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A head shot of Srijani Datta

Srijani Datta

Graduate Student
Arts + Social Sciences › Political Science
OLC Writer

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a side-hustle can help you earn that extra bit of cash you need, while doing something fun or something you feel strongly for, and develop a new set of skills, or polish existing ones.

Let’s face it, college-life is rough. Not only are you hit with academic pressure like never before, but your parents also don’t consider you to be adorably helpless anymore. You are viewed as responsible individuals, capable of making your own way in the world. Also, that voice in your head which keeps telling you to become self-sufficient (you know the one which pushed you to take multiple odd jobs during your high school vacations), gets annoyingly louder. And as if that was not enough, everything, from textbooks to the humble grilled cheese, seems to come with the superpower of burning a giant hole in your wallet.

So how do you make your way out of the financial purgatory that life as an undergrad student brings with it? Two words – Side Hustle. Sounds cool, the pay-off’s even cooler. Trust me.

So, what is a side hustle? Simply put, a side hustle is a way you can make some extra cash on the side while being involved in a full-time job or course. Think of it as a lucrative side project that allows you the flexibility to pursue what you're most interested in. It can be anything – an art form, technical skill, or even being handy around the house. The best thing about side hustles is that they help you explore your passions and even get relevant experience in employable skills.

Let me break it down for you with a glimpse of my own little life. I have been a student for most of my life. What can I say, I like big books and I cannot lie? This means I have had to get creative with the ways I could finance myself, without a full-time job. Some of the medleys of jobs I have had so far include, working as a part-time reporter and content contributor for a mixed-bag of websites (real estate based, financial, education, travel & tourism), tutor, translator, transcriber, and many more. These jobs allowed me to indulge in one of my favourite hobbies – writing while helping me come up with my own style, as well as monetize it. In fact, these experiences also enhanced my ability to write academic papers, while working in a professional and organized manner. I have also done a brief stint in theatres and radio, as they were my passions. And, I did all of these while attending school full-time.

So, as I said before, a side- hustle can help you earn that extra bit of cash you need, while doing something fun or something you feel strongly for, and develop a new set of skills, or polish existing ones. If you have something similar already in mind, go ahead and start researching the possibilities. If you are still undecided, here are a few options to get you started.

Work on Campus 

When juggling study with work, finding time seems to be harder than finding your missing sock from the laundromat. On-campus employment conveniently merges school and workplace together and saves you a lot of time. The following are some of the most common ways to get employed within the University and the campus.

Temporary Pool of Workers - One of the most common ways to get employed on-campus is to enroll in the Temporary Pool of workers. The Temporary Pool allows students to explore a range of part-time jobs -  clerical, secretarial, and technical positions, which can employ you from a day to three months. The temporary pool also keeps things lively by helping students experiment with different kinds of jobs.

Work-study employment - This is one of the best ways to gain experience and connections within the SFU community. Especially suited for upper-year students (though not necessarily a prerequisite) the Work-Study program helps you build your experience record by participating in research-based projects while earning a supplemental income.

On-campus employment - If you want a break from books and strengthen your customer service skills, then the many eateries and stores at SFU can come to your rescue. From the food court in the Maggie Benston building to the food joints on Cornerstone, almost every establishment on the SFU campus employ some SFU students.  Hiring takes place at the beginning of each semester and work schedules are flexible to fit your classes.

SFU Residence employmentSFU Residence and Housing open a variety of roles to SFU and FIC students, throughout the year. You can choose from positions of community advisors, coordinators assistants, and many more. The community advisor position is especially helpful for those living or willing to live on-campus, and it is a great way of working with the SFU community. All positions have flexible hours to make scheduling easier for students.

Work Off Campus

Employment opportunities can also be scouted out at off-campus locations. Although retail and courier jobs are fairly popular among students, there are plenty of other ways that you can earn that extra scratch along with building up your resumes.

The online world - The internet has probably the largest pool of jobs you can do remotely and with a flexible time schedule. I have had my own little experience working as a content creator, blogger, editor and much more when working freelance. One of the easiest ways to test out this category of jobs is to look for postings in specific social media groups or websites and proceed from there. However, companies, especially start-ups often hire freelancers directly. You can shoot your CV to a company you think you would like to work with, explaining how you can help them, and they can contact you whenever they need it. You can also pick jobs based on your own skillset, and choose to be anything - an online tutor, content creator, web-developer, designer and much more.

Tutor - If you are particularly good at something, be it a musical skill, a sport, dance, or an academic subject, never rule out the possibility of turning that into a side-hustle. You do not have to be an Olympic-level performer or top-of-the-class student, to become a tutor in that field. If you know something well enough, try to pass it on to others. But if possible in a lucrative fashion. How to go about it? There are some excellent online websites that match tutors with students seeking help, including regular job portals like Indeed. In addition to that, you can also come up with your own ads and post them around campus, get it out in your friend circuit, social media platform and much more. If you have a younger sibling, tap into their friend’s pool, and see if you can monetize your all-knowing, annoying sibling role.

So, put on your thinking caps, and decide what is that one hobby you really like to do in your free time, that can be turned into a side-hustle. Then get going.

About the Author

A head shot of Srijani Datta

Srijani Datta

Graduate Student
Arts + Social Sciences › Political Science
OLC Writer
Srijani previously worked as an Editor at SFU-OLC until she successfully completed and defended her thesis in the fall of 2019. She is currently working full-time and awaiting graduation.

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