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MIT student blogger Snively '11

I’m Poor!!! by Snively '11

But I don't have to be!

As of right now you may or may not have a job. I got my first job the summer between junior and senior year of high school as a carousel operator. I worked through the summer, kept my job for weekends during the school year, and then worked the summer between high school and college. I also worked a full time internship during the summer, in addition to working at the carousel, meaning I was at work 6 of the 7 days of the week. This turned out to be a good thing because it made the summer pass by quite quickly. Unfortunately, when I got to MIT, the work continued but the money stopped. I was working on psets, studying, figuring out my way around MIT, and all sorts of other exciting things, but I wasn’t actually making money.

I had money saved up from over the summer but it quickly began disappearing. I needed a job. I needed something to do at MIT that would prevent me from going broke, but what? I was already so busy, how would I have time to go out, find jobs, apply, and work them? Well, the cool thing about MIT is that they understand this and that there are all sorts of neat money-making things you can do that don’t necessarily take up a lot of your time. Here are my top ten ways to earn money at MIT!

You all may be sick of hearing about UROPs (or maybe not) but the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program is an awesome way to earn money. They pay around $9.00 (that’s minimum UROP pay) and let you earn money while researching something that interests you. By the end of the year you’re smarter, have money, and have a new addition to your resume.

2) Brain and Cognitive Sciences Guinea Pig

MIT has a ton of researchers in the brain and cognitive sciences department that are constantly in need of test subjects. No, they won’t pick through your brain or lobotomize you. Most of the time they’ll just have you interpret different things that they show you or ask you to listen to something and follow a set of instructions. Every once in a while you’ll get lucky and they’ll give you an MRI! These experiments are open to almost anybody (some have restrictions but they’re usually pretty specific and specialized) and pay quite well. They can range from $10 or $13 for a half hour session to $100 for spending your Saturday there. Many people aren’t aware this opportunity is even available, but it’s a quick way to earn some extra cash without having to actually “work.”

3) Desk Worker
Each dorm has a front desk. This is where mail comes, oftentimes you can get movies here, and they also serve as one of the dorm’s defense systems (they can open the door for people who don’t have ID cards and then check them in). Students typically will operate the desk so if you want a job that let’s you sit, sort mail, and chill behind a desk for a couple of hours, you could be a desk worker!

4) Admissions Blogger
I think it’s pretty safe to say that we would blog just as much as we do now even if we weren’t paid. MIT was a bit concerned when they first thought about paying bloggers because it would seem like we work for admissions and are brainwashing you guys with pro-MIT propaganda. Fortunately, nobody seemed to mind a whole ton (and I think through various rants and raves we’ve proven that we don’t just spew MIT propaganda), so blogging is a way to earn some extra money.

5) The MIT Museum

The MIT Museum is located just down Mass Ave. in Cambridge and is an awesome place to explore some of MIT’s history. They hire students, so if you have an interest in MIT or like dealing with the public, consider working at the MIT Museum.

6) Tech Caller

Tech Callers are students who call alumni and solicit donations to the institute. A third of the money earned from alumni is earned through calls from Tech Callers. There are fliers all over campus encouraging you to sign up to be a Tech Caller. They make $11/hour with a chance at a 50 cent raise at the end of each semester.

7) Library Helper

MIT has a bunch of libraries and all are in need of help cataloging and checking out books, among other tasks.

8) Grader
Starting sophomore year you are eligible to help grade papers for classes. You collect psets from the turn-in boxes, take them back to your dorm, grade them, and then give them to the TAs. It’s another quick, relatively low time commitment (depending on the class) way to earn some cash.

9) MIT Blackjack Team Member
Hey, if you can find them, I’m sure with enough convincing and bribery they’d let you join.

10) Win Bets by Proving People Wrong
Oftentimes people will underestimate you. Take their money by showing them how talented you really are!

