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Opinion: A Carleton student’s plea for normalcy

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Carleton chapter.

Once the snow starts to melt and the sun is in the sky for long hours of the day, deadlines creep up and the end-of-term stress catches us all off guard. While many of us university students are still recovering from the first semester, March and April are two of the busiest, most stressful months of the year.

For some, it’s time to start packing up and moving, starting up a co-op position, completing final assignments, or even graduating. Now couple all of that stress with an indefinite strike on campus.

CUPE 4600 members have been on strike for the past week and a half, but the fear of what may come with a strike has been ongoing for a month now. We knew it was coming, but never what that meant for us. In the weeks prior, Carleton students were receiving email updates frequently from the university, reminding us of the looming strike deadline as if we had any control over the matter. It was the hot topic in all of my classes, even ones not taught by a contract instructor or with a teaching assistant, but no one had any real answers.

After 11 days of striking, the university has to make the decision to either not administer grades or to extend the school term. This is the only thing we all know for certain. My university, which I was so excited to have gotten accepted to, my program is one of the best for journalism in Canada, so why do I feel like the students are being withheld information? 

On the first day of the strike, I went down to the picket line to report on the rally, where I was able to speak with several organizers, protestors and community members. In those 3 hours that I spent conducting interviews and listening to their pleas, I learned more than I did from weeks of emails.

My frustration only grew after that. Frustration that my tuition doesn’t go to the people educating me, frustration that some of those grading my assignments can’t afford to buy groceries, and frustration that students as a collective have been so in the dark that some are blaming protestors for the extended term.

Every time I walk onto campus from the bus stop at Bronson Avenue, I am filled with guilt. Hearing my instructors, classmates, and coworkers begging for a fair deal and support while I walk through the crowds with my head turned down. That shameful feeling that comes from crossing that picket line to get to my other classes. But, what other choice do I have? I could skip my classes to stand in solidarity but would that even make a difference? Would I be risking the last couple of grades that might be viable for this term?

Time is running out, the days are getting longer and the end of the academic year is fast approaching. I’ll be going into my fourth year at Carleton University in the fall of 2023; my grade twelve year was interrupted by a global pandemic; I spent the first year entirely online and the second year under restrictions. This has not been a normal experience by any means, and I’m scared for what’s to come. The thought of another year should be exciting, instead, it’s daunting.

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Claire Hutcheon

Carleton '24

Claire Hutcheon is a third year Bachelor of Journalism student with a minor in English Literature. Her passions include writing, travel, sports, and hanging out with friends. Additionally to HerCampus, Claire is involved with the Charlatan, and Raven's Sports Business Club.