Trying to combine a job with a degree is surely a challenge. Especially if you study full-time and it’s hard to spare even a second with all the assignments and papers to be written. However, the current economic landscape demands a somewhat stable income to have a life of your own. So how can you organize that for yourself as a student? What can you do to ensure financial stability? Reddit has a few answers.

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Key Takeaways:

  • Pursuing advanced degrees while working full-time poses challenges like time constraints, mental exhaustion, and university policies against outside employment, often leading to potential burnout.
  • Working while studying offers practical experience that bridges the gap between theoretical knowledge and real-world application. This experience can offer financial relief, boost understanding, and present networking opportunities valuable for future career prospects.
  • Master’s and PhD students can generate passive income through methods like patent licensing, creating online courses, writing e-books, and investing, ensuring financial stability and providing them with more flexibility in their academic journey.

Pursuing a master’s degree or PhD while working is not just a matter of juggling academic and professional commitments, but also striking a balance with personal life. Such a position demands significant time and energy, often leading to long days filled with classes, research, work tasks, and tight deadlines. This hectic pace can take a toll on personal well-being, reducing the time available for relaxation, hobbies, or even family members. But what if you start recognizing the fact that your current income is not enough to support you?

One of the users on Reddit shared their story, describing their personal issues with picking up a part-time job.

Some people wondered, if the average doctoral salary in the USA shows pretty decent numbers, what’s the problem? We have to remember that these figures are a result of the prolonged hard work of people with established academic titles. But what if you’re still in the process of getting your degree?

The Ups and Downs of Having an Intense Academic Life and a Full-Time Job

Combining a master’s degree or PhD with work is a challenging process for many reasons. Firstly, both postgraduate studies and full-time jobs are highly demanding in terms of time, energy, and commitment. Master’s and PhD programs often require extensive research, regular class attendance, assignments, and examinations. These academic responsibilities can be time-consuming, leaving little room for work obligations, since they also require some time for preparation. 

Moreover, the cognitive load of juggling between academic and professional tasks can be mentally exhausting. Often, when one tries to excel in both areas, there’s a risk of burnout or compromised performance in either domain. Furthermore, logistical issues such as scheduling between work hours and class timings can also arise, even if the person is studying remotely. 

One of the users under the original thread stressed the significance of checking university policies regarding outside employment (which also can be a pain in the… neck). 

“You do need to check your university states is acceptable in your contract if you are funded, many universities will tell you no outside employment is allowed.”

Despite these restrictions, the person worked almost full-time in service industry jobs during their PhD, choosing locations where encounters with department members were less likely. Balancing academic and work commitments was stressful for them, leading to sleep deprivation and continuous anxiety.

Another significant concern is the difficulty in finding a balance between work, studies, and personal life. All these factors make it tough for individuals to effectively pursue a master’s or PhD while working full-time, as each requires significant attention and dedication to be successful. 

However, nobody is doomed when having to combine a full-time job and academic research, although it is rather difficult. Such a lifestyle allows individuals to gain practical experience while advancing academically, bridging the gap between theory and real-world application. This can often lead to a deeper understanding of subjects and improved problem-solving skills. Apart from that, working while studying can provide financial stability, helping to offset tuition fees and related expenses. This can significantly reduce or even eliminate student debt. 

Moreover, maintaining a job while pursuing higher education showcases determination, time management skills, and dedication, qualities highly valued by future employers. Being employed in a related field can also complement one’s studies, providing opportunities and networking options (and who doesn’t like that?). Overall, by being active in the workforce, individuals can expand their professional contacts, which can be beneficial for future career advancements or collaborations. 

Taking Side Hustles for Further Education

For many master’s and PhD students, the idea of taking on side hustles or part-time jobs isn’t just about financial support. It’s about amplifying their educational experience and bolstering their career trajectory. Tapping into job avenues that resonate with one’s career goals or contribute to one’s academic growth can yield multiple benefits.

Being a research assistant isn’t just about getting paid or having some fees waived. It’s a great way to learn more about new studies and topics, work with other researchers, and build thinking skills. For students who like writing or come from arts and communication areas, Freelance Writing or Editing can be a good choice. It helps them improve their writing, build a collection of their works, and maybe even get their work in famous places.

