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.
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!