I need a dollar, dollar… How to make money at uni

Photo by ebony.com

Being a student is tough. No seriously, it is.

If you’ve had the trauma of accidentally putting your new favourite black jeans in the wash with your whites, or forgetting that 3000 word essay that’s actually due in tomorrow, then you’ll know what a treacherous and onerous life we students lead. Without mother dearest to guide me along the way, my life is a series of trial and error experiments.

But I know, for me, (aside from the washing debacle) dealing with and most importantly, not spending, my money, is the hardest task. There are always places I want to go, food I want to try and clothes I want to buy but even with a job (no, working in Essentials, Venners and Woodys isn’t enough for me), it’s still a struggle. So how about some creative ideas to earn a bit of dollar in Canterbury alongside your studies?

1. Sell your stuff. ALL OF ITdebt-2

Okay, not all of it, but if you haven’t used it, worn it or played with it in the last six months, or if you’re really brutal, the last month, then sell it on eBay. People will literally buy anything. Though saying that, I now just have an ever increasing  ‘eBay pile’ in the corner of my room, looking quite neglected and lost, wishing I would just send it to a new, loving home already.

I like to think I looked as cool as Colin Farrell when I had my brain test (I know for a fact I didn't)

I like to think I looked as cool as Colin Farrell when I had my brain test (I didn’t)

2. Be a lab rat

I’m not suggesting you sell your body parts, although I hear that pays very handsomely, but it turns out that there are a lot of psychology students on campus conducting experiments, who need guinea pigs to take part. And the best bit is, they pay you for it. JobShop at Kent often advertises these experiments and whilst I’ve given up my money making secret just for you, it really is the best and easiest way to earn on campus. £7 for 20 mins, yeah I’ll take that. And to be honest, every experiment I’ve done has been very interesting, from eye tracking to brain tests, they’re worth getting involved in.

3. Procrastination pays

You know those emails the university keeps sending you that you don’t even read and just automatically discard? Well, every now and again, those emails are handing you money on a plate. All they’re asking you to do is fill in a survey or questionnaire, give them some basic info about yourself and press a few buttons and… hello £10 Amazon voucher. NUS do it all the time too. No more than 20 minutes of procrastination, and you’ve earned yourself a tenner. Time to trawl through that trash folder.

flyering4. Humiliate yourself

Remember that guy you saw in town, dressed like a baguette or a slice of pizza and handed you a flier that you immediately threw into the nearest bin? Well haven’t you always wished you were him? Okay, maybe not, but flyering isn’t a bad money earner. Show your sense of humour and risk your reputation for the dollar. It’s a bit more creative and it might even be fun (for your friends when they show up and take photos and post them all over facebook).

5. Oh sugar sugar

Or if you’re really stuck for ideas, you may remember InQuire reported on the craze of ‘Sugar Daddies’ a while back. Sign up and find your own part mentor, part sponsor, part ‘friend’. I know what you’re thinking but hey, don’t knock it til you’ve tried it I guess. If it works for some people… Our very own University of Kent has the highest number of ‘sugar babies’ in the country, so you’re in good company if you want a more drastic way to earn some extra money.

Whatever you choose to do, good luck!

Coffee Shop Cosiness

Photo by Alaric King

Photo by Alaric King

I felt inspired to write today, for the first time in ages and it got me thinking. Uni life, especially third year, and especially two weeks before the end of term can be beyond stressful. I don’t think I’ve slept properly in weeks, my head is all over the place and I feel like I’m ambling aimlessly through one day to the next. I feel on edge all the time and I hate it. So that’s why everyone needs to find that one place where you feel comfortable and relaxed. It’s important to get away from the stress and just give yourself a break. And no, I don’t mean the silent area of the library. I mean somewhere so detached from uni that you can escape the campus bubble and remember what it felt like to live without deadlines. Here’s what happened when I found mine:

Today, I found my own little slice of heaven. And it was glorious.

Having bravely ventured into the center of Canterbury on the first Saturday of December, I felt overwhelmed, suffocated and incredibly claustrophobic. I needed to get out of there. So I walked, and I kept walking until I found my new home.

