Side Hustles for Grad School

Ahh grad school. A time for joy, coursework, and growth – most of the time. The other 20% can be occupied with sheer stress and distress previously unknown.

Between demanding schedules and extracurricular commitments, there is a large question raised that is:

Should I work while I’m in college?

Within professional and academic advancements, I personally went back and forth between occupying the little hours in a week I had left with a part time job.

Maybe you’re going through the same internal battle. One of can I grow financially in a time where my days are endless.

The answer is, that is dependent on you. Before embarking on your campus job board, or submitting an application to your local franchise, reflect on the following questions.

  1. What does my schedule look like already?
  2. What are the gaps in my resume?
  3. How can I bridge my financial goals with my academic and professional ones?

1. What does my schedule look like already?

For this question, physically map out your schedule. Include every commitment, big and small from lecture times, volunteering hours, and please include the things you do everyday for yourself. What needs to be included in your day for you to show up as your best self in different spaces? Whether this is a 45 minute workout, or blocking out time to cook dinner, please do not negate these items all in the name of productivity.

It is important to assess the things you have already committed to, to either understand whether a part-time position is accessible at the moment, or what can be replaced in order for you to embark on a job. Once this is addressed, you can move on to asking yourself,

2. What are the gaps in my resume?

An additional precursor to finding a part-time position is to understand your goals. Whether short term or long term, assess your current skills and experiences, as well as the ones you need to grow into your dream position. This is entirely dependent on where you see yourself in the next x amount of years, but is an important question to reflect on to refine your job search and ensure where your energy is being expended will also contribute to skillset or resume.

The setting of your job does not have to be monogamous to the setting of your dream job. Earlier this year I got my phlebotomy certification thinking I would be able to have experience in a healthcare setting, but since then have been unable to land a position in the field. While I will continue applying, currently I am following the truth that skills can be built anywhere I allow them to.

Leadership, academic writing, organization, are all examples of skills that a multitude of employers look for in a person. It will ultimately be up to analyze those now, and work towards them in your job, to share about with during future interviews.

For more on how to have the mindset of a resume builder, read my latest blog post

3. How can I bridge my financial goals with my academic and professional ones?

Lastly, after understanding your current commitments as well as which tools you still need in your toolbox, it’s time to ask yourself, how can I bridge my financial goals with my academic and professional ones?

This intersection will also aid in your job search as you discern which positions will help you grow in building your skillset and resume but also as a young person who has financial responsibilities and goals.

Ideally this could look like a position where you would have room to grow as an employee, or a setting where connection building is encouraged. Whichever ways to bridge the two in a manner that is unique to you is something to note and act on.

So, what are some ways to make money in grad school?

Internally, opportunities in your department may include

  • Research assistant
  • Teach assistant

Generally, on campus positions include

  • Resident assistant
  • Clerical/ front desk/ administrative work
  • Tour guide
  • Positions in the dining hall
  • Tutor

Or anything within the area that depends on your joys and experience

  • Medical assistant
  • Barista
  • Restaurant position
  • Retail
  • Nanny
  • Intern

Generally, campus jobs boards contain a multitude of jobs that are flexible and friendly to student schedules, which is the first place to look.

Overall, the jobs are there. It is up to you to assess your goals, capacity, and how this phase of life can best prepare you for the next.