Weird Ways I Made Money in University

Debt-Free University

Like most young people I worked my way through university. At any given time I usually had 1-3 jobs on the go (not including professional crazy person). In addition to working regular jobs in food service and retail I often picked up strange casual work. Here are some of the oddest odd jobs that helped me get through school …

  1. I Was a Professional Lab Rat

    I participated in clinical research trials at local universities around my city. Don’t worry, contrary to what sci-fi films may have lead you to believe there are plenty of non-invasive opportunities to earn money and gift cards in as little as a few hours. It gets even sweeter: I even managed to score extra-credit for psychology and biology classes in university.


    INTERESTED? Check out the research section of your local hospital’s website, try searching for keywords like ‘research study’ in you area’s Kijiji  or newspaper classifieds, or head to Center Watch to search for clinical trials by location. Don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled around campus: most clinical research trials still post some form of print advertising in libraries, cafeterias and other major gathering spots.

    NOTE: Make sure to READ THE FINE PRINT on any trials you consider participating in. Some trials run on a volunteer basis meaning you will not be compensated for your time.

  2. I Worked as a Birthday Party Clown

    I’m not joking. This was actually a throwback to one of my earliest money making schemes that found me twisting balloon animals at carnivals and local gatherings. Throw in some face painting, craft supplies and a crazy outfit and you have one heck of a casual money making scheme. The best part? Often in addition to getting paid a lump sum for a few hours of ‘work’ you will often find that families will invite you to share in refreshments– any university student knows that free food is worth its weight in gold!






    INTERESTED? Check out local advertisements to join a birthday party troop in your area, post an ad on Kijiji or in the classifieds, or network by offering to clown at parties for friends or coworkers with children.

  3. I Modeled For Art Classes

    After running around from class to lab to study group all day long sitting still for a few hours sounds like a dream job. To be honest, it pretty much is. Once again, contrary to what mainstream media may have lead you believe art class models are not necessarily naked elderly men– adults of all ages, shapes and sizes can sign up and you can dress up or down to your comfort level. As a person who has done it, it is totally possible to find positions where you wear assorted draped clothing or fabrics, tights or swimwear: artists need to learn textures and shading too.


    INTERESTED? Contact your local art school or art class providers to see if they are looking for models. Use common sense and NEVER agree to ‘model’ for randoms on the internet- you could get ripped off or worse!  Make sure you are modeling for reputable companies or schools and only commit to sessions whose requirements make you feel comfortable. No reputable employer will ever hesitate to let you know what you will be expected to wear, how long you will hold poses or how much you will be compensated.

    BONUS: With the artist’s permission you may end up with photos or originals of some pretty sweet portraits of yourself for FREE!


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