Top 5 Tips for First-Time Renters

By Jamie Smith, Staff Lawyer, Central Alberta Community Legal Clinic


This post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice specific to any individual situation.


Going to post-secondary is one of the most exciting experiences, and sometimes one of the most daunting challenges, that a person can have. Lots of students are moving away from their childhood home for the first time, and whether it’s in a dorm room or an off-campus rental, it’s important to know the ins-and-outs of renting for the first time. Here are my Top 5 Tips for First Time Renters:

  1. Read the Rules, Read Your Lease, Know Your Rights

Virtually every renter will have a lease agreement with their landlord, which is a binding legal contract. Not being offered a lease agreement is often a red flag, so be cautious if there is no paperwork to back up your living arrangements, because without a lease, it’s very hard to show your rights as a tenant.

In Alberta, there are 2 types of lease agreements: those that are for a single room rental in someone else’s home (or a dormitory), and those that are for a private suite/apartment/home. If it’s the latter, it likely falls under the Residential Tenancies Act, and that legislation provides basic rights to both the landlord and the tenant. Some basic things to pay attention to include:

  • Start date
  • End date (if any)
  • Rental rate
  • Which utilities, if any, are included
  • Other costs no included in rent (utilities, parking, condominium fees).

Many leases are for a 12-month period, although some landlords offer shorter terms for 6 or 8 months, or even month-to-month without a fixed end date. Every lease is different, so you’ll want to read carefully, and also read any additional rules that may apply to your lease. For example, most leases include rules about having pets, about the number of people who can live in a space, or about how long guests can stay for. House rentals will also often include terms about caring for lawns or sidewalks. If you have the opportunity, ALWAYS read your lease before you sign, and ask questions about anything you don’t understand or need clarity on. Making assumptions frequently leads to misunderstanding and potential legal issues later on. If at all possible, try to view the property you are renting in advance as well so you know that the property you’re hoping to move into matches what you’ve read about or seen online; too good to be true sometimes is! Lastly, take the time to become familiar with your rights – the Residential Tenancies Act is available online, and there are lots of resources available to help clarify what a landlord and a tenant can do!

  1. Walk In, Walk Out

In Alberta, a landlord and tenant have a duty to inspect a rental property within one week of the tenant taking possession, and within a week of giving up possession, of a rental. This is an opportunity to confirm that the rental is suitable for the renter, that there are no major deficiencies, and to ensure that it’s in a good state of repair. It’s important not to rush through an inspection when you’re taking possession, as you’ll want to catch any problems. Common things to watch for include:

  • Any holes (nails or otherwise) in walls
  • Any stains or other damage to flooring
  • Any issues with doors and windows (opening/closing, breakage, etc.)
  • Any odors (cigarette, pets, etc.)
  • Any issues with cleanliness – check the kitchen and the bathroom specifically.

Most inspection reports have a scale, but also be sure to note on the report specific issues. You will want to ensure that the property is in the same or better condition when you move out to avoid losing your security deposit.

  1. A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Just as the old saying goes, a picture can tell a story. It’s recommended that a renter takes photos of the property on the day they move in (with time and date stamp if you can!) to show the state of repair of the property at the time you move in. All of those issues that you may have noted on the walk-in inspection should be photographed, if you’re able, and consider photos from both a close up (for detail) and further back (to provide context to the picture you’re taking). If you have these sorts of photos, and a landlord is trying to blame property damage on the tenant, it’s much easier to show the condition of a property with photos than it is to discuss the size of something like a hole or a stain. Perhaps even more importantly, if you’re ever taken to court for damages or need to convince a judge to give your security deposit back, your photos are going to be great evidence.

  1. Communicate with Your Landlord

Miscommunication, or a lack of communication, is one of the top reasons for legal disputes, and tenancy matters are no exception.  From the time that you start looking for a rental, to the day you get your damage deposit back and you move along to your next rental, be sure to have good communication with your landlord. Ask them questions about the property, about the lease, and about the rules they have in place; provide them with updates if something in the unit is accidentally damaged, or needs repair; give your landlord the opportunity to give you an exception to a rule if you need it, rather than assuming that breaking the rule will be no big deal, or that you won’t get caught. People who understand each other, and understand boundaries, are much more likely to get along than those who communicate poorly. It’s also HIGHLY recommended to keep things in writing – text messages or emails are much easier to rely on than the memories of two people who might have their own agendas.

