We asked Canadian Customers “What did you make this year?”

This year full time student and model Amber Cardinal made investments in herself that make her proud in the work that she’s doing.

Amber moved to Calgary to do her MBA and is currently a student, an analyst with a First Nations government, and a model. Originally, she only came to Calgary for school, and between that and work, had little room to express her creativity.

Modeling and being on set was a great environment for Amber to meet creative people. It let her experience something new while breaking the mold of just school and work.

How do you find balance between work and school? 

“I kind of just take it day by day. I try not to get too in my head about it. Otherwise, I’ll just feel too much stress and pressure just from the crazy schedule.” With so many responsibilities to take care of every day, Amber takes it one step at a time to balance her 3 passions. 

When asked whether she feels like she’s perfected the art of balancing those things, Amber stated “It’s definitely an ongoing thing. But I think I’ve been able to manage my schedule a little bit. I’ve been able to get into a routine that works for me.”

After working and studying for so many years, Amber has settled into a productive routine that gives her time to balance her personal and professional career. 

What is your life outside of work? 

“So, during lockdown, I lived quite aways from my family. And so just to reconnect with my culture, I started picking up beading. For the most part, I’m self taught. So it was more to reconnect with my cultures and Indigenous traditions.” 

Ever since Amber moved to Calgary, she has been living alone as she studies for her master’s degree. She didn’t have much time to express her creative side and reconnect with her culture.

After picking up tips on beading from her cousin, Amber has been able to explore her Cree and Dene heritage, which she really enjoys.

What inspires you to follow your passions?

“What inspires me to put everything I have into all three—my work, my school, and modeling—is just to keep busy. I don’t live close to my family members. So it’s like I’m here for a reason and I’m gonna do a good job. That’s what drives me every day.” 

With so many things going on in Amber’s life, it can be easy to burn out if she didn’t have the right motivation. In her family, she is the first person to get to this level of education, so she wants to be a role model for her younger cousins.

She wants to be seen as the helping hand that her younger family members can look to for advice and guidance. 

What would you tell somebody who is thinking about pursuing their dream?

“What I would tell people is just give it a try. Like you never know, I wasn’t expecting to get into modeling. But five years later now, I absolutely love it. I think if somebody really wants to pursue something, anything, I think it’s worth it just to give it a try. Because like once you’re in it you might really enjoy it.” 

This story is a part of a series to highlight building a life that you’re proud of and honouring the lives that people make for themselves outside of their finances.

To follow this series, click here to read the rest of the collection. 

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