Author Topic: Intelligent college student looking for job that actually requires brain power  (Read 9367 times)

ghostintheshell

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So I finally have a life plan figured out, at 21 I feel like thats a pretty big accomplishment. But now I need a job to pay for living expenses and whatnot until I get that fancy piece of paper. I have always been hopping around different college student style jobs. I don't like them, they require such little thinking and I feel like a drone. I have almost no funds to start anything like a small business, and I have been thinking about some sort of work I can do on the computer/interwebs for something that is at least minimum wage.

Should I attempt at making websites? Is there any money in that, do I sell them, keep them and get ad traffic, etc? Do surveys really make a decent amount of money, they have always seemed like a scam to me and probably will feel just like the drone work I dont like. I learn things pretty fast but I dont want to spend the next 6 months learning to program in the hopes I think of a cool app to make $200 on. I would love to make like $100 a week just working 4 hours a day or something on the computer. I have read about those websites where students pay people in other countries to write papers for them and they get very subpar work done, I mean I could do that, as an English speaking American at much higher quality. But if the paper takes 6 hours and I only make $20 than whats the point. I just need some help to get started in the right direction.

TLDR version: How do you make money on the internet? If you are an adult with a family, I probably only need 1/4th of what you make XD
Help me get started in the right direction :D

Thanks,
Ghost

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you could tutor people... high school or other college students. It'll help you learn the material too

gdborton

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I wrote intro java applications for math majors while I was in school.  They were required to take CS120, but couldn't be bothered to learn.  Took about 20 minutes to make $25, the downside is the risk of being expelled or having credits stripped.

Two thoughts that I've had previous is to create a website for local PC repair/maintenance, or creating and managing a company's website (or web presence in general).  The maintenance bit is best for both parties and it would get them results, and you a repeat customer.

Sparafusile

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Donate blood/plasma.

Participate in medical/dental studies.

Start a blog and monetize it.

Write a book and self publish on Amazon.

markstache

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odesk.com elance.com are two sites that serve as a marketplace for businesses and internet-based free lancers. I got several decent gigs through odesk one year. You could look around to see what people are hiring for and see what skills you have and what skills you need.

FastStache

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I would work on acquiring skills to help you after you graduate.  You want to land a job and likely have one lined up at least 6 months prior to graduating.

An internship in your field, hopefully one that pays. If you want to do other things on the side such as elancing, tutoring, then go for it. But, you should focus on making your degree worthwhile if you are investing so much time and money into it.

dinkhelpneeded

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I would work on acquiring skills to help you after you graduate.  You want to land a job and likely have one lined up at least 6 months prior to graduating.

An internship in your field, hopefully one that pays. If you want to do other things on the side such as elancing, tutoring, then go for it. But, you should focus on making your degree worthwhile if you are investing so much time and money into it.

+1 on this. Graduating, and finding a job are 2 different things! I would HIGHLY recommend getting into a good internship program that PAYS! usually they tend to be well thought out internships.

Second, make sure you start interviewing atleast 6mos before graduating. Bragging here, but I had 4 job offers lined up before graduating, and I pitched one offer against the other and finally took a decision based on a good team combined with great pay.

Seriously, if you have one job offer, the others immediately want you like you're going out of style.

onehappypanda

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Presumably, you are in college to acquire the skills, thinking processes, and connections that will provide you with a career that requires brain power. That said, I would not panic if you aren't doing exactly what you want to do right now.

While I applaud you for wanting to make more money in a shorter frame of time, I would caution against assuming that all "regular" student jobs are somehow beneath you. At the risk of sounding harsh, not everything you do needs to be special and fun and unique. Many of us have had to do "drone work" to make a few extra bucks while we set ourselves up for something better. And there will probably be "drone work" aspects to any job you have, even ones you overall like. There's something to be said for the skills and maturity you can gain working a regular retail or serving job while attending college, even if it's just learning how to deal with other people or solve problems in a day-to-day setting. Plus regular employment generally looks good on your resume when you graduate, as opposed to strings of short-term gigs.

