College: it's an eye-opening experience during which students can gain a wealth of knowledge. Savor it, because it's about the only thing that will increase in wealth during your time in academia.
As much brain power as students will acquire throughout their years at college, it's unfortunately also a time in which money is quickly lost. With housing, meal plans, furniture, school supplies, textbooks, and possibly studying abroad — not to mention spending money for fun activities like concerts, eating out, festivals, and more — costs add up.
Although there are plenty of opportunities to spend money in college, students can defray some of that by making some cash along the way. There are many attainable part-time jobs — both on- and off-campus — that are catered specifically to students.
No matter which area college you attend, on-campus jobs abound for students. These can include positions like campus tour guides, library attendants, dining hall workers, tutors, note-takers, post office assistants, admissions workers, athletic center employees, residential advisors, technical support, research and lab assistants, or department-specific internships.
Many on-campus jobs are made available to students through the Federal Work Study program. Full-time or part-time students with financial need may apply for work-study in order to earn money to help off-set the cost of education. To apply for work-study, students can fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, which will determine the level aid they will receive. To fill out a FAFSA, visit fafsa.ed.gov. After you've received your report, consult the student-employment office on your campus to see what positions are available.
But official channels aren't the only way to go if you need to make some cash. If you haven't realized it by now, Rochester is truly a hub of the performing arts. While this means students have the opportunity to view a great deal of performances from all genres — music, theater, dance, etc. — it's also quite feasible for student performers to earn money for their work.
During performance competitions, singers are often desperate for accompanists. That's when savvy student pianists will step up and negotiate a tidy fee. Local churches will often pay students to cantor, play accompaniment, or direct choirs, and the time commitment is fairly minimal. Performing at local events — whether they are weddings, funerals, or concerts — is also good exposure, practice, and yet another way to make some cash. Students at the University of Rochester's Eastman School of Music have the advantage of the ESM Gig Service, a database that displays local performance opportunities. To register for the service, or post a gig, visit esm.rochester.edu/gig.
If you're an artist who does not practice the art of an audible tune, there are still ways to earn money with your passion. A man who boasts his lover to be as fair as a summer's day clearly possesses a talent for other realms. Local professional and semi-professional theaters such as Geva, Blackfriars, JCC CenterStage, and Downstairs Cabaret Theatre all pay talented thespians to perform in their quality productions.
Artists who prefer to be seen rather than heard may also aim to get their work displayed in local galleries or coffee shops for viewing and sale. The various craft festivals that Rochester hosts also provide a venue for sales and exposure. From holiday crafts fests, to the Memorial Art Gallery's Clothesline Festival, to the various indie craft fairs, there is no lack of opportunity to sell your work. Check the City Newspaper calendar Call for Work section to see what shows are accepting submissions.
Whether you're uninterested in working on campus, are not artistically inclined, or simply need a break from the college environment, a part-time job off-campus might be a good option. Keep in mind that working off-campus prevents its own challenges. Traveling to and from your job may be more trouble than it's worth, and employers may not be quite as understanding if you want to get some calculus cranked out during slow hours.
Potential cons aside, off-campus jobs can be pretty handy for getting discounts. If you're going to pursue a job off-campus, try to work somewhere you'd likely spend money anyways, so as to cut living costs. Working in a favorite clothing store, coffee shop, electronics store, or restaurant is bound to get you perks, and you're likely to be more invested in doing a good job.
College is a busy time, and many students may feel that sustaining a job is impossible. That's OK! Your first job, after all, is to study hard, and be a good student. Even if you don't think working during school is right for you, a couple easy bucks can still be made for thrifty thinkers. At the end of each semester, go through closets at home and at school to weed out items you no longer wear — that old t-shirt, the jeans that didn't fit quite right, or that sweater that severely clashed with your hair. Newer or less-worn clothes can be sold to consignment stores; Goodwill will happily accept the rest. Come move-out time in May, if you have relatively reliable appliances or furniture that can't be easily moved or that you have no use for, try selling it to someone you know. People will already be in the market for furnishings for next year, and would probably rather buy it at half price from a friend.
Aside from the independently wealthy, all of us are likely to rack up debt during college. It's bound to happen. If you're smart about it, though, there are ways to lessen the load a bit. Give one of the above suggestions a shot, and you may alleviate some impending student-loan pain. Your parents (and your future self) will thank you.