Education

6 Tips That Can Help University Students

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Joanne Poh

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As a university student, you’re unlikely to have to worry about home loans and babies. But money, or the lack of it, can be a bummer all the same.

You need a decent amount of cash to do anything more fun than sitting at home and studying all day, and it’s also a good idea to build up some savings for when you enter the real world and possibly start repaying student loans.

Here are six tips that can earn you a bit of extra pocket money.

 

1. Get your parents to cook more for dinner and bring the leftovers to school

If you still live with your parents, there’s a lot of potential for reducing your spending—especially if they prepare dinner for you at night.

Get them to cook a bit more in the night so you can bring the leftovers to school when you need to be there during lunchtime.

And of course, don’t forget your water bottle—polys and local unis are always littered with water coolers, so take advantage of that.

 

2. Give tuition for extra cash

There are many part-time jobs you can do, or side businesses you can set up as a university student. Even so, there are few reasons why you wouldn’t want to get a tuition student or two just for the extra cash.

Giving tuition can pay so well per hour and requires such a small time commitment that many university students have at least one student. As an A-Level certificate holder, you should be able to command up to $40 an hour for Secondary 4 or JC students.

 

3. Pick up a skill you can make money out of

One of the biggest advantages you have as a student is the luxury of time. No matter how tough your course is, you’ll probably have it tougher when you enter the working world and discover how rare work-life balance is in Singapore.

So use your time to hone a skill, one that you might conceivably be able to make a bit of spare cash out of.

Are you handy with a computer? Learn how to make websites and you could find yourself becoming a successful part-time web developer. (I know a few people who dabbled in web development when they were students and are now full-time freelance web developers.)

Enjoy playing the piano? Finish up those exams and don’t let yourself get too rusty, so you are qualified to teach others at some point.

 

4. Use your holidays wisely

The three or four months of vacation university students get are something many overworked adults would kill for. Don’t let your holidays go completely to waste, no matter how much you want to hone your LoL or Dota skills. Do something you personally find enriching each and every holiday.

This may not necessarily mean internships, although you should probably try to do at least one or two even if your course doesn’t contain an internship component.

It could mean going for courses, volunteering, working on a personal project or business, or even picking up a new hobby. Not all of these activities will directly translate to more cash, but they’ll hopefully turn you into a more well-rounded, fulfilled person.

 

5. Explore your career interests

Many students tend to think that if they can emerge from their tertiary courses with decent grades and have done enough internships to have some job prospects, their careers will be smooth sailing.

But far tougher than simply finding someone to hire you at a decent wage, is finding a job you don’t hate and that’s well-suited to you.

No matter what you imagine a particular career to be like, you won’t know the truth until you’ve tried it. Explore careers you’re interested in by interning, reaching out to seniors and possible mentors, and taking the initiative to really dig deep and learn about what these jobs entail.

 

6. Take advantage of your school’s programmes

Many uni students show up at tutorials when they know their professors will be taking attendance, go for lectures when they think they’ll be useful, and that’s all. They live most of their lives outside of school, which is totally fine.

But it’s a good idea to have a look at what your university has to offer, and to take advantage of the various programmes and CCAs that interest you. Some students don’t even bother finding out what activities they can try through their schools, which is a pity.

For instance, NUS has a range of special programmes for undergrads, such as undergrad research opportunities which enable students to assist in research on projects that interest them. The NUS Overseas College Silicon Valley programme sends students to Silicon Valley on internships and also gives them the chance to take courses at Stanford University.

Participating in these programmes won’t just make you a more engaged student, they can also give you a better idea of what you would like to do career wise, as well as give your CV a boost in a sea of people graduating with the exact same degree.

What’s the most useful thing you’ve learnt at university so far? Tell us in the comments!

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Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.