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!

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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.

 

Look, Read, Watch and Follow

photo by cintascotchLOOK … @cintascotch on Instagram

Ever looked at your everyday household objects and wondered if they could be made into some more creative? Have you ever looked at a pair of scissors and seen a ballet dancers legs? No, didn’t think so. But now, thank god, you don’t have to imagine it ever again. ‘Cintascotch’ has done it for you only ten times better. Run by Javier Pérez, this Instagram account is wacky and pretty damn awesome. Pérez says that the most common daily objects appear most attractive to him. “Everything inspires me”, he says.

You might see a bunch or juicy grapes but Pérez sees a handful of balloons, or that paperclip holding your essay together, that’s a trumpet in the eyes of Pérez the household object artist. Amazing.

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READ … Freshers’ Fun and Frolics

This is a sweet little blog I stumbled across a while ago whilst I was setting up mine. It tracks the life of a university student in her first year. Maybe it’s not the craziest, most hilarious blog you’ll ever read, but it’s honest and I found myself agreeing with everything the author says. It’s some light, easy to read, procrastination with a cheery style and a few interesting facts thrown in.

Look out for her tips on mastering student life from budgeting and saving money, to getting over homesickness and settling in.

Or, you know, there’s this little awesome blog called hashtagstudentproblems. I hear it’s pretty great… and it’s author *cough* me *cough* is pretty awesome too. Day to day, typical student problems that I’m pretty sure we can all relate to. Have a read and see what you think. Or not. Whatever.

sourcefed-subscribers-600x369WATCH … SourceFed on YouTube

It has to be SourceFed. It was created by Philip DeFranco, so you just know it’s going to be good. If you haven’t seen it, feel ashamed, feel very very ashamed. It’s hilarious, it’s quick witted and it’s even educational. It’s 20 minutes day split into 5 videos about the best, weirdest or most interesting news stories of the day. But the presenters… oh the presenters, they are a-ma-zing!

The original trio of Joe Bereta, Lee Newton and Elliot Morgan was unstoppable and now there’s a whole host of new shows and presenters to keep it fresh and new – Steve Zaragoza is particularly entertaining. They all have their own little quirks and they’re all fabulous. Watch out for Lee Newton’s hysterical obsession with dinosaurs and everyone’s ability to talk super-fast so they can cram everything into their 20 minute daily quota. And once you’ve become addicted to their fast paced videos, look out for their individual YouTube channels. Definitely worth a watch.

5dfcf1d3f8bdfd0f1dc7a1c80006b13a_400x400FOLLOW … Student Problems @ProblemsAtUni 

The one twitter account that perfectly sums up your uni life in just 140 characters. It makes you feel that little bit better about yourself and a little less guilty about all that procrastination you’ve done. It’s perhaps a bit worrying how accurate it is; maybe they’re stealing my tweets…

Created by just another typical student, 19 year old Dom McGregor studies at the University of Manchester and has generated over 124,000 followers since he set it up. If only my procrastination was as productive as that.

It certainly won’t do anything to convince your parents that uni is actually pretty hard. Instead it’ll only confirm their fears that you sleep all day and binge watch Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad instead of ‘working’. But hey, it’s humourous and light hearted.

Plus, with all those exams and deadlines, it’s reassuring to remind myself that I’m not the only student panic revising and living in a little corner of the library. Definitely wish I was sleeping all day and binge watching programs now!

 

The 6 Housemates You Love to Hate

 

The Second Year Home

The Second Year Home

Student living isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be. That feeling of freedom quickly turns into dread when you realise you have to do this thing called cooking every day. And what’s washing? That sounds like a lot of effort. But for many, of all the trials and tribulations we students wrestle with every day, it seems there’s one that outdoes them all. That one person that you once wanted to spend every minute of the day with, has become the one you spend every minute of the day trying to avoid: Your so-called friend has become your housemate from hell.

Here are a few examples you might just recognise:

1) The one who borrows money from you and just hopes you’ll forget about it.

We’re students. Our student loan is all we have, so borrow some of it and you’re borrowing part of our souls. Don’t pay us back and we will hunt you down. No exaggeration.

2) The one who smells weird.

They’ll spend the longest in the shower and use all the hot water, yet still emerge looking grubby and smelling worse than when they went in. What even is that? Body odour or gone off milk? Meanwhile, the bath is covered in a thick layer of grime. Maybe I’ll give that shower a miss. I’ll just dab cold water on my face instead…

I’ll do it in a minute…

3) The one who never does any washing up.

That mountain of mouldy dishes will start growing life forms before someone thinks about edging it towards that waterfall of cleanliness that falls from the tap.

God forbid anyone have any cutlery or plates or utensils to cook with. Not even a passive aggressive note will sort this one out.

It’s odd how quickly you adjust to eating your dinner out of a bowl with any form of cutlery available. May I suggest trying a steak knife and a chopstick for a ‘bowl’ of beans on toast. It’s an experience to say the least.

