As students in Ontario wait for next week's union vote on the colleges' latest offer, many are still trying to keep on top of their school work. But some students are afraid that it will be too late to recover the semester, despite their hard work.

Jennifer Watkinson, a fourth year nursing student at Cambrian College in Sudbury, has been working on her essays and preparing for exams since the strike began in October.

Even though she's been working ahead, Watkinson says she's already missed some of her exams and hasn't been able to complete her clinical hours.

"For this semester in year four of nursing we have 200 hours to complete, and up until this point I've only got 108 hours. So I have good hours, but I still have those hours to complete once the strike is over, on top of the exams that we've missed," she says.

Jennifer Watkinson

Cambrian College nursing student Jennifer Watkinson has been trying to keep ahead of her school work during the strike, but says she's falling behind on clinical hours for the semester. (Roger Corriveau/CBC)

Jobs prospects threatened by strike

If the semester if pushed forward, Watkinson won't be able to graduate on time and take the NCLEX-RN registration exam for the Ontario College of Nurses. She says this will put her at a major disadvantage in the job market.

"When it comes to job prospects, it will be difficult, because we'll be behind compared to the universities that will already be a step ahead of us."

Watkinson says this will also have a big impact on her family, especially her husband, who has been the sole earner while she's been in school.

"It's kind of important that I get graduated and get done, so that I can get in the work world, so that I can support the family as well," she says.

Students say they aren't getting answers

Second year medical radiation technology student Megan Stafford has also been keeping up on readings and assignments, but says she's worried about a placement she's supposed to start in January.

Megan Stafford

Megan Stafford, a medical radiation technology student, says she's worried about how the strike will affect a placement she's set to start in January. (Supplied)

"I'm one of the people in my program that has to move to finish our placement, and now they're talking about having us stay in Sudbury until January 15," she says.

Stafford's lease expires at the end of December, and she isn't sure what's going to happen if she has to stay in the city beyond the semester. She doesn't feel like she and her classmates are getting the answers they need about how the strike will affect their futures.

"I know everyone says that it's long term for the students, but they aren't addressing the concerns of the students right now."

Talks between the Ontario Public Services Employees Union and the colleges broke down on Monday, prompting the College Employers Council to ask the Ontario Labour Relations Board to step in.

The board has scheduled a vote on the colleges' final offer between Nov. 14 and Nov. 16.