I currently have a UROP and am an admissions blogger, which lets me say that not only am I taking a full schedule but that I am also working two jobs (and doing a varsity sport). I maintain my sanity and so can you, it’s all about time management and getting your priorities in line. I hope this helped ease some financial worries you may have about life at MIT. I’ll see you all at CPW!

37 responses to “I’m Poor!!!”

  1. Chris says:

    MIT Blackjack team ftw!

    or maybe admissions blogger =)

    ooo oo and bartender.

    maybe I can afford MIT!

  2. Justin B says:

    How do you become an admissions blogger?
    I think that would be fun, since I like to write.

  3. Anonymous says:

    nvm, not first ftl

  4. |Lex! says:

    Hmmm, the guinea pig one sounds fun… But I have to say proving people wrong seems almost more fun… What to do, what to do…

  5. Cynthia Li says:

    I would love to be an admission blogger also.. smile

  6. Rob says:

    Yeah I like #9. It should have been #21 though…

  7. Anonymous says:

    Concerning grading: It’s possible to begin grading psets 2nd semester of freshman year as well.

  8. Snively says:

    @Justin B
    Sometime during the summer Ben will post a Call for Bloggers. There’s an application process that involves submitting the URL to the blog you currently keep, listing the activities you plan on doing at MIT, temporary dorm, and some fun essays.

    I believe if you’ve already taken the class then it’s possible to be a grader for it, I don’t think it’s a year restriction, just a “what level class are you currently in” restriction. If you can knock out all of your GIRs through advanced standing exams and transfer credit and can take higher level classes your freshman year then I’m pretty sure you’ll be able to grade.

  9. Paul Hoops says:

    Does somebody have to be mentally sane to be a Brain and Cognitive Sciences guinea pig? Also, I hate posting information unrelated to the blog, but what makes the RSS better than the normal webpage? And lastly, welcome back to the front page, Snively.

  10. Shamarah says:

    this blog made it into my Compendium of Useful MIT Web Pages (aka i added it to my Favorites). thanks!

  11. Danny '12 says:

    Thanks Snively! I’m probably going to UROP and be a guinea pig for the cogsci lab. See you next week! (I’m flying in on Wednesday to catch a Society of Mind lecture). Peace!
    -Danny ’12

  12. Celena '12 says:

    I’m so glad that you wrote a post on this, just because money has been on my mind recently, especially after receiving my (lack of) financial aid.

    I plan to do a varsity sport at MIT, and was afraid that I couldn’t balance a school and have a job simultaneously, but now I know it’s possible (although I’m sure it is really difficult).

    My only question doesn’t really have to do with jobs, but it does have to do with money. As I was looking through the CPW schedule, I noticed that there are hundreds of activities hosted by student groups. Many of these activities involve food. Where does all this $$ come from? For every activity they hold, does MIT reimburse them w/ money? Or does it come out of the students already almost empty pockets? =)

  13. Snively says:

    @Celena ’12
    All of the dorm events are paid for by MIT at no cost to the students. CPW is a huge MIT event and really important to the institute so it’s more than happy to pay.

  14. Omar '12 says:

    Snively – So how long are you actually studying? I would assume with the workload, you’d be studying a lot, but with this UROP, blogging job, and varsity sport, how much time is left to study? And do you think you have enough time to study? Hehe. What is your sport btw? Is it gun shooting (not sure of the official name)? I just remember you blogging about shooting before.


  15. GRADING isn’t based off of class year, its just that usually sophomores and up are the ones that have completed the necessary classes [and are also on the course email lists to which the ‘please grade!’ emails are sent]. grading is not low-key, since it takes anywhere between 5 and 10 hours a weed and it needs to get done on time. [its just like another pset.] but you do get paid $9 and up. plus, you get to torture your underclassmen friends if you happen to be their grader. wink

  16. Anonymous says:

    Hey…do u mind letting me know some summer jobs outside MIT like around boston where I could work in the coming months :]

  17. Mgccl says:

    tech caller xDDDD
    50 cents raised… but costs way beyond that?
    unless you mean 50 cents the rapper…

  18. Li'12 says:


    Great! Thanks for the info.