  1. Paws, Claws, Leashes, and Leases

Thinking about getting a pet, or moving your pet into your new rental space? Read your lease first, and educate yourself as much as you can. I cannot count the number of landlord and tenant disputes that have cropped up because a tenant either ignores a “no pets” rule in a lease or has not followed the requirements that a landlord has set out regarding pets. In Alberta, tenants do not have the express right to have pets, meaning it is completely at the landlord’s discretion. Landlords may choose to charge additional monthly and/or one-time pet fees, and there are no rules with respect to how much this can be. The rules that can be set by a landlord can also be completely arbitrary, so ensure that you know that your fluffy (scaled or feathered) friend is going to be welcome before you sign your lease or adopt a new bestie.

Support animals are also a somewhat misunderstood area of the law. A true service dog or guide dog under Alberta law is allowed any place that is open to the public (including rentals), however, these animals require specialized training through an approved organization, and the individual must obtain a Qualified Service Dog Identification card – you can ask your doctor about the possibility of obtaining a service animal. If a tenant has obtained both an ID card and a qualified service dog, they should not be discriminated against by a landlord when trying to obtain a rental unit. Unfortunately, not every person who wants a service dog will qualify for one, so if having an animal in your space is important, seeking out accommodations that allow for them may be an important step.

There is a lot of information available about renting, and how to approach concerns or issues with a landlord or a rental property. If you’re new to the province, keep in mind that there are different laws in every province regarding tenants and their rights and responsibilities. If you need help, consider reaching out to one of the legal clinics in Alberta.

Interview Tips That Will Help You Get The Job

By: Hannah Giannioudis, Career Services Consultant

POV: you’ve just heard back from your dream employer that you’ve been chosen to advance to the next step in your application process… Interviews! While it is exciting becoming closer to your dream job, likely, a lot of nervous feelings will begin to arise after the initial excitement has worn off.

“How should I dress?” and “How can I best prepare?” may be some questions you are internally posing, so let’s work through those together to get you interview ready.

First, attire. Deciding what to wear for an interview can be stressful in itself. As always, it is very dependable on the company. My suggestion to you is do your research! If possible, visit the company and observe what staff is wearing to gain a better idea on how to dress for your interview. If still unsure, your best bet is to dress along the lines of business casual. This may look different to everyone depending on your own personal style, but some ideas may be adding a blazer or choosing a button-up shirt over an everyday t-shirt. Interviews are essentially about presenting the best of yourself to the employer so, bottom-line, dress in something that makes you feel confident so that you can walk into your interview self-assured.

Next, how can you best prepare for an interview? Here, we are going to narrow in on three different ways to prepare for an interview. First, always be aware of not only what your strengths are, but what your weaknesses are that an employer may notice. For example, perhaps you don’t have experience in the field you are applying to considering you are a brand new graduate. Employers will likely ask you to speak on this weakness. Potentially through the question: “Why do you believe you are prepared to take on this role/position with relatively low experience?”. How we best respond to this question is highlighting what we have done. Although you may not have relative work experience, you do have education behind you that will have transferrable skills you can highlight have been accumulated. Skills such as adaptability, communication, experience using Microsoft, experience working within a team (group/partner projects), and experience receiving and applying constructive feedback to your work are some examples that can be utilized. So, although you may not have relevant work experience, you do have many transferrable skills that can be used to your advantage when answering any questions related to experience. Take some time ahead of the interview to reflect and see how you can speak on your potential weaknesses in a positive light.

The next way to best prepare for an interview is by doing your research on the company you are applying to. You can do this by checking out their website, understanding the company’s/organizations values, and visiting their locations to get a grasp on the atmosphere present.

Lastly, another way to best prepare for an interview is practicing before hand. To start, I encourage you to download the Sample Behavioural Interview Questions from the Career Services webpage (also under ‘Resources’) and rehearse what your answer would be to these questions. Practicing beforehand leaves little room for overconfidence to crowd your thoughts, during the actual interview, therefore limiting the possibility of over-talking or rambling. After some practice and once you’ve gotten a good sense of how you’d answer most behavioural questions, ask someone to run through a mock interview. When choosing this person, however, make sure it is someone you are not overly comfortable with like a close friend or family member. Instead, choose an individual you are not very familiar with in order to replicate the interview atmosphere.

I hope these interview tips help you in your job/career applying journey. Always remember to be your authentic self when interviewing and be confident in your skills and attributes! Throughout your education you will learn so many valuable skills that can be used to your advantage when applying and interviewing for jobs. Sometimes it just takes some reflection to recognize what those are and how you can highlight them to employers.

If you ever have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Career Services here at Red Deer Polytechnic via our email: [email protected]. Make sure to also keep an eye on Career Services Calendar of Events! Here you will find all the dates and registration for our Career Workshops in collaboration with the Career Assistance Network.