To answer your questions more specifically:
-I would avoid survey websites and other get-rich-quick-type schemes. I've tried a few and typically the time investment isn't worth it.
-I personally would not advise paper writing or other sketchy schemes, just because I don't think the risk of getting caught (in most universities, automatic expulsion) is worth the pay compared to a legitimate job. And it's not exactly something that goes on your resume.
-You could monetize a blog, but my understanding is that it takes a fair amount of up-front legwork with creating content that will drive the traffic you need to make any money off of this. Most big bloggers seem to have spent years writing before their blogs really started making money, which sounds like it isn't what you're looking for.
-If you're good with people, some commission sales jobs can be fairly lucrative. Micro Center and Carmax are both options I've had friends do, and both made more money than they would have, say, delivering pizzas.
-Participating in studies isn't something I'd count on as a full-time gig, but it can help you make a few hundred bucks here and there. Which, if you invest it wisely, does add up. Look at nearby medical centers and websites like researchmatch.org.
- Internships. If you haven't had one, find one. Paid, preferably. But even unpaid, if it will provide you with legitimately helpful skills and connections that could lead to higher paying jobs in the near future. I took an unpaid internship for 3 quarters my first year in undergrad, but it allowed me to take on higher-paying jobs that required experience for the rest of undergrad. Not an awful deal, all told. Just avoid the internships that are basically unpaid shitwork jobs- that's where you should legitimately be picky about what you're doing.
- +1 on the freelancer sites like odesk if you have a skill that someone might pay for, or check out tutoring websites to see if there's anything you might be qualified to tutor.
-Check out the "gigs" listing of Craigslist from time-to-time. Sometimes somebody will pay you to move their furniture on short notice, not something you could likely live off of but another source of extra cash.

In undergrad I generally tried to separate my "real job" from my "side gigs". My real job had a fair amount of drone work involved, but it was a regular thing and it led to acquiring some skills plus a glowing letter of recommendation from my boss. My side gigs provided extra cash but usually weren't anything too resume-worthy unless I built up a skill for them (to some extent, tutoring was the exception). Personally, I think it's important to have a bit of  both going on.

Chowder

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If I've tried to teach my friends anything it's this:

That’s the thing about life. It doesn’t really care about your plans. So you can chart all the courses you want, but it’s much better to just be prepared and flexible for the opportunities that come your way.


ch12

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I think that the recommendations of the other commenters are great. And the one thing that I'd like to drive home is have a job lined up before you graduate.

There's a huge difference between someone who is in school and gets a job offer and someone who has been out of school for a year and looking for a job offer. You want to be the first one, not the second one. The company wants to know that you're not just desperately taking what comes. The best investment that you can make for your future is definitely getting a job lined up - and multiple job offers are extremely great.

That said, I tutored from the time I was a freshman until my senior year. I adored it and I had a lot of fun. A lot of that was from my work environment, because my coworkers were awesome people. My boss only hired super-cool, excellent, nice people. It's definitely worth looking into - and really it can only help. For example, Deloitte hires from the computer class tutors at my school and very specifically targets them for their analytical skills. I've been thinking of suggesting that to my HR folks, simply because my computer class was all about building huge, complex relational databases, which has turned out to be almost the most relevant thing I learned in school.

Gerard

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Here's the problem: if you're 21 and an undergrad, you don't deserve non-drone jobs yet.

I would go with most of the advice already posted. Do something in the area you want to work in, even without pay, to make yourself attractive to future employers and to make connections.

Consider starting your own small side hustle, but be prepared for a couple of years where it doesn't really make any money (and if you know it won't make money for a while, why not build in an altruistic component?). This will also help you learn how to deal with people, manage a budget, etc., and will also make you a better "catch" for a future employer.

To cover your expenses, do whatever pays best that's legal and not too dangerous.

MrsPete

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I mean this in the nicest possible way:  I don't think you have anything figured out. 

You have realized that you're not happy with your current lifestyle.
You have planned for a better future.   
You have an unrealistic hope of making money via surveys or writing papers. 

You're missing out on one of the key components:  It takes hard work to get from where you are now to where you want to be, and at this point you're not qualified for anything except drone-work.  That piece of fancy paper is much more than a piece of fancy paper. 

At this point you need to stick with your current unappealing college-type jobs.  If not for the paycheck, not many people would deliver pizzas, sell shoes, or flip burgers -- but that's what works for you at this point.  The work is easy to get, and the fact that it isn't mentally taxing leaves you more academic focus for your classwork.  Consider this paying your dues.  It is an unavoidable phase of life.

You should put your energy into preparing for after-graduation life:

- Investigate your plan.  Be sure that the degree towards which you're working will actually make you employable.  Be sure that the job for which you're preparing is one that is going to be available and feasible in a rapidly changing world.  If you've just glossed over this, thinking that your plan couldn't possibly be lacking in any way, then think again.  Most of my students -- and even my college daughter -- are overly optimistic about how easy things'll be once they put "their plan" into place.   
- Pick up on skills that'll help you in that job /experience that'll make you stand out from the field of graduates with your same degree.  If you can get into a paid internship, wonderful -- but not everyone can manage that.  If not, look into volunteer work in your field. 
- Keep your GPA high. 
- For most college students, saving much of anything is too lofty a goal, but do avoid debt.  Do your best not to start your life in the hole.
- Pay attention to your health.  This is just as much an asset as your future paycheck.

And keep plugging along in the drone jobs 'til you're qualified for something more.   


