I am writing this post from downtown Nashville. Tomorrow, I’ll be skyping from Atlanta with my group members to discuss a project for one of my master’s in innovation and entrepreneurship classes, and then I will do some audiovisual support for the Country Music Awards and after party. The day after that, I’ll be taking an online test for Essentials of Business 2 from Atlanta before I can get back to Central Florida in time to compete in a half marathon. Yes, this might be extreme, but the point I wanted to make is that you can have a job while going to school. It’s demanding, but a great alternative to waiting until after school to pay off your student debt.
The key to being able to have fun, make money, get good grades and have little student loan debt is to enjoy what you do. Most students get to school and quickly decide they want to get a job. They find the first paid job they can get and spend the next two years miserable, stressing over a lousy boss, lousy job and lousy grades. Now, consider an alternative. You find a professor that is currently doing something you like, or find a company that you would love to work for and you volunteer to help them out. This kind of unpaid internship goes a long way. First, you will be doing something you want to be doing. Second, if you are good at it, it will turn into a paid job in no time. I actually did both things mentioned above. As a sophomore, I got a job as a plate cleaner in the dining facility (back then it was called Evan’s Dining). It paid me minimum wage and the work was mindless. So, I went out and found a few professors that were doing really cool stuff and I told them I could help. Not only did I learn more than I did in boring lectures and impractical homework, but one professor eventually picked me up and gave me a part time job as a teacher assistant. This paved my way to acquire several degrees—free of student loans.
If you are thinking of getting a job while at school or you currently have a job and you hate it, go out there, meet some professors and work for free if you have to. I can guarantee you will be happier and less stressed. Think of it as getting paid with knowledge and experience, which every employer wants nowadays.
So here is a step by step list of things you should do:
- Talk to your advisor. Tell him that you want to get involved. He will know of other professors that are in need of some help. By the way, every professor needs more help. They can only pay some of their assistants, but all of their current assistants will graduate before you do. Therefore, if you prove to be a good worker, there will be available budget to pay you when the time comes.
- Check out the Florida Tech website. A lot of professors have an informational page where they talk about their present and upcoming projects.
- Whether you are a new graduate student or new undergraduate student, you should talk to juniors and seniors. They are involved with upperclassmen projects and have been exposed to resources available at school. Also, they are the most knowledgeable group on campus and they know the ins and outs of a particular department.
- Smile, have fun, be truly happy and don‘t be fake.
There you have it. So go out there and have fun!