Lastly, if you are needing any Career Assessment help, please look at booking a 1-on-1 appointment through the Student Connect Centre. Career Services is looking forward to assisting students in deciding what job/career pathways they may be interested in through assessments, career profiles and more!

Taking a Break: Hobby Edition

By: Alex Fuiten, VP Academic

It’s reading week as I start writing this and I hope you all got to do something you all love during that time away from the classrooms. Creating that space for yourself can be a hard task to do, but it is important when it comes to being successful as a student. Semesters are long and it’s great to have things that we can use to let us unplug and reset ourselves, while also being a way to build community.

Hobbies though for me are hard to classify because I seem to have so many and engaging with wildly different skillsets. Cosplay, photography, woodworking, DIY electronics and repair, and custom pc builds; while these activities may not be seemingly related they do have what I would call an overarching theme, they are all hobbies around making something. Though I don’t spend all my time doing that it is the biggest category for hobbies that I have.

The reason I enjoy making things is that I love getting into the flow and lost in the endless details. Let’s take one of the projects I worked on this week, I built another keyboard. Yes, you can build them, and it has actually gotten easier over the last 10 years compared to when I first started. Now the hardest choices for a keyboard build seem to be keycap profile, size, and switch type, because soldering is no longer required, and no programming skills are needed either. So, what are some of these details? Well, I love using a 60% keyboard, this is a keyboard that has a layout similar to a laptop but also does not have the function key row. Maybe it’s from all the years of using laptops or maybe I just know what I need and like but, others go even smaller with 40% and 30% which start requiring combinations to be pressed for all sorts of basic things like numbers or symbols. Others will pick specialty sizes because they are using them for a dedicated purpose like video editing or music production, or they are left-handed and want the number pad on the left. And this is just the size factor! There are also hundreds, if not thousands, of different switches and it seems everyone has a different preference. I like tactile switches, most in this hobby seem to prefer linear for that smooth gaming action, and there are some freaks out there who prefer clicky, ugh, so much noise. I also like using two different switches in the same keyboard. On my latest board, control keys like caps lock, or backspace, will be one type of switch while the alphabet and symbol keys will be a different type. This creates a unique typing feel but also helps with way finding on the keyboard and I can tell if I’m off the home row just by feel. Again, you can get ultra-specific about really any feature. The one area I tend to be indifferent when it comes to keyboards is keycap profile. They all feel similar so I just go with the one that looks the way I want that is made out of PBT material. ABS just sounds too hollow, to me anyways, loads of people love GMK and they sell only ABS. I haven’t even mentioned sound alteration, o-rings, and mounting types. Again, it’s the details I love.

I would like to take a moment to go back to what I said about I love worrying about the details. That to me is what makes for fun hobbies like building keyboards. I also understand this is not what many want in a hobby, where it is doesn’t involve a ton of in depth thinking. I get that. I’m also sorry if I have made anyone stressed out by informing them that there is so many options or seemingly worthless details about keyboards. The part I’d stress over is trying different and new things and going with what you love.

This is why hobbies though are important to maintain and have over the course of our studies. They are personal outlets that give us something to think about that isn’t just the same old grind of get paper in, worry about the next test, finish discussion board, go to work. The other reason it’s great to have a hobby, or 12 in my case, is that it allows you to build community and find people with similar interests. Some of my hobbies have yielded lifelong friends, who I now spend more time discussing things not related to the hobby, than the hobby itself. The hardest part is putting yourself out there, but it’s amazing to find those people that you love to have around you. Unsurprising, I have found myself spending time with other makers, and creators. While the exact hobby or interest may not be a 1:1 relationship I still learn skills and techniques that I can use in other places, that are applicable. For example, a friend of mine builds scale models of World War II vehicles, and dioramas. Yet, his painting skills have given me techniques I can use on Gunpla kits.

I guarantee that there is someone out there that has a shared interest with you. Don’t believe me? I’ve developed relationships with people that have started out with just talking about pens, or a specific anime. Just being your genuine self allows people in easier than anything else.

I also mentioned that since I’ve started my studies, I’ve had to put some of my more expensive hobbies to the side. That doesn’t mean I don’t have ways to enjoy some of my hobbies on a low budget. At the start of this blog post I mentioned photography, smartphones have become one of the best cameras you can buy and there are lots of information on how to use them more effectively. The best photos are the ones that require little to no post-processing, in my opinion anyways. Just find a genre you like to
take photos of  – product, fashion, portrait. I tend to enjoy product photography. Playing with colour balance and how the item is framed, it’s a wonderful way to make everyday things appear new and exciting. You can even mix it up and get a cheap desk lamp and an adjustable coloured light bulb and play with the colour easily. One of my other low-cost hobbies is that I also regularly use fountain pens. If you’ve seen me in class, you know that I tend to have a pen roll that has 4-6 pens all with a different colour and they can change from class to class. Not only does it make taking notes more fun, and I can colour code things, but I can use them for the mundane and everyday if I want, bullet journaling, or even just regular journaling are great exercises and mostly only require a small portion of time.

