Graduate Blog

How To Earn Money (and Food) Quickly


Let’s assume you’re one of those students who isn’t lucky enough to be in the position where being poor allows you to become rich, thanks to the generous offerings of full-whack student loans, non-repayable grants and bursaries off the back of your parents’ income (or lack of it). You survive on an Asda SmartPrice existence thanks to the meagre allowance your family can supply, or the minimum wage you collect from the little part-time job you somehow squeeze into your week of studying and/or partying. Because of this, you’re very familiar with all of the cookbooks about ‘student recipes on a budget’ (still unread on the shelf, I presume), and the various websites telling you all the ‘life hacks’ you ever need know to make your pennies go further. I’m guessing you know about cutting the top off your tube of toothpaste, or watering down your shower gel, to use up the last dregs before you’re forced to give best and buy more.

There’s another little way you can help yourself to become that little bit richer and that little less hungry – harness the power of Psychology students who need research participants! The more desperate we are, the better. We’re quite a needy bunch of people really – we choose a degree that at some point means we may have to put ourselves out there and rely on the generosity (and neediness) of other students to get our courses finished. You probably see the posters amateurishly pinned everywhere with blu-tack – “Participants Needed!”. Some of the crazier ones need literally hundreds. Towards the end of our final year, our Masters’ year and our PhD years, we begin to pull our hair out and go slightly mad, staring Red Bull-filled at the lab door in the hope that the final five participants we need to complete our research project/dissertation come walking through. It seems to take an eternity!

We always offer incentives. £3? Buys you a little lunch somewhere, although probably not at the union shop, because even buying a packet of Digestives in there requires a solid couple of months of frantic penny-pinching. We could give you a handful of Mars bars instead. From a multipack. Fun-size. That could even be your lunch. Even if it’s not, hey, you’ve got free Mars bars! No spending required. It’s always highly amusing to see the advert posters on college walls go from “Earn £3 and chocolate for a 10-minute study!”, scribbled out and changed to “Earn £5, chocolate and Subway vouchers for a 10-minute study!”, and so on like this until the students run out of space to cross out the original info any longer, so they can essentially dawb in massive font “JUST HAVE MY ENTIRE WALLET AND ALL OF MY FOOD IF YOU’LL PLEASE HELP ME!!” It becomes evident we’ll just throw a fifteen-quid tin of Celebrations in your face, or buy you a week’s supply of Domino’s, or even let you crash the night if you can’t be bothered with a cab when you’re smashed, if you’d just come to the lab and fill out some questionnaires about your attitudes to sexism or something.

Those ten minutes you spend desperately clawing away with the wrong end of a spoon to scrape out what ketchup there is left in the bottle from under the cap to avoid spending 49p on a new one, you could instead spend genuinely doing someone a favour, getting some freebies, some life-affirming gratitude and perhaps even helping to make a real contribution to science! You need to know nothing about Psychology as a discipline… all you generally have to be able to do is listen to and follow simple instructions. A lot of Psychology students are also lazy as well as needy, and we’ll quite happily design research involving studies that take only ten minutes to do. Less to ask, less to analyse, after all. We may have all had the awkward timetable where there’s an hour gap, where there isn’t really enough time to go home or do anything productive… do something positive with it. Everyone involved reaps the rewards.


About the Author

Rowan Ham Rowan Ham

Hi, I'm Rowan and I'm 23 years old. I studied at the University of Kent from 2009-2012, graduating with a First Class Honours degree in Psychology. I'm keen to share my views and experiences on all things student and graduate, from application to graduation and beyond. I'm passionate about creative writing, and have missed being able to write proper pieces since I finished my last essay! I'm a keen story teller and problem solver, and I'm always looking to quench that thirst for learning. :)

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