Back away from my food!

4) The one who thinks it’s okay to eat all your food.

“Oh sorry, I thought that really expensive piece of steak was mine” or “Oh I thought you bought that bottle of French wine for me, oops”.

Cleaning products? What the hell are they?

5) The one who never does any cleaning.

And my Mum thought I was messy! Apparently (or so I’ve heard) some guys think they’re best off living with girls because they’ll have someone ‘to clean up after them’. Nope. Don’t think you’ve got that right. Try again. But rest assured, if they do have an out of body experience and start tidying away all their endless shit, they’ll decide to do it at 2am, the day before an exam, when you’re trying to sleep.

6) The one who plays ridiculously loud music at the most inconsiderate times of the day.

Your music is rubbish and nobody wants to hear it. I will send you passive aggressive texts to get you to turn it down and you will not like it. Deal with it.

I think I can see a plate in there somewhere…

Sound familiar to anyone?

If it doesn’t and you’ve managed to avoid these housemate horrors, I applaud you for navigating the mind field of student living successfully and reaching housemate heaven.

But take a minute and feel for those of us who have that one housemate who manages to encompass every types of housemate. How? I do not know but, somehow, they make it possible for you to hate them 6 times over.

Top 10 Lies Student Tell

Top 10 Lies Students Tell

Student life really is like no other. It’s the independence and freedom you’ve been craving for 18 years. There’s so much to do and see and try out.  But sometimes, is it maybe too much freedom? As students, we get a little bit excited by our new-found independence and are more likely to be found sleeping in, lazing about and doing what your parents always told you not to do. Here are a few white lies you might recognise…

Pinocchio

1) I will attend my 9am lecture every week.

We may have the best intentions to attend every one of those lectures, but 9am just isn’t a realistic time for a student. You’ll promise yourself you’ll go next week, but then that snooze button keeps calling.

2)       So, what did you have for tea today?  Vegetables, fruit and more vegetables…

Mum, when you call and I say I’ve had vegetable soup for tea, I haven’t. There may be some veg lurking in the cupboard but it’ll probably go out of date before I get round to making that roast dinner. Besides, beans on toast, cheese on toast and basically anything-else-you-can-find on toast are just too tempting.

3)       I will stop procrastinating.

Why is it that we’re suddenly eager to do the washing up, clean our rooms and take the bins out as soon as the word ‘work’ is mentioned. You’re probably reading this article to procrastinate right now. Well done, we students are masters of procrastination.

4)       Seeing as you’ve all done the reading this week…

You say you’ll do it but that doesn’t always seem to happen. Then it just gets awkward when no one has done the reading and no one understands what’s going on. Then your seminar leader suggests, ‘If you’d like to do some extra reading on the topic…’ It’s usually met by enthusiastic nods of approval and murmurs of ‘Of course I would!’ but followed up with a sideways glance to your friend and a whisper of ‘Not happening.’

5)       I feel ill today Mum. Aw, you must be overworking yourself! Or I’m hungover?

Every night seems to be student night especially if you’re a fresher so the hangovers tend to be a common occurrence, but that’s not something you’ll probably openly admit to your parents. We’ll all happily take the sympathy, even if we feel a little bit guilty.

6)       I will stay in, work and drink less this week. Promise.

We might like to think we are strong-willed and sure of ourselves but the minute you hear that someone else is ‘having a night off’ and just going out for ‘one drink’ all hell breaks loose. Peer pressure is our biggest enemy!

7)       I will stick to my budget.

Student discounts are just too enticing, alcohol is expensive and going out is just too tempting. It happens every week. Budget = Gone.

8)       I will not leave my assignment until the last minute

Ever been to the library on the last day of term and noticed a sea of confused, stressed and befuddled faces? It’s amazing how quickly that deadline springs up on you even though you promise yourself you’ll be prepared this time. Pulling an ‘all-nighter’ is getting a little bit too familiar.

9)       Have you voted in the elections yet? Yes, of course…

I’m sure most people have voted in the elections but let’s be honest; we have been bombarded by the endless leaflets, the door to door campaigns and the emails for a long time now. Apologies to the candidates, but sometimes it’s just easier to say you’ve already voted.

10)     I will not lie to myself anymore!

A new term looms and the same problems threaten to return. We will promise to work harder, get up earlier and be healthier but in reality? It. Just. Won’t. Happen.

Sound familiar to anyone?

If it doesn’t then, then you may be lying to yourself… again. Face facts, 9am doesn’t exist at university and hangover days will happen, a lot.

Sorry Mum, sorry Dad, but if I say I’ve been up since 9am working in the library, cooking beef  from scratch and doing my reading for next week’s seminar, it’s likely to be a slight fabrication of the truth. In other words I’m in bed watching the entire two seasons of Game of Thrones, in a onesie with a mug of tea and a packet of bourbons… just to avoid my impending deadlines.