5 Best Jobs While Getting Your Degree

Some of us don’t get our degrees as a freebie. Maybe it’s family finances, or a failed first attempt. Maybe it’s just a bloody-minded desire to make our own way in the world. Whatever the case, education is expensive; and with more assignments than a cubicle worker has ass blisters, a good job is out of the question. Or is it? In this article, I explore some of the best work options of Singaporean University students. Try them out, and you might soon be paying your tuition and eating three meals a day:

Checkout Girl

“Once I get my business degree, I’ll be…doing more of this. Damn it.”

1. Student Relations / Student Care Officer

This desirable part-time job is acquired by bugging the student services office. It’s becoming rare, since Universities like to use slaves student volunteers instead. But if the position is available, go for it.

Student Relations / Student Care officers help other students in administrative issues. This ranges from finding internships to helping with student Visas. Some campuses also hire Student Care officers who also provide counselling, like me. It was easy; two sessions and I cured the whole lot. The feedback comment was “Please don’t make me go in the same room as that man again.”

This job pays around $1200 a month, part-time. While it’s time consuming, it’s also on-campus; you can keep up with your studies while working. Just don’t expect to get a lot of fame or credit.

Giant ass nerf gun

“We’ll give you all the tools you need to connect with students. The rope and truncheon are on the way.”

2. Personal Tutor

Tutoring is the best job for disgruntled students. Unhappy with homework, assignments, and grades? Now you can inflict the same suffering on another human being, and get paid for it.

Approach local tuition agencies, rather than going it alone. Working with an agency means having a buffer; even if the client pays late, the agency can give you an advance. Likewise, you can borrow from the agency’s store of hand-outs, assessment books, and (if you need to severely retard someone’s writing skills) model composition answers.

Tuition generally pays between $240 – $350 a month, per student. Prices vary based on your experience and the student’s grade level. Note that this job gives you flexible time, which is not the same as more time. You’ll have to grade papers and track student progress. It’s highly advisable that you stick to maths and science tuition, because it’s much easier to mark (Language subjects require you to read entire essays).

Tutor and student
Tutor and student

“And then you tape the answer sheet under your desk, and that’s how you pass maths.”

3. Bartender

Bartenders earn a decent wage, and see a lot of perks on the side. If you’ve got networking skills, this job can pay off long after you earn that degree. While other students are drooling into copies of Wonderful World of Accounting (1987), the student bartender is getting to know businessmen, lawyers, artists…the list goes on. Bartenders also get popular on campus; sometimes they can nab discounts for friends.

And in case you’re thinking it…no, student bartenders get smashed less often than their counterparts. They need to run the bar until it closes, see?

Bartenders make $8 – $11 an hour; experienced mixologists can make up to $15 an hour. The median income for a part-time bartender is about $1500 a month. Obviously, one huge advantage is that work hours seldom clash with lecture hours. But I can’t stress enough that, for introverts who won’t network, this job loses most of its advantages.

Bartender with salvador dali moustache
Bartender with salvador dali moustache

“Yeah, I’m an art student but I’m bartending. I’m unpretentious that way.”

4. Security Guard

This may be a good move, depending on your workload. I’m going to be honest here: Being a security guard does for your resume the same thing Daredevil did for Ben Affleck. No offence to security guards out there, I’m just describing another stupid national prejudice.

So what’s the advantage? Well, being a security guard gives you a lot of free time. Especially if you’re on the graveyard shift. It’s just you, a dimly lit counter, and a pitch dark building. Which means you’ll either be the protagonist of the next Incredible Tales, or the only student who actually read the texts.

Most security guards earn $900 – $1200 a month. Of all the jobs on this list, this is the one that provides the most study time. While it may not look impressive on a resume, it might mean stellar tests scores. Consider it if you’re the studious type. But if you’re going to spend that time draining your iPod batteries, then find some other job.*

*As of August 2012, it may be difficult for students to find these jobs. Security firms have taken to hiring full-timers only, as a means of uplifting the industry. Follow us on Facebook if you need more ideas; we look into career issues all the time. 

Sleeping security guard

“Wow, this job is just like attending lectures.”

5. Short Order Cook

This is strictly for students with a lot of energy, and a high pain threshold. If you can plough through any difficulty and keep working, like some sort of unholy flesh golem, you want to consider this job.

Short order cooks make simple, fast-food type meals. The biggest advantage to this job is that you’ll never go hungry; ask for the leftover burgers or whatever, and odds are you’ll get it. Whether you want it after cooking 300 of it is another matter. You’ll also learn practical skills, like basic cooking, time management, and immunity to heat. Work hours are long, but there’s no “take home” work; when work hours end, you’re finished.

Short order cooks make $700 – $900 a month, and meals are almost always paid for. This job requires a lot of energy, but it teaches you to stay calm under frenzied conditions. Short order cooks also learn a lot about organization and time management, and it’s relatively hard to get fired from this job (people quit!)

Short order cook giving someone a hat
Short order cook giving someone a hat

“That was a good eight seconds. Interview’s over, you’re hired; grab that mop and walk over here.”