So, this is just a brief look at what I fill my time with outside of the classroom or work hours. Make sure to take some time for yourselves and find something that you love or haven’t done in a while. Get excited and share with your friends or seek out new community and connections.

Our Bellies and Hearts are Happy

By: Erin Bast, Vice President External

Do you have that one meal that just makes you feel happy? That just brings you so much comfort? I know my family and I do but I need to break this topic into categories because, as a family, we are complex. There are five of us; we all have different needs and wants.

I will admit that I am not the healthiest eater; I try, but that’s as far as I’ll go into it. I have an 11-year-old boy who would prefer to eat anything deep-fried, whereas my two younger kids still enjoy eating their vegetables. My husband is a healthy eater as well. Sometimes it’s hard to balance all of these foodie personalities, but we can all agree on my spaghetti.

I would say that as a whole, our family favourite “home cooked” meal is spaghetti. Usually once a week, I will make a big pot of spaghetti and meat sauce. Yes, once a week. We are addicted. My sneaky mom trick is to add shredded carrots into the sauce…see there’s some veg in there 😉 This Alberta girl ONLY uses ground beef in my sauce. Now I have tried alternatives such as mild sausage, or turkey or chicken BUT the mild sausage doesn’t seem to agree with anyone in my family and nothing beats a meat sauce with ground beef. I also love to make my tomato sauce with nutritional yeast. It thickens up the sauce and adds a delicious creaminess to it. Plus, it tastes fantastic. This meal seriously does not last long in my house!

Outside the home, we all ALWAYS agree on what we are going to eat out – sushi!! Yes, my children are sushi addicts! Our favourite sushi place has got to be Shiso, right here in Red Deer. The staff are excellent and their food is so very yummy. We have tried many other sushi restaurants in our travels, and nothing compares to what they offer at Shiso! Our number one appy  is tuna tataki…we literally will fight over it! My hubby loves his rainbow roll, my oldest son loves beef yakiniku, my middle boy loves to share the fresh and baked oysters and mussels with me and my daughter loves butterfish, which I do agree is so yummy! It tastes like butter, but she could eat ten in one sitting.

I think this is all I’m going to write. I’m starving all of a sudden!!

Leaving Home

By: John Miguel Oliveros


It’s never easy saying goodbye to the place you called home. While the Philippines is fantastic (the food especially is to die for), home is not the place you grew up in, but the people you care for that make a place home. The realization you’ve left those people behind can hit the hardest months down the line as it did for me. I was staring out the window of the library as I studied for an exam. My mind was overloaded as information swirled over the screen. Outside, I saw a deer grazing amidst the pack of parked cars. I found it hilariously random and got the urge to tell my friends about it. Then it hit me, the time difference meant they won’t see it until hours later. I won’t be able to meet up with them at the bar and just tell them about my random life events. That moment of being alone at the library just brought me back to how I felt right before I left.

The last 24 hours before my flight was a peculiar mix of feelings. Elation, fear, and anxiety melded together and formed an emotional hodgepodge soup simmering in my thoughts. Had I packed everything I needed? Maybe I forgot something important? What if something goes wrong? It was a struggle to keep those panicked thoughts at bay. I somehow managed to keep calm and distracted myself with whatever I could, like the fantastic idea of beating a 120-hour game before a flight (that is a true story). Regardless of the distraction though, I felt nervous and uneasy. I had everything prepared, I even spent the last month giving my goodbyes to family and friends.

It started with my college friends. We spent a whole evening at my house. We celebrated their birthday (All three of them had their birthday in the same week) and my departure for Canada. For an evening, we seemingly turned back the clock to our college days as we ate, drank, and swapped stories until dawn. Each person gave one last heartfelt goodbye as they left. Hugs were freely passed around. It stung knowing we weren’t within traveling distance of each other when one of us needed a night out to relax or rant about our lives. Life choices can suck in that regard.

