My Hustle – University Students Speak on Juggling Between Making Money and Lectures

March 16, 2020

In the wake of current harsh economic times, it is not uncommon for university students to engage in side hustles to earn a living. However, juggling between the demands of college and a side hustle is never easy and neither is finding a perfect part-time job.

Some students shared their tales of financial strain in college and their side hustles.

Dennis Koffi, 20, Bachelor of Laws student

On weekdays, I am a student studying voluminous books. On weekends, I wear a mascot and become a clown. In class I am Dennis. On stage I am Mr Bambula, the clown.

I consider this a talent, the moonlighting provides me an opportunity to better my clowning art and to mint money. I have a stable customer base, mostly from referrals.

I hail from Kangemi slums in Nairobi where, from a tender age, I was made to understand that I was a potential bread winner. Having such a talent is golden.

The exposure has taught me not to rely on money from my parents, which does not meet all my needs. There are some things I cannot ask my parents to provide, so the extra cash helps.

Upon admission to the university, I dedicated my weekends to my hustle from which I get surplus cash to keep me through the week.

I engage children at birthday parties and weddings. I also do body, face, and traditional painting depending on a client’s wish.

Apparently, most parties run during weekends when the children are off school. Sometimes when a gig comes during the weekday I am forced to forgo classes.

I later make up for lost time by studying overnight and visiting the library frequently.

Often, my friends are surprised because they don’t understand how I manage both undertakings given that pursuing a law degree is considered tough. Those that support my grind encourage me.

The side hustle has improved my time management skills. It has also taught me general financial discipline and life skills.

The little I save from the hustle I buy clothes, repair my clown costumes and stationery and cater for my needs. I also employ an assistant on a commission basis.

Laureen Mayoye, 19, Law student and Online writer

Besides being a law student, I am an online academic writer. I get assignments from international university students and I do them as required. The assignments have strict deadlines. If one fails to deliver within the stipulated duration one is fined.

It is a hustle I took up in 2018, immediately after joining university. Online academic writing requires a lot of sacrifice and good time management skills.

I am forced to have a flexible study timetable and ensure that I balance between studies and my hustle.

Before I pick up any assignment, I check to ensure that it allows me adequate time to revise my notes and attend group discussions.

Many reasons motivate me to keep on with this hustle. There is financial independence. Then, the need for something to keep me busy when I am not attending classes.

I also love learning and researching which help me because the online assignments are of various courses.

Previously, I used to be idle. Then a friend needed some research work done and requested me to chip in. I did the work well and that was the beginning of my hustle.

Most of my friends think it is a great side job. They even help me with research when I have several assignments to work on.

While the hustle is important, I attach a lot of value to my studies. They come before everything else. I am glad that my education has not been affected by my hustle.

I get paid at the end of the month for work done and submitted on time. The extra cash foots my bills and emergencies. I also get to learn lessons from other fields.

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