Author Topic: Financial advice for a currently-unemployed college student?  (Read 2611 times)

momijizukamori

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Financial advice for a currently-unemployed college student?
« on: December 24, 2014, 12:08:49 AM »
So, to lay it all out:
I'm 26. I graduated debt-free (thank you amazing parents)  from aCanadian university with a BSc in Biology in 2010, at which point the economy was still a trainwreck and bio jobs were practically non-existant. I worked a string of dead-end temp jobs for three years before my work permit in Canada expired (last summer) at which point I moved back in with family. My marks were poor enough with my first degree that grad school wasn't an option, so right now I'm doing a second BSc in Computer Science at a state university, with the hopes that because I have more industry connections there I'll have better luck when I graduate in a year or so (second degree = less credits required).

I've been working on and off since I was fifteen, but never anything with career-advancing skills, or possibilities of promotions - I've never made over $2/month at any of them. At this point my main job and work/life balance is 'does not give me constant stress-nightmares' which I mean very literally - I have had repeated nightmares about some of the jobs because they made me that unhappy.

Financial Stuff
Current income: $0
Money 'on hand':
~$100 in a checking account
$31k in a Fidelity Four-In-One Index fund (originally set up by my parents, and I'm open to investment advice or reading suggestions. I've been drawing on this in the last year when I need money which I know is NO VERY BAD DON'T DO THAT)

Current expenses:
Food/Housing/Car: $0 (covered by parents until I graduate)
Tuition: ~$6k a semester. I paid for the first upfront with money from the FFNOX, and decided to apply for student loans this last term - because of my age and financial status, I qualify for federal direct loans, half of which are subsidized (no interest accruing), and half unsubsidized (interest rate is lower than FFNOX return rate). I'm open to reconsidering next fall, if there are better ideas.
Cellphone: $40/mo
Health Insurance: $0, subject to change (state still hasn't figured out my eligability for subsidies and gave me free coverage this year. I take a number of prescription meds so I can't do the low premium/high deductible thing)
Other spending: ~$300/mo (mostly craft supplies and travel. I'm aiming to cut this down next year)

In Canada, I could just barely squeeze by on $1.1k a month - another $200 would have made things comfortable. $750 of that was rent + utilities, the rest was all my living expenses except car insurance (parents were paying for that due to slightly complicated registration things) and income for fun stuff.

I think right now I'm looking for advice on 1) doing my best to make the most of what I have right now, 2) suggestions for part-time work/income earning that won't lead to a mental breakdown two weeks in and 3) possibly some assurance that my nightmare of 'you're going to spend your whole life working in customer service jobs that make you miserable for $9/hr' will probably not be reality.

momijizukamori

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Re: Financial advice for a currently-unemployed college student?
« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2014, 12:35:13 AM »
Do student loans not provide money for living expenses?

Computer science is a pretty lucrative degree. For best results, try to get an internship at a top company (Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, etc.).

I'm not sure how living-expenses work with federal loans - I didn't have to take any out for my first degree, so I'm still learning some of the specifics.

Yeah, a lot of the supposed job shortage in many STEM fields is a total exaggeration (I'm not the only person I know with hard science degree and no bites after years of jobhunting), but CS still has some growth. Plus being a student again gives access to some internship opportunities, though I know these days they're increasingly unpaid ones.

DCJrMustachian

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Re: Financial advice for a currently-unemployed college student?
« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2014, 01:19:54 AM »
When I was working on my CS degree I did part-time website development work.  It seemed pretty lucrative given that I was earning twice what my liberal arts peers were getting in their entry-level service jobs, I could work from home and had flexible hours. 

And it led to a career in websites!

momijizukamori

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Re: Financial advice for a currently-unemployed college student?
« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2014, 11:21:06 AM »
Your CS internship definitely should not be unpaid. Market rate for CS interns in the bay area is $6000-8000 per month plus housing (either a housing stipend or actual corporate housing, depending on the company). There is zero reason for the words "unpaid internship" to even be in your mind, so banish the thought.

Noted! In biology it was pretty much expected that you do unpaid work before getting anywhere, which I suspect was some of the problem I had with finding jobs - I paid my own living expenses, so I couldn't afford to do a lot of unpaid work.