TLV

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At this point you need to stick with your current unappealing college-type jobs.  If not for the paycheck, not many people would deliver pizzas, sell shoes, or flip burgers -- but that's what works for you at this point.  The work is easy to get, and the fact that it isn't mentally taxing leaves you more academic focus for your classwork.  Consider this paying your dues.  It is an unavoidable phase of life.

Within the category of "unappealing college-type jobs," there may be some opportunities that are better than others, especially if you're in a technical area like engineering or computer science. TA (Teaching Assistant) for classes you've passed; RA (Research Assistant) - basically a grad student's grad student (especially good if you're considering a PhD, since it will let you see what it's like); drone-level web development/programming jobs, if you're going in to software.

I did all three of the above while an undergrad, and they contributed heavily to the résumé and skills that landed my first "real" job. They also paid my living expenses with wages well above the minimum.

I should add that my first semester I worked in the food court emptying trash cans - you can't be a TA if you haven't passed any classes yet!

Jamesqf

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I would love to make like $100 a week just working 4 hours a day or something on the computer.

Wouldn't we all like that?  (And yes, I do make rather more than that working on the computer, but I put in a lot of time both learning to program and learning the basics of sciences so I could understand what my clients want.)  The problem you seem to be facing is that you really have no useful skills, but want people to give you money.  Now if you are in fact intelligent, you ought to be able to see the problem.  You have to be able to provide something of value in return.

As for making money on the internet, about the only "easy" way is to start a blog and develop a readership.  The problem there is that you have to be able to write on something that is entertaining and/or informative, or nobody's going to bother reading, and your ad revenue will be zilch.

mlipps

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Don't underestimate the so called "soft skills" you learn at more traditional college student jobs. I worked in an on campus office at the front desk for two years as a student. I learned lots of things other students learned at internships, like phone etiquette, office customs, email skills, communication, it all sounds dumb and basic until you actually have to do it and people are judging you based on it. I'm a lot easier on a student worker than I am a 23 year old co worker as far as my expectations for professionalism. 

Rust

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Whatever you do.  Don't be a money mule.  Don't be lured into a scam trying to make money fast and easy.

http://www.banksafeonline.org.uk/common-scams/money-mules/money-mules-explained

Sometimes these Money mule jobs will even show up on reputable job boards.

http://securitywatch.pcmag.com/security/312625-zeus-criminals-recruiting-money-mules-on-careerbuilder

sheepstache

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Not to sound even more disheartening, but a big key to success is figuring out what you can do that others will value.  If you don't have that figured out yet, then you don't have your big life plan. 

If you do have a plan, just find some way to start it now.  Do whatever aspects of it you can do without the diploma. 

Don't faff around with activities that don't move you towards your long-term goals.  This time of your life is, like the rest of it, the most valuable time to devote all of your energy (not to the point of burn out, of course) towards your goals.  So I get where you're coming from that you don't want to "waste time" on McJobs, but the other options you name seem like a waste of time too.

Nords

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TLDR version: How do you make money on the internet?
Help me get started in the right direction :D
Pat Flynn is standing by to help you select a niche site and build it up to revenues within 90 days:
http://www.smartpassiveincome.com/
http://www.nichesiteduel.com/

grantmeaname

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if you're 21 and an undergrad, you don't deserve non-drone jobs yet.
At this point you need to stick with your current unappealing college-type jobs...Consider this paying your dues.  It is an unavoidable phase of life...And keep plugging along in the drone jobs 'til you're qualified for something more.
Is it "be an asshole to young people day" and I missed the flyer? If you were saying "it's hard for people early in their careers to find jobs that they feel give them autonomy and allow them to make a difference in the world", I'd be right there with you. But I have a really hard time swallowing "you don't deserve autonomy and the other psychological benefits of an ideal work situation because you're 21 years old". Is he sub-human or something?

Joel

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The best way to lineup a career while still in school is to be involved with an organization that focuses on that career and take on a college job that will translate to that career. It could be a summer internship, it could be tutoring, it could be an officer role in an organization, or it could be any job that will pay you and you figure out a way that it made you more well rounded.

You didn't mention what your major is... But that could play a big factor in what type of college work you can find.

Personally, I did all of the above that I mentioned and worked full time for six months out of the year every year at the forest service. I was able to translate skills I acquired at the forest service (woodland firefighter) into skills that translated into being an auditor at a big four public accounting firm.

Finding meaningful work in college is all what you make it. I was able to graduate with no debt, 30k in my retirement accounts, and 40k in the bank. Multiple job offers, and a starting positiong at the company i wanred to work for. But it took hard work, and did not come easy.

Katnina

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you could tutor people... high school or other college students. It'll help you learn the material too
+1
I worked for Kaplan tutoring SAT prep when I was in college (10+yrs ago...).  Made $25/hr and it was cool to connect with teens and talk about their plans for college, etc.  They also do specialized test tutoring now, so if you are good at biology or Spanish or whatever, you could help with that.