A quaint, hidden away, cosy coffee shop. It was peaceful and secluded and cut off from the Christmas crazed shoppers outside. With a coffee and my writing journal, I sat back and just wrote.

For the first time in months, I didn’t feel stressed. I actually felt happy.

It’s one small room laid out like someone’s living room (with a till and a coffee machine in the middle), with snug sofas and dining tables where we all huddled round and wondered if we were sat next to the next great author. Who knows. But it felt like an exclusive little club of people, all content that they had found this small haven in among Canterbury’s mishmash of shops and cobbled streets.

I love this small, homely city, but now I really truly love it. Now I have found somewhere that I can relax and look forward to visiting.

Today, I sat among writers and workers, busily scribbling thoughts and ideas into their journals. It made me smile and there seemed to be some kind of unspoken pleasantness and understanding between us all. A brief warm smile or a small nod of the head as if to say, “I understand. This is my heaven too.” As bizarre and cliched as it sounds, I felt like I’d finally found people like me, who shared the same thoughts and understood why I was there but without needing to question me. They left me to it and let me write away to my heart’s content.

Now there’s no way I’m giving you the name or location of this haven because it’s all mine and I feel I can be selfish about it and not share it. But I suggest you go and find your slice of heaven, hold on to it and never let it go.

Now back to reality, and that dreaded library. Deadlines await!

Black Friday: “We’re consumed by desire and greed”

It’s Black Friday; it’s half price; it’s the last TV in the shop and you’re not the only one who wants it. What do you do?

You fight to the death. You don’t leave that shop until you’re dragging that TV out the door with your bloodied teeth. Right?

Well the scenes of Black Friday would certainly make you think so.

It’s the latest unwelcome tradition from across the pond and apparently we’ve fallen head over heels for it. We all love a good bargain; I’ll be the first to admit that. But this. This was unbelievable. And there’s never any excuse for such barbaric behaviour.

I watched countless videos of human beings morphing into animals, and the most unevolved ones at that, brawling over electricals. Lions and cheetahs fight over the watering hole, over their next mate or over the remains of a carcass: water, life and food. We fight over TVs, mobile phones and iPads.

And what’s worse is that I wonder how many of those crazed shoppers know the real origins of ‘Black Friday’. One highly debated, but recognised understanding of the phrase is that it was once the day after Thanksgiving, when slave traders would sell off their slaves for a discount. Half-price sale doesn’t have the same meaning now does it?

Essentially, by buying into this craze, we’re advocating a racist tradition and reducing the value of a human being to the value of a trivial material possession. It’s just plain offensive.

And so what if you can’t afford a full priced TV? Who needs a TV to survive? Look around; why not have a conversation with the people sat with you instead. Watching scenes of people clambering to discounts they didn’t need, it felt like we’d taken another step towards becoming completely consumed by desire and greed and I for one refuse to follow.

Chris Ramsey pops our stand-up comedy cherries

He’s the guy who got kicked off and banned from Soccer AM for talking about something a little bit naughty. He’s “The most dangerous man on Saturday morning TV”.

If only I was photogenic...

My friend Cheyenne, Mr Chris Ramsey and a very un-photogenic me.

But when Chris Ramsey bounces onto the Gulbenkian’s intimate stage, grinning from ear to ear, he looks like the least dangerous man I’ve ever seen.

He’s a Geordie joker, who, as he puts it, just wants to ‘pop our stand-up comedy cherries’. Bless him.

Without giving too much away, if you want to see some controversial, borderline offensive comedy, that’s not what you’re going to get. He’s no ‘opinion ninja’; his stand up is about real life everyday experiences. He wants you to remember he’s just like you… just a little bit famous.

There’s something so calming about that cheeky chappie Geordie accent and someone who’s so at ease with his ‘gorgeous, gorgeous audience’ (I don’t know who he was looking at) .You can just chuckle away, sure that he’s not going to fluff it up. And even though he did, he made it into the funniest joke of the night.

Other highlights included learning a little bit more about that Soccer AM incident, (YouTube it. Go on, I dare you), a few tips in the best ways to fist bump someone (I recommend googling ‘fist bump jellyfish’ right away) and a radical breakfast invention that went slightly wrong.

