me move in the few things I had and I had to buy all new/used furniture for my room in my student house which really exacerbated my already suffering financial situation. Additionally, I submitted my OSAP application as a family-breakdown, meaning that my application was assessed as an independent student rather than a dependent student due to my father passing and my mother not providing any support or being in my life at all and it was approved which helped me somewhat. However, if my father had adequate life insurance coverage I believe I would be in a much better place today as I could spend more time focusing on my studies. I have been working as much as I can during the summer when I am not enrolled in classes, however, I also have had to work during the school year to pay for my tuition and living expenses. The 2020 pandemic really took an even larger toll on me financially and mentally; I am currently now working 32 hours per week while also attending clinical placement in the hospital 12 hours per week, on top of my full-time course load. This year has been very difficult due to this schedule and I am really noticing a big impact on my grades. This is concerning to me because even though I am working so hard to pay tuition, pay rent, and buy groceries, my grades are now suffering. Even though life has been very difficult for me, as I stated before I still remain resilient. I know that no matter what gets in my way of success, my goals will still be there and the responsibilities that I must fulfil will still be waiting for me to complete. Although some days are harder than others, I always achieve my responsibilities because I want my father to be proud of me and I aspire to be a great nurse one day.

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