Next were my high school friends. They visited me the week of my departure. We went to this overlooking eatery that was just a 15-minute car trip from my house. We all joked around like our high school selves would. They told me how they found out about that place through their friends who enjoyed biking up mountains. We stayed up there for as long as we could, just sitting in a Bahay-Kubo (an open-air cabin) that overlooked the city while we ate cheap ramen bowls sold by the eatery. It was interesting finding a place so captivating right before leaving. It made me wish at the time we headed up there more often.

The next round of goodbyes was my family. The day before I had to leave, we had a small party at our house. My aunt loved food. She’d always tell us about great restaurants around the city. On weekends we’d always have ourselves a feast trying out different cuisines (nothing beats Japanese cuisine and ramen nights though). On the day I left, she ordered from this restaurant and brought it to the house. I mostly remember how fantastic the truffle mushroom rice was. I stuffed myself silly, basking in the final moments I would be living at my old house. The chipped white walls (that may or may not have been my fault), individual wooden floor tiles (that I’d always kick out of place), my grandma’s collection of ceramics stored behind glass doors (that I’ve been enamored to play with for the longest time), and this giant fabric artwork of the last supper we’ve had since I was a child hanging by the glass dining table (that I would always mindlessly stare at, it was huge).

Across the table sat my grandma. She wasn’t the emotional type of person, but she was a caring grandma who we loved being around and can cook up some fantastic food. On that day, she was complaining about who will help her out now with her when her TV or phone would malfunction. She also asked who’ll order her iced coffee in the afternoons (I never paid for the coffee, but I loved taking credit by always handing her coffee). It was her way of saying she’ll miss me. I do miss her as well. On certain days, I find myself craving her cooking, like her recipe for Dinuguan or Nilaga. I reminisce about our little routines, hiding behind the door to scare her after a smoke or waking up to a glass of taho in the fridge that she bought for me in the morning. Writing about it now does bring me back to a melancholic place. Some days, I vividly picture myself waking up at that house, walking down the stairs to have my grandma greet me for lunch or my mom bugging me with affection or ordering some iced coffee for us. The mental image I have of that childhood home will always house those dear memories to me.

As I approach the last 12 hours, one of my friends managed to bike up to my house (which was at the top of a steep hill, so props to you, Jerald) to say farewell in person. Jerald has been one of my closest friends since kindergarten. It felt appropriate he was the last one to send me off. Aside from that, I managed to get one last stowaway from my first college friend, JC. We both had an affinity for Starbucks as our comfort coffee place during college, which made it hilariously befitting her parting gift to me was this Starbucks stuffed turtle bear I’d affectionately named Burtois (because he’s a tortoise-dressed bear barista, get it? it’s a bad joke). Burtois was my travel partner for this big journey in my life and he’s been a beary good companion ever since. He stands for all my bad jokes and that’s where it matters (and no, that’s not because he can’t speak). As we arrived at the airport drop-off, my nerves and excitement shot up. I was so close to getting on the plane and experiencing new things across the globe. But no matter how ready I was, saying goodbye to my mom was probably the hardest part of it.

My mom and I have been inseparable since I was a kid, my first ever memory was my mom waking me up for kindergarten. My passion for video games started when my mom introduced me to Final Fantasy VIII as a kid and that game is still our favorite game. On weekends, my mom and I would usually head out either to meet my aunt and go shopping or eat. During the worst moments in my life, I knew I could always be open to my mom, and she would never judge me. She was always just a caring ball of energy whom everyone loves being around. She’s been the biggest reason I took the leap; She always taught me growing up to chase after my dreams. When I felt lost about which college course to take after high school, she told me to trust myself. To pick the path that would make me most happy. While that path didn’t pan out, she never held it over me. Instead, she told me it was ok to start again. Pick where I’ll be happy and able to chase my dreams, which ended up being here. It might’ve just been a couple of minutes to say goodbye, with no speeches or tearful goodbyes being said, but it was bittersweet leaving my mom there. It was hard to go off to the airport doors alone, but it’s a part of growing up. some paths just temporarily lead us away from people we care for, but that won’t be the end of those relationships.

So, what was this dream? It was to be a writer and make a career of it. That dream led me to study abroad. Writing about something personal is endearing and painful. I found it difficult to dig through old memories of an inaccessible place. Vividly relieve those fleeting moments with those I care for. The more I write though, the more I started to feel happier to have those moments to look back on. Little memory capsules I know I experienced with memorable people.

Going back to the library, I did feel alone at the time. The distance can get to you sometimes as it will never be easy saying goodbye to home, nor should it ever be easy. Those connections are special, and the distance only creates a small nuisance. It may have been an end of an era where we lived close to each other, but it doesn’t mean I can’t keep in touch. The time difference sucks but I find ways to text my friends all my deer-sighting thoughts. We also get together for some video calls here and there. Usually when they’re out at night. I drink coffee while they have alcohol. It’s hilarious. For my mom, it’s the semi-daily text updates or hour-long calls on weekends. My grandma and aunt show up sometimes on the calls. I may not be there physically, but I still find ways to make sure they’re part of my life.

