Students get creative with ways to make extra money


Garrett Heyd

It can be difficult to manage a part-time job in addition to going to college. Side hustles are great for those who prefer to pick their own hours and workload. 

Eleanor Chalstrom

Tuition, rent and grocery bills are a lot to handle. Some students at Iowa State have figured out interesting ways to line their pockets while getting their degrees. 

Part-time jobs can be difficult to manage while taking classes and participating in campus life. Side hustles come in many forms but are an excellent option for students who want to make their schedules and pursue their interests. 

Geddy Colarossi, a senior majoring in chemistry, donates plasma as a way to earn extra cash.

“I first started donating plasma my sophomore year,” Colarossi said. “My friends were doing it; I think they heard about it from social media. First going into it, I just jumped in.”

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, plasma is a yellow liquid part of human blood. Plasma carries antibodies that bodily proteins make in response to fighting infections. The plasma collected from donors goes to people in need of antibodies or medical research facilities. 

The plasma donation process works intricately. Technicians insert a needle into a donor’s arm, much like a typical blood drawing. The donor’s blood is drawn and put into a machine called a blood cell separator, which extracts the plasma needed from the blood. In a process called plasmapheresis, the donor’s blood is pumped back into their body without the plasma. 

“I usually go as much as I can,” Colarossi said. “You can go twice a week, and there has to be a day in between each donation. I usually go Saturday and then Monday, but then I can’t donate until the next Saturday.” 

While some donors are not compensated for their plasma, many plasma centers offer compensation to donors. This is why plasma donation has become an increasingly good option for busy college students to make extra money. 

“With a typical donation, I believe I get paid $20 the first time and $50 the second donation of the week,” Colarossi said. 

Colarossi had some advice for people who want to become plasma donors. 

“Just make sure you know what you’re about to get into because there are a lot of risks … it’s better to ask questions,” Colarossi said.

Olivia Gwyan, a junior in management, has a side hustle that allows her to pursue something she loves. Gwyan makes money as a freelance makeup artist. 

Gwyan has been running her freelance business for about three years, and she brings in most of her clients from social media sites like Instagram and Facebook. 

“My favorite thing is when I’m done, people like it and they feel pretty,” Gwyan said. “They’re having a great time.”  

Gwyan runs her business by booking clients and charging them based on the makeup look they want. Her clients pay her either with cash or through apps like CashApp and Venmo. 

Gwyan thinks freelance makeup has been an excellent money-maker while getting her degree, but sometimes she has to prioritize.

“Sometimes you have to tell people ‘no’ because you have work to do. You have to pick and choose,” Gwyan said. “… I’m personally passionate about makeup … it’s something I actually enjoy.”

Some students have more unconventional side hustles that they work while taking classes. 

Launched in 2016, OnlyFans allows people to share any kind of content they choose while their “fans” pay to see said content. Fans pay subscription fees and pay-per-view fees; they can also chat with content creators. The content ranges from fitness inspiration to pornography. 

“I started right at the beginning of the pandemic,” said a student who wishes to remain anonymous. “I had a few guys DM me on Instagram and ask me if I had an OnlyFans. … Then I saw all these girls post on Twitter about their cars and apartments, and I was like, ‘Ok, let’s dive into it.’” 

The student said she shares content and adjusts the viewing prices based on what she shares. She also communicates with “fans” through the platform and sometimes takes requests from them. She also felt as though she has a lot of personal jurisdiction with her content. 

“I would say I keep it a little more PG — nothing too explicit,” the student said.

The student said while the time commitment is low, the payment is high.

“I would say I was spending roughly two hours filming content and taking pictures … I was maybe $1,200 to almost $2,000 a week with tips and subscription fees,” the student said. 

She offered advice to those who are thinking about finding new revenues of income as a student. 

“I would say, don’t be afraid. People are always going to have something to say,” the student said.