Redditors Share Tips for Full-Time Master's and PhD Students on Making Extra Money

Tutoring, or teaching other students, is another great option. It doesn’t only help earn money but also makes one’s understanding of subjects stronger. Internships are like short jobs in companies related to the student’s field of study. They can learn how things work outside of school and meet new people in their field. One of the users shared their own experience as a tutor.

“If you’re a former teacher you might be able to make money as a tutor. My husband made a few hundred extra dollars a month on top of his TA job by tutoring. It was largely high school students with wealthy parents studying for AP tests or SAT/ACT.”

Consultancy means giving advice or solutions based on what one knows. This can be rewarding as it lets students use their knowledge in real situations. Finally, leading workshops or small teaching events can boost confidence, improve speaking in public, and make one known as an expert in a field. All these jobs can help students grow and get ready for the future.

Getting Extra Income with Minimal Effort and Maximum Convenience

For many people, work isn’t always about passion or career advancement; sometimes it’s simply a means to an end. Driven by the pressing need to pay bills and meet basic necessities, individuals might find themselves in jobs that don’t align with their aspirations or interests. Such jobs become a routine, where the primary focus shifts to earning a paycheck rather than finding fulfillment or growth in the tasks at hand.

Some Redditors highlighted that their job choices while pursuing a degree circled around a higher salary and not a lot of effort rather than an emotional connection.

“My favorite grad school job was security – specifically, building security. Some places will pay more for second or third shift (which can be great if you need to schedule around daytime teaching or research obligations).”

“I basically work an entire second full time job. But the advice that I would actually offer is Rover. Catsitting takes like no work. You have to like… do it right, but it fits into your life very easily. They bring the cats to you. You don’t need to leave the house.”

The daily grind might feel monotonous, and the work can often be approached with a sense of detachment, but the interest is sacrificed for a quick buck, which is understandable in a way. So, there are ways to earn extra income with minimal effort and great convenience. Here are some ideas:

  1. Online Surveys: Many companies pay for opinions. Taking short surveys in free time can be an easy way to earn some money.
  2. Selling Notes: If you take good study notes, consider selling them online. It helps others, and you earn from work you’ve already done.
  3. Affiliate Marketing: By promoting products on blogs or social media, students can earn commissions for every sale made through their links.
  4. Online Tutoring: Use your academic strengths to teach others online. It’s flexible and can be done from home.
  5. Renting Out Space: If you have extra room or space, consider renting it out occasionally. Websites like Airbnb make it simple.

While this approach might address immediate economic concerns, it can sometimes lead to feelings of stagnation or a lack of personal and professional satisfaction in the long run. However, the options listed above provide financial relief in needy times and that’s what matters.

Passive Income Options for Master’s Students and PhDs

Passive or unearned income as defined by IRS means earnings derived from a source or activity that doesn’t require consistent, active involvement. Instead of trading time directly for money, as in a typical job, passive income flows after an initial investment of time, money, or both. 

This type of income brings several advantages. It can pave the way to financial freedom, allowing individuals to cover their living expenses without the need for ongoing employment. By tapping into multiple passive income sources, individuals can diversify their revenue streams, reducing the risk of financial downturns. The steady flow of passive income also offers unparalleled flexibility, giving people the liberty to work when and how they choose. Over time, certain passive sources, such as investments or digital content, can even see growth, offering larger returns for the same initial effort. With the financial stability that passive income can provide, individuals can free more time for personal pursuits and passions, which is exactly what a busy student needs!

For Master’s students and PhDs, the intense focus on studies can often limit active working hours, so you might consider the following options for your passive income:

  1. Patent Holder: Those involved in research can patent innovations. By licensing these patents, they can earn whenever their invention is used.
  2. Selling Online Courses: Use academic strengths to create and sell courses. Once made, these can keep earning without daily effort.
  3. Writing E-books: Share research or subject knowledge in an e-book format. After the initial work, sales can provide continuous income.
  4. Affiliate Marketing: By recommending products or books relevant to their field on blogs or websites, they can earn a commission for each sale.
  5. Investing: With a bit of savings, consider low-risk investments that can provide regular dividends or interest.

In conclusion, while deep into academics, Master’s and PhD students can still set up multiple passive income streams, ensuring financial support and growth without straying far from their academic path.

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