The other way I get past that feeling of loneliness is I’ve managed to make a second home in Canada. The first year was blissful and rough. There were so many memories that made me feel on top of the world. My first hike in Banff (a 6-hour hike is still not a beginner trail), my first published paper in the Agora journal, and most importantly, making my first friends at RDP (Kiru, Tim, Mark, Runmar, Gie, Rodrigo, Cori, Ais, Wyatt, Oliver, Bruno) and the summer nights I spent with them dancing, playing pool, and eating wings.

With the great highs, there will always be the lows; days that made me question why I even left home in the first place. Days I felt unsure, doubting my skills while mentally stuck on papers. I feared not being social enough to make new friends. Those days never last though. I had caring relatives that looked out for me while learning the ropes of Canada. My skills, while not the most refined, did show up through my effort. I did make some great friends in Canada. All my bonds support me through rough times and self-doubt. It helps prove to myself that I made the right choice. Moving away does suck at times, but my home isn’t some faraway memory. They’re just a phone or text away (and maybe 13 hours ahead).

Balancing It All

By: Erin Bast, Vice President External


I’m not going to lie; this is not a topic I am a fan of discussing at the moment. I am in the process of moving…my life is the definition of messy right now! I guess I shouldn’t say that – I have a roof over my head, food on my table, happy children, and things are starting to come together. But I am the type of person that thrives when my life and house are in order. Chaos, clutter, and all the things that come along with moving right now are just not helpful to me, especially while juggling school, work, and kids. I think I also forgot to mention that my husband works away…so yeah, I have a little bit going on!


Trying to function while attending post-secondary and living in a chaotic state is hard. You all probably have your own tricks to juggle all this successfully but for me, being organized is key. First, I usually try to have a clean and organized home. This allows me time to focus on other areas such as school, work, and my kids. I would be so lost without my day planner and Outlook, I have to write everything down in these! But, it isn’t pretty…there is a lot of Whiteout happening in my day planner but I also know that I need to be flexible because things happen, and schedules can change last minute. Even if it’s something that I am looking forward to attending, I look at it as either more time spent with my family or more time available to do schoolwork. And because of this, I try not to take things personally when it doesn’t work out one way or the other.


I think it’s important to know where and how things rank against each other. When it comes to my life, my family is number one; everything else comes second. Yes, I choose meetings or events in the evenings or on weekends when I am away from my family, but the kids are having fun with Nana and Papa or hanging out with their fun babysitter. However, if they are sick, it’s their birthday or Halloween, I am doing my best to juggle things and put them first.

Knowing that we would be moving, I decided not to put my kiddos in any extracurricular activities this semester, and you know what? They are fine!! They are enjoying the downtime of not being rushed around town and always being on a schedule. And honestly, so do I! The rush and need to have our kids in every sport, every activity, and excel at everything is so exhausting and as parents, we are adding so much pressure and stress to our lives! I’m tired, and they are tired. This downtime is one thing that I am happy to have experienced; slow down…you’re not gonna get there faster by being busier unless you’re headed to the grave, that is.

Since being elected as the Vice President External with the Students’ Association, I maintain office hours now. So, instead of heading to the Nova Learning Common to complete my schoolwork, I have meetings, events, and reports to get to. That, combined with my home life, time is no longer on my side. I realized that I spend a lot of my available class time not working on assignments. This is something I am aware of that needs to change in order for me to be successful with my education. So now, when I have the opportunity to tackle an assignment, I pop in my earbuds and drown out all the noise that inhibits me from getting to work in class. This has been such a massive help in my personal and school life. When I think about all the extra hours I have now because I am mindful of how I use my time, I wonder why I wasn’t doing this before!

Physical Health

I know that this is such an ick thing to hear, and I feel gross saying it but eating properly, working out, and getting enough sleep plays a massive part in whether I am successful and feeling good. Trust me, nothing turns my crank more than a big ‘n juicy curly fry poutine from the Far Side, but if that’s the only real meal a girl is eating in the day, your body is not going to thank you for it. In turn, your body will take it out on you by messing up your train of thought, focus, and mood. This may seem like adding more to a person’s plate by encouraging them to meal prep but it’s truly a life saver!! Chicken, rice, veggies, done! So easy! And working out can be a tricky thing to get into, right? But once you’re in it, it’s so good and becomes necessary. It feels so good to feel good and it’s actually something I need to get back into! I miss it and I love Studio Pilates! (they offer student discounts btw.) I’ll get back at it once I’m all moved in and organized. Let’s talk about sleep…I’m a night owl, an anxiety-ridden night owl; thank goodness for anxiety meds (which I have been on for many years now and cannot recommend enough!!). They help with the nighttime struggles, but I don’t think I will ever not be a night owl. I just get more accomplished between 10pm and 2am then during the day! This coming semester, I have an 8am class and I am not looking forward to getting to bed early and waking up super early!


