Indigenous scholarship recipient recommends students apply for all opportunities
By Sam Laskaris
Joshua Peepeetch has some advice he’d like to pass on to fellow post-secondary students. Especially Indigenous ones.
When it comes to scholarship opportunities, Peepeetch, a member of Zagime Anishinabek First Nation in Saskatchewan, is recommending to apply whenever possible.
“I recommend every single student apply for them, especially if you’re low income,” said Peepeetch, a 26-year-old who is a third-year business administration student at the University of Regina.
Peepeetch heeded his own advice and applied for the Indigenous Scholarship Program. He ended up being one of eight recent scholarship recipients.
The Indigenous Scholarship Program is a joint venture between the CIBC and the National Indigenous Economic Education Fund, the charitable organization of Cando.
The four-year program launched in 2019 and continues until 2022. A total of $44,000 is available each year, which will be divided up between scholarship recipients.
Winners will be awarded between $2,000 to $10,000 each. Peepeetch was one of the $2,000 recipients.
He welcomed the amount with open arms.
“It helped a lot,” Peepeetch said of his portion of the scholarship program. “I was struggling a bit. I took out student loans. And I was kind of drowning in debt.”
Peepeetch credited an Indigenous counsellor at the University of Regina for convincing him to apply for various scholarships.
Peepeetch said that is advice that is often not followed by many he knows.
“I have a lot of friends that don’t apply for them,” he said. “They forget about them. Or they just don’t do it.”
Peepeetch, however, added it’s worthwhile to apply for scholarships as he is proof students can indeed benefit from them.
“It helps with bills and it helps relieve some of the pressure,” he said.
For the first year and a half of his post-secondary career, Peepeetch attended in-person classes at the University of Regina.
Though he’s still a student at the school, for the past year and a half he’s been living in Vancouver and taking all of his courses remotely.
“I want to go back to campus,” he said. “But I’m not sure if I should transfer to a university here (in B.C.).”
Peepeetch, who aspires to work in some business role in the music industry, said he will wait until the end of his current semester and the conclusion of the 2021-22 academic year before deciding where he should continue his schooling.
He said he could potentially transfer to Simon Fraser University (SFU) in Burnaby, a city in B.C. that is adjacent to Vancouver. But he would only do so if he was permitted to have the university credits he’s already earned thus far go towards the requirements of earning a degree from SFU.
Peepeetch has been able to continue with his education this school year even though he’s also been working a part-time job, sometimes putting in full-time hours (as many as 35 per week).
“You’ve got to have a balance,” he said of how he juggles work and school. “It’s just a matter of managing your time. At the end of the day, I get it done.”