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Update: How Lindsay is Financing Higher Education as a Mature Student

Funding higher education is hard, especially as a mature student. There isn’t as much access to funding and you’ve got many more financial responsibilities, like your car, house, and dependents. To share some inspiration we wanted to showcase Lindsay’s exciting journey and how she is making higher education a reality.

Where are they Now? 

In April of 2018, we met Lindsay and were so impressed by her passion for life and her drive to pursue higher education that we asked her to share her journey with us—it’s not easy as a mature student to fund a degree! Our original story follows our 2020 update below.

We caught up with Lindsay in July 2020 to see how her educational journey is going and how classes have been as the world manages a global pandemic. Lindsay’s still as passionate and driven as ever!

Lindsay in Petra, Jordan. A trip she’s wanted to take since childhood.

HigherEdPoints: So Lindsay, it’s been a while since we spoke to you, what’s new in your world?

Lindsay: Some updates from me would be I have now been to 38 countries. I am currently enrolled in all of my second-year classes and will be done my diploma at the end of December 2021. I have a 4.0 GPA and have held a position on the Dean’s List every semester since returning to school as a mature student. This is a drastic improvement from my previous post-secondary experience with me dropping out and with average grades at best.

HigherEdPoints: How has the pandemic affected your classes?

Lindsay: Currently, due to the covid-19 pandemic, all my classes have been moved to online. One of my classes, although still being offered online, was only available during the day so I now have to rely on the flexibility of my employer should that change and mandatory class time or exams return during the work day.

HigherEdPoints: How has it been, working and going to school at the same time?

Lindsay: RE/MAX Elite has been extremely accommodating for me around my education. They allow me flex time around exams as well as the ability to come to the office to study in the evenings and on the weekends when I need a quiet space with no distractions. Finding an employer who focuses on employee growth and continuing education is definitely beneficial for mature students who have to work hard to balance both their job and their education.

HigherEdPoints: It’s great to hear you’re doing so well Lindsay, and we look forward to hear more as you approach your graduation!

April 2018: How Lindsay is Financing Higher Education as a Mature Student

HigherEdPoints: Tell me a bit more about yourself, what’s your story?

Lindsay: I decided to go back to school after a run of bad luck while looking for employment. I was sending out applications after application, about 40 in total. All of the applications were for jobs that I was fully qualified for based on my skill set and employment history. Out of all those applications I only got 3 callbacks for interviews.

After seeing this I felt that the reason I wasn’t being identified as a qualified candidate was because I hadn’t finished my degree and certification.

HigherEdPoints: So what was your educational journey?

Lindsay: After high school, I took a science program but within the first year I realized that I didn’t feel passionate about it. I couldn’t justify spending all that money on something I wasn’t going to love so I decided to reconsider the path I wanted to take. Throughout this first year learned that what I did love was to be around people, I didn’t want to be stuck in a lab doing research projects.

Knowing this, I dedicated my next ten years to working and traveling the world. I’ve now been to 34 countries, most of them by myself. With all this travel I learned some great life skills, I taught myself Spanish, I could sing in Swahili, and I became a lot more self-aware. This travel was fun and educational, but these things aren’t helping me get employed right now. So now I’m forced back to school to make myself more employable, getting that piece of paper everyone expects.

Lindsay Diduck - Everest

HigherEdPoints: It’s really tough, I understand you there. I’ve done some great traveling myself and it’s really enriching, but you’re right, it doesn’t help you get employed.

So let’s hop back to your career. You said you loved people – but were there other reasons you chose this career path?

Lindsay: I started off working in the real estate field doing legal assisting for an Edmonton real estate firm. This experience played a big roll in me discovering that I absolutely need to be in contact with people. I don’t like being behind the scenes with no interaction.

From here I decided to go into HR because that’s where you get to manage people and I feel like it will be a good fit for me.

HigherEdPoints: Outside of the people management skills, were there other things you’re looking to get from higher education?

Lindsay: I’m going to be attending NAIT, which is a technical college in Alberta, and they have an amazing reputation for students getting hired right after graduation. The learning I’ll be doing there is not book learning, it’s very much hands-on. I’ll get to work with people in my future role and on projects with real clients. I’m hoping to be looked at as a great candidate because of the school and my experience. I wish I would’ve known this 12 years ago!

HigherEdPoints: So after figuring out what you wanted to do, what’s the process to determine if school was going to be financially possible?

Lindsay: I actually did a ton of research. I went through every single website you can think of to find possible grants, writing down everything I potentially qualified for. From that list, I weeded out the ones that I didn’t qualify for based on my program and age. I was left with about 20 grants that I’m starting to apply for.

Student Scholarships Chart

I’m still saving as well – I have bills, a car, a mortgage and I don’t have a spouse to help with any of this so I need to be responsible. Luckily I don’t have dependents which helps with the bills a bit, but I can’t negate the fact that I have responsibilities before school.

HigherEdPoints: That’s amazing, having that funding assistance is vital with today’s high costs. I know you’ve been looking into how did you find it?

Lindsay: I actually came across it while doing my funding research. I sent a general email in to see how it all worked and I heard back right away. We had a call to talk about the program and how it could work for me.

When you try to find grants for school it can be a bit soul-crushing, so when they called me it was such a huge help and comfort. I love what HigherEdPoints is doing and wanted to share it with my network so other students can use too, I feel like it would be a disservice not to share it!

One of the reasons I’m passionate about this is that there are so many positives to people getting educated. Crime rates go down, teen pregnancy goes down, and so many other things that lead to society becoming better as a whole. It’s just so expensive now that it’s not practical for people to go to higher education. Being able to access alternative methods of paying for school is a very big deal to me.

HigherEdPoints: Where are you getting all the loyalty points to use as part of HigherEdPoints?

Lindsay: I have some of my own, but I also have girlfriends who are donating their points to help. Some didn’t have enough to donate for a full $250 voucher, so they set up a pooling account for me to use and collect these smaller amounts. They were ridiculously accommodating, I’m very grateful to have come across HigherEdPoints.

HigherEdPoints: This has been amazing, it’s such an inspiring story. Is there a parting word you’d like to share with other students out there?

Lindsay: I feel like post-secondary is very much geared towards a younger crowd, I feel like being older we have to try so much harder to get the funding set up. This means it’s really important not to get discouraged, you can push through it and make higher education a reality.

HigherEdPoints: That’s a perfect cap to this, thank you so much for sharing your story with us today!