  19. It’d be sweet to work at the museum! That would be sweet… Until MIT’s letter came through, I was planning to go to Case Western and land a job at the Rock and Roll Museum.
    Thanks, Snively, for a great job idea!

  20. Emily '12 says:

    Thanks Snively!
    I was wondering if it is normal for people to get jobs outside of MIT, such as waitressing, or if that is unheard of.

  21. Judy '12 says:

    I’m definitely up for UROP, since I have been doing research throughout high school. I would also like to be a Blogger. I love writing and love forum-like settings. How does the blogger selection process work?

  22. Judy '12 says:


    I thought that you don’t get to find the Blackjack team, the Blackjack team finds you…

  23. Li '12 says:


    I am interested in becoming a blogger, but I do not currently keep a blog. I do lots of other writing outside of school, though. Is an outside blog an absolute requirement?

  24. Snively says:

    @Li ’12
    Having a blog is required for several reasons. First, as good a writer as one may be, keeping a blog requires a bit more than writing (formatting, media, frequency of posting, etc). You have plenty of time to stand a shot at being a blogger, however, so feel free to start a blog now and keep it up through the summer.

  25. Piper '11 says:

    Staying for the summer, Snively?

    Emily – definitely not unheard of, but a little on the rarer side. The nice thing about on-campus jobs is that they’re right here, on campus, and they’re understanding of school holidays and vacations.

  26. Dima '12 says:

    Great entry, Snively (as always!)
    It’s good to know that there’s plenty of sources to earn a decent amount of cash, I have a question though about UROP, they pay a minimim of $9.00 per what exactly?

  27. Becca says:

    What varsity sport are you playing?

    How is it playing a sport, having a job, doing homework, and having time for other stuff?

  28. Snively says:


    @Judy ’12
    Sometime during the summer Ben will post a Call for Bloggers. There’s an application process that involves submitting the URL to the blog you currently keep, listing the activities you plan on doing at MIT, temporary dorm, and some fun essays.

    I shoot pistol. How is it having a varsity sport, two jobs, and a full credit limit? Erm, busy, but totally possible. I still have a bunch of time for fun stuff too, it’s all about prioritizing.

  29. Steph says:

    Being the guinea pig for Brain and Cognitive Sciences sounds like a great way to make money.

  30. Abdulrahman says:


    I live in Toronto, Canada and i want to get in to MIT. HOw can i do that. My average is around 3.00 GPA.

  31. Yuzhi '12 says:

    Hey Snively!
    I am coming for CPW!! Is your toy designing class open for prefrosh to sit in? If so, when are the classes?


  32. Yuzhi '12 says:

    Schedule for Toy Design Class: Lecture: MW3-4.30 (3-370) Lab: R9-12 (35-125) or R EVE (7-10 PM) (35-307)
    I am guessing we aren’t allow to sit in the labs…. are we allowed to umm… visit for a short time during it?

  33. The Student Financial Services website has a page where they list stats on wages.

    One of the jobs is a “Reader”. What is that and what are the qualifications?

    I’m assuming it is not just the ability to read. Only Barbarians who have not paid the 2 skill points dont have that.

  34. Snively says:

    Actually, we asked and you guys are more than welcome to come to lab. We’re working on the prototypes of our toys.

    Come to room 35-125 to visit, but make sure you make it to the Rockwell Cage by 8:30 for the official welcome.

  35. Allison W-E says:

    The Brain & Cognitive Sciences one sounds really interesting! (especially after dissuasion of the lobotomy-phobia)

    Maybe I’ll balance that one with the blackjack team. Sounds good.

  36. Roman K. says:

    wow so there actually was an MIT blackjack team and they DO make money

  37. mukesh says:

    Will u plz guide my son studying engg. at NTU Singapore for admission to Post graduate in Particle physics? His email address is .
    I shall be grateful.