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Side hustle and studying; are they compatible?



In these harsh economic times, an extra coin is always welcome even for full time students. Although tuition fees may be taken care off, students are increasingly engaging in business to get cash for upkeep.


While some courses are flexible, allowing students to engage in little ‘side hustle’, other fields of study make it hard to engage in other business outside the lecture halls.


Acting, modeling and selling clothes are some of the activities students are engaging themselves in.


“Life has become tough but you must become tougher.” Said Alex, a third year student a the University of Nairobi.


Alex is an actor with the local TV production, Pasua.


The need to engage in side hustles varies from one student to another. According to Cynthia, a model with a local modeling agency and fourth year sociologist student, hers is just to pass time.


“Instead of just sitting in the house and doing nothing, why not use my God given talents and get paid at the same time.”


Another student, Ken, sells second hand clothes to his school mates to get some pocket money. His parents can only afford to pay his fees


“An outing with my girlfriend always lies high in my priorities,” said Alex.


Assisting parents in paying fees and personal advancement are also cited as reasons.


The income also varies and is dependent on what one does. According to Cynthia, her income ranges from 6000 to 10000 depending on the client. Ken on the other hand claims to make at least 3000 on a good day.


Balancing these jobs with studies comes out as the main challenge. Alex says shooting can take almost a whole day interrupting group discussions and finishing up of assignments.


There are also other issues that crop up that students find challenging as they hustle.


For Cynthia, the issue of dealing with bosses soliciting sexual favours is quite a task


Other challenges include older experienced people trying to take advantage.


“The retailers in Gikomba always try to sell me products at a higher price,” says Ken.


Another challenge is the likelihood of being caught up in the side hustle and discarding studies. “Money is very tempting,” warns Cynthia.


However, most student entrepreneurs say focus and good time management is important in balancing school and side hustle.

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