Having a job in college can be rewarding. It can give you useful work experience, help with daily expenses like food (or even larger costs, like tuition) and be a fun way to meet people. However, juggling schoolwork and a job can be challenging. Sometimes, college students wonder if the perfect “side hustle” is a bit like a unicorn — a mythical creature. Does that magical job that allows you to balance studying with making money even exist?

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It likely does, but that kind of side hustle can take a little bit of creative thinking to find.

Nicole Gallina, a student at St. John’s University in New York studying communications, recently shared the cool job she does while in school to help pay the bills.

Q: What’s your side hustle?

A: I am currently a public relations assistant with a personal finance website. Working from their New York office three days a week, I help the PR team bring campaigns to life. I do a lot of research into contacts that might be interested in the studies we conduct, and also help write some of the content we produce on the website.

Q: How did you become a PR assistant while still in school?

A: I applied as an intern in the fall of 2017 and after working with them for some time, was able to join the team on a part-time basis earlier this year.

Q: Why is this the perfect job for you while you’re in school?

A: One of my company’s perks for its crew is flexible work hours, something that has been extended to me. So, while I have regular hours and days in the office, if I need to switch these out for exams or a schedule change, it’s easy enough to do.

I’m also getting real world experience in the field I want to pursue, so it’s been great to apply what I’m learning at school to my role at my job, and vice versa.

Q: What do you love about working in PR?

A: I love the diversity of my role. One day we’re talking about the growing trend of drunk shopping, the next we’re investigating illegal downloads of popular TV shows. I also have a very hands on role, so rather than just getting coffees or taking meeting minutes, I might be in other part-time junior roles. So, I am learning all aspects of a communications role.

Q: What do you find most challenging?

A: As an online company, there are a lot of very technical aspects and terms that I’ve had to wrap my head around. For example, HTML (hypertext markup language) and SEO (search engine optimization), which were very overwhelming at first.

It can also be challenging balancing school and work, as I want to do a great job at both. However, the flexibility I’m given helps me manage that.

Q: How is your side hustle helping with what you want to do post-graduation?

A: I am working with the type of team and doing the kind of work I want to do when I reach full time! I have been able to hone my writing skills by training with professionals who have years of experience on me. I know that having this role and the tasks I carry out on my resume will be helpful in securing a role post graduation, and also, an understanding of what to expect from that.

Q: What’s one of your craziest or most fun memories from working your side hustle?

A: I’ve had to do some really fun, but unusual tasks. My company was an exhibitor at a financial conference and to stand out, wanted to organize a cash wind machine where people could grab real dollar bills. I was responsible for tracking down a supplier close to the event venue which was an interesting set of phone calls.

They also have some great perks I’ve been able to take advantage of. We get free lunch every day and it’s great to be able to sit with the team and find out the different aspects of everyone’s role.

Q: Is it hard to balance school work with paying work as a student?

A: It definitely can be, especially when exams come up. I’m lucky that I can move my work days, hours, or even complete tasks remotely when I need to. I’ve also been honest about when I’ve needed a break, and we’ve worked around that too.

Q: How does having some financial independence and bringing in your own income affect your life?

A: Bringing in my own income has helped make my college experience more enjoyable. Although work and classes are priority, it is important I set aside a little time to enjoy myself as well. Being financially independent allows me to spend those few extra bucks on that shirt I really wanted or perhaps a ticket to the new movie I wanted to see. It also allows me to start putting some money aside for the future at a young age.

Q: Would you recommend your side hustle to other students? And why or why not?

A: I absolutely recommend students try and secure a side hustle in or close to the field they are studying. While the financial benefits are great, the practical learnings and experience on your resume is invaluable.

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