Students and side hustles: a match made in heaven
By Kaitlyn McCormick
There’s no doubt that college can be expensive, but a look into what Rider students are doing with their spare time, from eBay to Etsy to showgirl dancing and ultrasound workshopping, is the pinnacle definition of the term side hustle.
In today’s digital age, students have turned to resources like eBay, Etsy and even Instagram to showcase and sell their wares. Senior communication studies major Andrew Coates has an eBay store where he sells baseball cards and flips kitchenware, his highest profit being around $800 for a rare pair of Topps rookie cards.
According to Coates, who has been selling on eBay for about a year, it can be a great way to bring in money without a major time commitment.
“You can pop in the thrift store even after school or something and take a quick look around,” Coates said, noting that it can take just a few minutes to find something worth flipping. “It kinda keeps me going; it’s like a fun lottery-type thing.”
Sophomore sociology major Jennie Mae Sprouse also shared her experience using online platforms to share and sell her work: homemade earrings. Sprouse shared that making earrings had become a hobby at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, and she soon after started selling them on the popular online platform Etsy.
“I’ve always wanted to learn how to make jewelry … I sort of went into it blindly,” Sprouse said.
After having some issues with the platform, Sprouse decided to operate mainly from Instagram. Her page, @jenniemaeearrings, highlights a variety of earrings from celestial enamel dangles to miniature pepsi cans.
While Sprouse admits to facing a lull in posting, she has utilized her connections at Rider to both sell and share her work with friends. She also did an event with her sorority, Sigma Alpha Iota.
Outside of what some may deem more traditional routes for an extra paycheck, some students have found income through more niche avenues.
Senior finance major Brittany L. works as a professional performer, doing both ballroom and night club gigs. Brittany requested to have her last name omitted due to the differences in her intended field and side job as a professional dancer, noting the common misconceptions about performance work that exist in the finance field.
“I’ve met so many people and [have] been faced with so many different opinions on being a professional performer, and since some were rather negative I don’t want this to impact my career as a financial professional,” said Brittany.
Brittany’s performances range from professional showgirl work, stilt walking, night club dancing, choreography and LED performances. She said that she puts forth 20-30 hours per week performing on top of other academic and professional responsibilities.
“A lot of people who know me know if they even have a sniffle, I’m 10 feet away from them. I cannot get sick. I cannot miss work. I can’t miss a performance, none of that,” Brittany said.
Throughout the years starting in a ballroom dance background and crossing the threshold to a professional career, she shared that one of her favorite parts is seeing how much she has grown in her own technique and skill.
The last installment of these Bronc’s side hustles comes from senior film and television major Karl Stever, who makes $400-$500 a few times a year working with the New York School of Regional Anesthesia on the weekends.
“I set up six to eight ultrasound machines along with a projector for professors around America to come give lectures about how to properly do ultrasounds on human bodies,” Stever said.
The work takes two different roles, either setting up the audio visual parts of the ultrasound presentation or serving as a live model. As for preference, Stever said that while the setup and breakdown pay more, it depends on what mood he’s in.
While Stever said these workshops take place all over from Dubai to Florida, he primarily works in Weehawken, New Jersey.
“It’s incredibly easy money … spread out through the year,” Stever said, noting that he plans to keep up with the practice after graduation.
Regardless of what jobs students are doing to rake in some extra pocket change, these Broncs have run the gamut in potential earning activities.