Student Spotlight: Chantel Loring-Folden

 [As published in The Word, the Inver Hills Student Newsletter, March 28, 2013. Contact]
Hidden behind office partitions, and desktop computers works Chantel Loring-Folden, an Inver Hills student who serves the campus community through her work as a financial aid student worker.  In addition to working hard in the office, Chantel maintains the “Fiscally Fit Series”; she is a successful student, a single mother of her two-year-old daughter, and has beautifully shiny hair.  Here’s the word from our interview:
S:  Ok! How do you make your hair so shiny?
C: You think my hair is shiny?  Well, I do use Tresemmè and macadamia oil!
S:  Now I know!  When I think of the words “fiscally fit”, I think of a weight room blasting classic jams, but I’m guessing that’s not what “fiscally fit” means.   What does it mean?
C: Fiscally fit means being financially strong, being sound in your decisions regarding your finances, making good choices, paying off student loans, and all the financial stuff we face in college.  Part of what I do for the “Fiscally Fit Series” is I participate in meetings with other universities, to see what they’re doing for money management.  Then I continue to research and bring it to our campus to share about how to be “fiscally fit”.
S:  What are a few goals of the Fiscally Fit Series?
C: The goal is to educate.  Terms that are used in the financial world like “loan repayment” sound scary, but these break down to layman’s terms that can be understood.  The “loan repayment” seminar is at the end of year for all graduating students.  In general, the “Fiscally Fit Series” is really focused on what students need here.  For example, we have Carrie Rocha from “Pocket Your Dollars” speak.  She teaches you how to learn the coupon cycle, since there’s a whole science behind it.  She’s teaches you how to follow which stores have what.  Then you buy certain items at this particular store, certain items in this store, and your shopping is done.  When you understand how to save, the money goes elsewhere.
S:  How has the Fiscally Fit Series helped your own life?
C:  The biggest thing it has done is that it has made me less nervous to get up and talk.  The first time I ever spoke, I can’t tell you what I said, but I saw blotches everywhere.  It has made me more at ease to get up in front of people and speak.  The research I’ve done for it has helped me understand what’s out there in the world; for example, that everybody should have a financial advisor.  Also, when I get out of school, I’ll know what to do.
S:  You’re a mom! If you can choose, what is your favorite part about being a parent?
C:  Oh my god, there’s a lot! I think my favorite part about being a mom is that I have someone tell me they love me every day.  I get to watch her grow every day.  Also, with the classes I take, I can indulge my daughter in them.  As a parent, I’m learning to understand how my life works and learning to revert back to childhood to understand where she’s coming from.  What I learn here I can apply to my own life at home.
S:  How do you manage all your responsibilities so well?
C: Good organization—that’s huge.  Setting up a long-term plan helps too.  When I came into school, I set up my whole two year plan with an academic counselor.  Although some things have changed, for the most part, I’m sticking to the plan and I schedule my time appropriately.  When I’m at home, I’m with my daughter, so I take advantage of my time on campus to do my school stuff.
S: How has your experience at Inver Hills helped you in your personal goals?
C:  Experience. I’m living in the experience and I’m going through it as a student.  And I’ve had the ability to be on both sides: I’m work study, so I’m on one side of the counter helping other students, and on the other side receiving help as the student.
S:  Anything else you’d like to add?
C:  A lot of people abuse financial aid.  All of your grants come from taxpayer dollars, so that’s important to me.  I work for my grades and do well because people I don’t know pay for my education.  I say, get it done fast, get it done well, and get into the work force so you can help the next person.  For me, it’s the motivation behind doing so well.
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