At New Student Orientation, one of my instructors told our class that the people we were sitting next to will more than likely be lifelong friends. In my head, I’m like, “Nope,” I wasn’t here to make friends. I was here to learn, get an education, and work my butt off. I wasn’t a young kid anymore; I was a 40-year-old wife and mother of 3. I didn’t have time to make friends, I already had friends, and they are enough trouble. My first year, I was the nerd in the Nova Learning Commons before and after every class. To me, it didn’t matter if people joined me or not. I was there for my family, myself, and our future. Then Covid reared its ugly head again in the winter of 2021. We were shut down for what seemed like an eternity, and I found that I became closer with some of my classmates while we were shut down. Once we were back in person, I did my best to stay close to them. Sometimes school, family, and work take precedence, but we are all there for each other when needed, and that’s what’s most important. Knowing that I have a group of people I can rely on if/when my kids or I are sick to pass on class notes to me or hand in an assignment for me or if I wanna complain about my husband or others that are grinding my gears, they are always there to help and lend a listening ear. These people have kept me sane during some pretty difficult times. Their dorkiness, humour, tough love, and support are what everyone looks for in a friend. I may be the least present person in our group chat, but even reading through the chat after a long ass day of endless responsibilities they bring me back up or get me back down right where I am meant to be. Their love means the world.

Filling Your Bucket

Balancing everything can be tricky and it’s such a balancing act! Between day-to-day responsibilities, school, work, families, it can be hard to remember that we need to fill out own buckets. I found my happy place and it’s volunteering. I have volunteered at RDP Counselling Services for over a year with Linnea, and it has become a place that helps chills me out. No matter how much I have on my plate, volunteering puts me in check and reminds me of what’s important, why I’m attending RDP, and who I’m here for.

Good luck to everyone trying to make it work and remember that everyone in your life is rooting for you – including me! But if you need a little extra help along the way, there are so many great and free resources here at Red Deer Polytechnic to get you through this.

Your President is a NERD

By: Savannah Snow, SARDP President


Do you know what I love after a long day of student leadership? Sitting down and playing some video games. There is simply no better way to unwind and forget about the little stresses of life. I’m going to talk about some of my favourite video games in this blog post – something lighthearted to alleviate the stress of midterms!

My very first video game was Barbie: Rapunzel when I was four years old. My grandpa would put me in his lap and let me play on his big desktop computer back in the early 2000’s. I LOVED that game! It truly sparked my interest in video games, and I’m grateful to my grandpa for having the patience to play with me.

Another historical and current favourite of mine is Animal Crossing. I have played since the very beginning – all the way from the GameCube Animal Crossing to Animal Crossing: New Horizons on the Switch. I have sunk upwards of 700 hours on my current town. The premise of Animal Crossing is that you live in a village of talking animals. You get a house and have to pay off your loans through activities like fishing, hunting bugs, or collecting fruit. You can collect furniture items to decorate your house the way you wish! The most recent release is every decorator’s dream: The entire island you inhabit in-game can be customized! From the way the rivers flow to the houses that your villagers inhabit, you can create a world that is perfectly reflective of you. My favourite part of the game is seeing what other people have created. There are some truly incredible islands on the server! See the photo below to take a sneak peek as to what my island currently looks like!

Moving on to some current favourites! Lately I have been playing a lot of Red Dead Redemption 2 Online, Sea of Thieves, Moonlighter, and The Outer Worlds. The Red Dead storyline game is an absolute masterpiece, would highly recommend playing if you are looking for an immersive storyline paired with breathtaking graphics. In the online version, you are a cowboy, and the world is yours for the taking! You can choose if you would like to be honorable or dishonorable, every action you take impacting your status. You can also join posses of other players, wreaking havoc or doing good deeds. I personally belong to a group of 60 people who play together or simply come to each other’s rescue when other online players are causing you trouble. Pictured below is my character along with my beloved horse, Hera.

