I am a full-time college student, father, husband, part-time employee and the go-to guy for all his friends. I also enjoy a good amount of hobbies, member of the local amateur radio club. So how do I get the funds needed for the extras that aid in my education? I will be mostly focusing on tech, however, there is no reason this would not work for another kind of career education.
Joy is Where You Start
First, make sure you enjoy the college major you are attending school for, why? If you are taking classes solely for the monetary status of what job you will be able to attain, the classes will start getting harder, it will become drudgery. When there is no enjoyment you will only do what is necessary, if this is you stop here this article will not be useful to you. However, if you are doing what you enjoy you never tire of working with it.
My wife has commented several times she does not understand how I can spend so much time on a computer for college and work then still come home and get on for fun. At the beginning I mentioned hobbies, all my hobbies overlap with my academic interest’s electronics, design, programming, digital photography, and radio. I put an unbelievable amount of extra time into extra studies because to me they are not extra at all, it is just fun.
How It Is Useful
How does this equate into extra supplies? Meetups, conventions, and shows, introduce you to like-minded people. Most of these provide an opportunity to get some supplies at no or low cost or get into a drawing for a prize. You would really be surprised what you will find at an amateur radio swap meet. Once you have started to create your personal network, keep it growing and as you share so will your network.
Keep Up to Date
Second, take the time to follow up with your networking connecting through the social media platforms. Here your contacts can really grow, just be civil, and remember your doing this for the growth of yourself and to help others. Not to demonstrate how much alcohol you can drink, or the latest restroom selfie. What is with taking pictures of yourself in public restrooms anyways? As you spend time reading thought out posts, you’ll also start seeing links to giveaways, samples, and contests. Here is where the extra comes in, and the fact that you really do enjoy what you are doing!
You must be enjoying yourself to take the time to answer questionnaires, enter multiple company contests, and to physical go to the gatherings. However, these pay for themselves so many times over. Not just with supplies, and meeting people of common interests, but in forcing yourself to grow and learn as you spend time with them. The adage if you are the smartest person in your group, find a new group applies here.
So, how does just learning give you extra supplies? Well most of us have household junk or maybe your family with junk they do not want. Guess what, garbage can be a treasure with the correct know how. I learned to make antennas out of hangers, leftover wire, large tomato cans, broken tape measures, and even how to refit a broken TV antenna into a working Yagi transceiver antenna. Did you know that the old computer mouse with the ball and the ps/2 optical mice are a source of robot parts and sensors? It was not until I got some good direction did I realize how much I could have by reworking old “junk”!
Third, ask, do a shout out. Most of the people doing the job longer still remember what it was like for them. You will find that if someone can help they will. Especially, if you are connecting with people that have the same emotional connection as you do to this career. They will not worry about losing anything but be happy to have another colleague.
Proof of Concept
As an example, the picture of Arduino supplies, components and kit shows approximately $150.00 of supplies, out of pocket $35.00. By following this strategy, I have built myself a network, computer, electronic, and prototyping lab with a multiple band amateur radio system. Not exactly sure what it would cost all new and shiny, but I have less than $1000.00 spread across my 2 years of school. And all this will continue to be of use for years to come.
If anyone reads this that is responsible for such marketing, please keep it going. Some of us in college make effective use of them. We learn far more and can go deeper with our own studies with the items provided, it is appreciated.
This post also appears on Reduce College Costs Blog
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