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, when you’re trying to ace your schoolwork and your job, it can seem like a challenge to find the right gig. Sometimes, college students wonder if the perfect “side hustle” is a bit like a unicorn — a mythical creature. How do you find that magical job that allows you to balance studying with making the money you need? Does it even exist?

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Well, the good news is, students all over the country have found the job that’s right for them and allows them to do their best in school and work. But, of course, that kind of side hustle can take a little bit of creative thinking to find.

Anabel Kane, a student at DePaul University in Chicago studying communications and media, 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 the promotions coordinator at Radio DePaul. Basically, I am in charge of our amazing promotions team. Some of my duties include booking festival press passes, concert media passes, arranging interviews with artists and coordinating contests and giveaways.

 

Q: How Did You Become a Promotions Coordinator?

A: In my time at DePaul, I’ve changed my major a couple of times. At one point, I was a criminology major minoring in documentary film production. My goal was to become a producer for true crime documentaries. That all changed when I joined Radio DePaul my sophomore year. My entire life I have been obsessed with music. I would burn CDs and make playlists for my friends, and so inevitably, I thought Radio DePaul would be a perfect outlet for that. I started off as a DJ and then made my way up to being a manager.

Q: Why Is Working In Radio the Right Job for You?

A: One of the best parts about this job is the Radio DePaul community. I’m not going to lie, making friends at DePaul isn’t the easiest. Most of the students live off campus, and that makes it hard to meet people. Radio DePaul introduced me to people who are just as passionate about music and media, especially our management team. It is perfect because I can do what I love and meet other DePaul students.

Q: What Do You Love About Your Job?

A: One thing I love about my job is that I can combine my love for live music with radio. Hosts doing coverage and reviews of shows help with our station’s credibility and increase our listeners. Some of the other co-hosts and I have been able to meet and interview some of our favorite artists.

Q: What Do You Find to be the Most Challenging Part of Your Work?

A: The most challenging part is also one of the best parts. We have a lot of freedom at our station — it is a completely student-run organization and it is what you make it to be. Every year we have our fundraiser “Rock the Clock” that raises money for the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital. As the promotions coordinator, I have to come up with a marketing plan to promote the radiothon and gain sponsors. Last year, the promotions team spent hours going door-to-door asking for donations for the event. It ended up being successful, and it was one of the first years that we’ve reached our goal. It was a huge challenge but an incredibly rewarding one.

Q: Does Your Job Help You With Your College Major and Future Goals?

A: My ultimate goal is to become a music agent and book live shows. The only reason I figured out that’s what I wanted to do was from going to shows through my current job. When booking press passes and interviews, you have to reach out to artist managers and publicists — which helped build a network of people in the industry. My time there has helped me land internships at two music agencies in Chicago. I truly believe that if it wasn’t for Radio DePaul, I would have never been able to get my foot in the door into the music industry.

Q: What’s One of Your Best Memories From Your Side Hustle?

A: I have been lucky enough to interview some of my favorite artists, and with every artist or band comes a different story. I would say that my interviewing style is pretty offbeat. I tend to stray away from the typical interview questions such as, “What is the inspiration for your album?” or “How did you guys meet?” etc. I like to ask lighthearted questions with a comedic twist. One of my favorite questions that I like to ask is, “If your band was a musical love child between two artists, who would they be?” or “Would you rather have legs the size of fingers, or fingers the size of legs?” It throws bands for a loop and makes the interview fun for everyone. During a music festival, my co-host and I interviewed a pretty well-known punk-ska band. The interview was supposed to be 10 minutes, but we ended up spending 20 minutes debating whether a zombie would turn into a vampire if it was bit, or if a vampire would turn into a zombie. This is pretty typical for our interviews.

Q: Is It Hard to Balance Schoolwork with Paying Work?

A: I think that I’m lucky because my job is on campus and everyone understands that we are students first. But at times it is hard to put in the time to make sure everything at the station is running smoothly. I have to constantly write in my planner a list of tasks that I have for the station. I have to schedule time to do both my classwork and work for Radio DePaul.

Q: How Does Increased Financial Independence Affect Your Life as a Student?

A: There are definitely benefits to bringing in my own income from Radio DePaul. Living in Chicago is not cheap, especially if you’re someone like me who always wants to take advantage of the events the city has to offer. This has definitely helped take some of the anxiety away from spending money on activities.

Q: Would You Recommend Working at a College Radio Station?

A: I would recommend joining your school’s radio station to any student who wants to find a community of creative, interesting people and for anyone who wants to get a jump-start into the music world. I truly owe everything to this experience, and it has changed my college career.

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