Yeah, I know I said medical school is tough and you need to study smart (not just hard). But I can tell you for free that you can do some legit work and earn extra cash without missing any class. Looking back, I wish I had done more, not just to earn money but also to improve myself in terms of soft skills, exposure and networking.
Someone might say, “But why do I need extra cash?”.
Well, fingers are not equal. Some of us had to hustle hard to buy new clothes, shoes, hijabs, textbooks, white coats…etc. You don’t want to look shabby in the classroom or during ward rounds and clinic sessions. Even if your parents pay all the bills, as an adult that you already are, it makes sense to take some responsibilities so that you can train yourself to absorb the sudden shock that comes with graduation.
Here are some side gigs you can consider doing as a medical student or, pretty much any university/college student….
1. TEACHING: I’m starting with this one because I did it! My dad passed away when I was in my first year. You know how money can take years to come out after people die? Even though I later got help from uncles and aunties here and there, I had to take up private teaching for a while. I taught primary, and some secondary school students for a year. I taught some Arabiyyah and tajweed too. If you have passion for teaching, this is something you should try.
2. BUYING AND SELLING: Many of my friends sold different stuff back then. Look for something that all students use almost everyday. Foodstuff, water, snacks, drinks, stationery, clothes, recharge cards, etc. Bisi and Azeezah sold electric cookers at affordable rates because electricity was free and relatively stable. Doyin bought clothes and shoes from the UK and sold. These are people who still finished among the top 10% in our class!
3. BAKING AND COOKING: If you’re good enough, try baking cake, frying chin-chin, puff-puff, or cooking something delicious, people will buy. So many students don’t want to cook (or can’t cook). You’ll be surprised at how much you’ll make. You may even organise trainings or take up contracts for social events during weekends and holidays.
4. RUNNING ERRANDS: If you have a car or bicycle, you can help your friends with their shopping and other logistics. If you stay off-campus, you can also take them to class and back, charging them a fraction of the normal transport fare. Of course, you can do some of these even without owning a car. All you need is the ability to move around easily and multi-task.
5. TECH JOBS: I know a brother who was way ahead of the rest of us in terms of tech. He used to repair phones, set up internet, download apps, sell videos, mobile games, etc. Fast forward to 2021, most students can do these things by themselves on their phones. But there are still some people, like lecturers or admin staffs who can employ your services and pay you well. If you are good at graphic designing, 3D animation, web designing, etc., let people know about it.
6. WRITING: If you are exceptionally good at writing, you can convert your skills into money. Some published their first books as students. Some wrote for journals and newspapers. Sometimes, the money is not your ultimate goal. I once participated in a writing competition which I won and the award was presented to me on the convocation day. Your writings can earn you more exposure and valuable connections. You will also have something to highlight in your CV.
7. RENTAL SERVICES: As much as we take our studies seriously, we also find time to attend social events. Most students belong to one social or religious group or the other. There will be meetings, conferences or banquets once in a while. This is where your rental services comes in. If you have some extra money from your personal savings or sponsorships, you can buy a big storage drum for cold water and drinks, coolers for food, plates and cutlery for serving… you name it!
8. BLOGGING AND VLOGGING: I’m not asking you to spend a lot of precious time on social media but if you know how to manage your time well, there’s a lot of potentials available on the cyberspace. I get a lot of information from popular medical students and doctors through their blogs, Facebook pages and YouTube channels. Just go to YouTube and search for something related to “medical school” or “residency training” you will see tons of results. Some of them have earned cool cash from thousands of followers and millions of views.
9. QUIZ AND DEBATING COMPETITIONS: There are many competitions you can get involved in. But I’m particular about quiz and debate because they are more likely to align with your academic interests. If you are smart enough, don’t be shy to go for these competitions, whether locally, nationally or internationally. Loads of cash, all-expense paid trips and other goodies await you!