Sea of Thieves is an online pirate game where you sail the seas, battle monsters, and search for booty! I am a solo player here, which presents its own challenges. There are often events where you go on wild seabound adventures! Since I am a solo player, I captain one of the lightest ships, meaning I am usually able to run away from person vs person (PVP) fights. My proudest moment was leading a hostile ship on a goose chase across the whole map for over an hour, making them so frustrated that they logged off! I may be a cowardly pirate, but a pirate nonetheless! See below for a photo of me on my ship and my fox companion, Alice!

Moonlighter is a bit different than other games I like to play. There is no character customization as with the rest, but it doesn’t make this game less addicting! You play as Will, a local shop owner. There are abandoned mines nearby which have been overrun with monsters. You forge your way into the mines at night, defeat the monsters, and collect the loot to sell in your shop during the day. The dungeons are randomly generated, making for endless enjoyment!

Most recently I’ve been playing The Outer Worlds upon recommendation from my fiancé. The game is set in the future, where they’ve sent ships full of frozen humans out to colonize planets. You belong to a ship that has been lost for 60 years, and a scientist has pulled you out and unfrozen you. The game is quite similar to Fallout, where you create your character and pick different stats you would like proficiency in, which shapes your gameplay. It is another choose-your-adventure type game, where all of your actions impact how the game will end. You also collect non-player characters along the way to fill out your crew and bring new abilities. See below for a photo of my character!

I have started a Twitch streaming channel which me and my fiancé share. Due to the busy nature of my schedule, I don’t get to stream often but enjoy it when I can. I am always looking for new people to play with, so if you enjoy any of these games please reach out and I will send you my gamertag!

Thanks for going on this little digital adventure with me!


Meet Your Executive Team

Savannah Snow
SARDP President

Hello everyone! My name is Savannah Snow. I am your SA President in my second – and final – term! I am a fourth year BBA student majoring in General Management. I am politically-minded and hope to head back to school later in life to pursue a law degree and gain employment in Canada’s political sphere. In my spare time I like to play video games, current favourites being The Outer Worlds, Moonlighter, and Stardew Valley. I am also a dungeon master for a Dungeons and Dragons group that my fiance and I started. I live in Blackfalds with my fiance, step daughter, and dog. I look forward to this term and serving students to the best of my abilities!


Erin Bast
SARDP Vice President External

My name is Erin Bast, and I am your SA Vice President External. I am in my second year of the Legal Assistant Program. Aside from attending Red Deer Polytechnic, I am a wife and mother of three kiddos under 10. For fun, I enjoy camping and going to the movies with my little family. I love reality TV, true crime documentaries, gardening, and organizing.


Alex Fuiten
SARDP Vice President Academic

Hello everyone! My name is Alex and I’m your Vice President Academic for this school year. I completed the UofC psychology collaborative program last year but decided to take an extra year here to work on getting ready for grad school. You may have seen me around campus as a peer tutor in the library, a member of the psychology society, or last year as your Vice President External. Outside of school you will generally find me watching hockey (Go Oilers!), playing videogames, listening to and playing music, or buried inside some weird diy electronics project. Take care and have an awesome year!

Notice to the Membership

Our Vice President External, Laura Beaveridge, has resigned from her position with the Students’ Association of Red Deer Polytechnic, effective August 22, 2022. We thank Laura for her service to our Members and wish her well in her future endeavours.

As per Association Bylaws, a by-election will be held in the Fall. To stay up to date on the election process, follow up on Instagram and Facebook.

If you have any questions regarding the position of Vice President External, please contact Marian Young, Governance and Student Support Coordinator at [email protected] or your President, Savannah Snow at [email protected].

Congratulations to the Incoming 2022/2023 Team!

Because of you, we are excited to share that our voter turn out for the 2022/2023 Students’ Association General Election was 17%, which is an increase of 7% when compared to our voter turn out of 10% for the 2021/2022 General Election! So, thank you students of Red Deer Polytechnic!!

On March 24, Red Deer Polytechnic students elected the following team for the 2022/2023 year:

The Executive team consists of:

  • President, Savannah Snow;
  • Vice President Academic, Brenan Fuiten;
  • Vice President External, Laura Beaveridge

The Student Council team consists of:

  • Felicity Arndt
  • Erin Bast
  • Kindra Duthie-Woodford
  • Lovejeet Kaur
  • Larissa Soehn
  • Kiara Welch
  • Tessie Yomi-Dada

Newly elected members of Executive Council will take office on May 1, 2022 and Council will begin their term that same day and both will remain in office until April 30, 2023. At this time, we have 5 vacancies on Student Council if you are interested in gaining leadership experience, learning about governance and finance, and making a difference for the students of RDP, email [email protected] for more information.