4 Easy Ways to Make Money During Your First College Semester
Congratulations, Bro, you made it to college.
The next four years of your life will be a beautiful maze of parties, women, and drug experimentation — overall, behavior that would be considered illegal in most Middle Eastern countries.
Once you find your way through you’ll wish you could re-enter it, so make the most of your time.
To maximize the experience, like anything in life, you’ll need money.
Sure, the parents will help fund your books, the late-night food stops (if they’re generous) and some of the boozing, but their dollars will only take you so far. You’ll need your own source of income if you want to keep up with the rest of campus, but a real, hourly job is the last thing in the world a college freshman needs to add to their plate.
What does this mean for you and your bank account? That you either need to get a campus job (10-20 hours a week) or you can get creative and figure out how to make the most money possible in the shortest window of time.
Remember, your goal is to capitalize on being a carefree college freshman and do as little as possible. Don’t get sucked into a gig that requires 20 hours a week or more — life gets exponentially worse from this semester; there will be plenty of time to be miserable down the road.
For now, here are four easy ways for you to keep that bank account of yours from falling into the red:
1. Writing papers
Probably the most risky thing you can do on campus other than dealing drugs (might be worse, actually); however, the reward is worth the risk. And the market is just swelling for your help, especially first semester of freshman year.
You’ll meet dozens of lazy assholes that don’t want to write a two-page essay on Paradise Lost or Julius Caesar. They’ll offer you $40 to $50 (yep, that’s $25 a page; take that working at the student help desk) for work you can do in under an hour — two hours, tops. That’s an hour’s work for a weekend worth of income. That $50 can go a long way — you can spend it on some good alcohol, like Jameson (highly unlikely), or you can be your floor’s hero and buy a few cases of beer.
Whatever you choose to do with it, you’ll forget very quickly forget that the money that you’ve stretched out for two nights of drinking came from the simple of task of gathering up a few quotes, making a few dull references to an ancient society, and analyzing what the author meant to accomplish with his or her story. Writing a paper is really easy for those of you millennials out there that think it’s the most difficult task in the world.
Note: I’m not condoning academic cheating, but if you want to make easy money and you’re a decent writer, this is your best bet. Be smart about — take small assignments (two to five pages) that the professor definitely skims when grading.
If you’re going to take the risk of writing final papers, make sure you’re rewarded handsomely. I can’t be your agent on this, but $200-plus should be your asking price on anything that big. They need you more than you need them, remember that.
2. Odd jobs
Writing is an important skill to carry with you in life, but an equally essential talent is the ability to get random shit done and appropriately market yourself as the campus handyman. I’m talking about anything that somebody is willing to pay you for —moving couches from that sorority house down the block, installing drywall in your crazy neighbors’ room, repairing an electrical problem for someone in your seminar class, cleaning the gutters of local residents, etc.
True, most colleges provide some of these services for their students, but most charge an arm and a leg in the process. If you’re asking price is fair and you present yourself as a half-decent human being, then you should be able to find some work in the odd jobs market.
I know it sounds a bit disheartening, but push the ego aside for a few hours and do some heavy lifting. The positives are quite clear — you’re your own boss, you create your own schedule (for the most part), and you don’t have to use your brain all that much.
Plus, and I know I’m going for extra credit here, this is something you can put on your resume in four years: “started moving company freshman year of college, grew it exponentially in four years at school.”
No need to thank me, it’s what I’m here for.
No, I’m not saying you should become a professional chauffeur or even waste your Friday and Saturday nights scooping up drunken kids (although it could be quite profitable depending on your competition and location).
Rather, similar to No. 2, I’m saying create a creative business model and market yourself appropriately. If the nearest airport is far away, then boom — you’re the campus airport shuttle. Or if you’re school is near mountains, then you can be the ski bus that takes them there.
It’s repetitive at this point, but it really comes down to how you sell yourself and how you price your service. Campuses most likely already have driving services, but they’re bogged down with all sorts of regulations and fees. Sell yourself to your peers by insuring them they won’t have to deal with random stops halfway across the city en route to the aforementioned airport that’s outside the city limits.
This can be done, I promise. I’ve seen some very unmotivated dudes put together a business plan and make it work.
4. Online surveys or university studies
They seem like a scam but some are very legit — especially the ones that your campus pays you to do (yes, these do exist at some schools).
Similar to everything else on this list, the top perk is that you don’t have a boss or a set schedule. Besides pawning off your stuff, this is probably the least structured and least time consuming way to make money that I can think of. And, similar to No. 2 and No. 3, your brain activity level is very low so you can save the mental lifting for the classroom.
I don’t exactly know why, but companies and colleges love hearing consumer and student opinions. They value your feedback so much that they’re willing to hand out cold hard cash for it. This seemingly free cash giveaway does not exist in the real world — at least not that I have found, so take advantage of it while you can.