Yes, we are indeed pink.

Meet my good friend Carl (and yes, we are indeed pink)

Though Canterbury didn’t offer much in the way of audience participation, Ramsey somehow turned silence into raucous laughter again and again. He handled a heckler with ease (no it wasn’t me) and wrestled a man who got up to leave at the punch line. He’s not afraid to get involved and mix things up a little.

And let’s not forget his support act, Mr Carl Hutchinson. Oh Carl, what a joy to watch a comedian tell cheese jokes. I’ve been waiting a long time for that to happen. He’s definitely one to look out for in the future.

After the gig, Chris and Carl kindly came and chatted to us and although I was a little busy fan girling all the way to the ticket signing table, I did manage to ask a few questions. InQuire exclusive alert: Chris Ramsey thinks Canterbury is “a lovely city with terrible phone signal”. Tell us something we don’t know.

They’re genuinely lovely guys who seemed so humbled that anyone would want to see them perform. And why wouldn’t we? They’re blooming hilarious!

The 4 Reasons You Should Steer Clear of a Kindle

It’s no secret that I’m a bookworm, but you’ll never see me with a Kindle. So this is my rant about it.

The digital age has claimed another victim. It’s time to say goodbye to the spine and hello to the screen. Lazy day reading with the new KindleAnd I, for one, am not going to welcome it with open arms and here’s why.

1. Haven’t we got enough gadgets already?

Let’s be frank about this: a Kindle is just yet another device to look after, play with for a bit and then toss in the corner to gather dust? Now, alongside your iPod, your iPhone, your laptop and every other gadget, you have another item to dote on. It’s hassle that a book doesn’t demand. And don’t forget you have to spend money on it too, feed it your hard earned dollar and water it with electricity or watch it wilt and die.

2. My books are my prized possessions. Aren’t yours?

To me, an e-book isn’t even a ‘real’ book. My books are the collection of childhood. There’s nothing better than perusing a book store for hours on end and taking away a carefully selected, hand-picked novel. What about the smell of a new book, the touch of the paper, the look of a worn and well-loved paperback?

With a Kindle to hand, you might as well toss it in the bin. Add electronics and technology into the mix and it becomes so cold and impersonal, mechanical even. Forget about the content, it’s cover or blurb, it’s about seeing how many words you can cram into one electronic device. It tears the pages out of your book collection and reduces your beloved novels to nothing more than a bit of binary code; why would I ever want to do that?!

3. Forget to charge it? Bye bye reading time… again.

If reading with a time limit is a problem, then the battery life could be a deal breaker. It’s an electrical device so you’ll probably have to charge it every day, but then that’s what we get with our gadgets these days. It comes with the territory, right?

5088254388_a06654c463_oImagine reading a book, when the words fizzle off the page, the pages burn apart and you’re left with just the ashes, with no idea what happened to that man dangling from the mountain by his fingertips, whether the boy got the girl or if he survived that life threating surgery. Why should you have to wait? That’s certainly not what the author intended. You’re not frantically reading the final instalment of Harry Potter’s escapades when good ole JK abruptly stops, wand outstretched with just one Avada Kedavra between you-know-who and the saviour of the Wizarding World, and says “Hang on guys, just going for a coffee break, BRB xoxo”.

That’s what Kindle is asking you to do, to sacrifice your reading experience, your leisure time just because we’re in the New Age of technology. Reading shouldn’t have a time limit attached to it, especially one that you don’t get to decide.

4. Money, money and yet more money.

Who said e-books would be cheaper than the real thing? An e-reader is nothing without its e-books, and they aren’t actually much cheaper than your average paperback.5513908238_2835f49531_o

So why fall for another money making honey trap? The fanciest, flashiest (most pretentious) e-readers can cost up to £170. I could buy around 24 books costing £7 at that price! That’s a whole book collection. If I bought a Kindle, I wouldn’t be able to afford to read anything except the packaging and I certainly don’t want to throw more money at yet another global company sucking the life out of the local bookshop. No thank you.

Kindle literally means ‘to set on fire’. So go ahead, set your belongings alight, put a match to all that money and watch it burn because the digital age is taking over.