Get a Side Hustle, Being broke in Campus isn’t Funny

This is a featured story from Kenya. Enjoy!

There’s a story I like telling about my first year in campus. I was so broke this one weekend I had just KSh20 in my pockets. I called my Dad and he said he had no money. I called my Mum and she barked: “Call your father.” I called a couple friends but none had any money or they just weren’t willing to lend me some. So I took that KShs 20, bought four mandazis, went back to my room, poured some water into a glass, added sugar and stirred, then had that with the mandazis for dinner.

For dinner, I kid you not. You can’t make this stuff up. The next morning I called my sister crying and she sent me KShs527. I flew down the stairs towards an M-Pesa shop in such excitement that when I was keying in the agent’s number, I missed a digit and accidentally withdrew the cash from an M-Pesa agent all the way in Kiambu (I stayed in Juja then.) I called the good ol’ folks over at Safaricom for a reversal and they said I had to wait a good 12 hours (this was in the medieval times, I understand it is faster these days) before the money was sent back to me.

Mark you, the only meal I’d had the previous day was that sugared water with mandazi, and now I was about to go another 12 hours on an empty stomach. I felt dejected and defeated, but I had no other choice. That was the most humiliating period of my life, but it taught me the most important lesson about campus; people are not always going to be there for you financially.

Get something to do so you do not have to depend on them. Here’s the thing; most campus students rely on their parents and relatives for money. You go broke – or you need a new book or a laptop or money for a class trip or just new shoes – you call your mum or dad and they send you a couple thousand shillings. And this is the worst mistake one can ever do in campus.

Because, I assure you, a day will come when none of those people will be in a position to send you money, and you will sit in bed all day weeping like the baby you are. Campus is bustling with opportunities, get yourself a side hustle. Convince that IT lecturer to allow you clean the labs for a few pennies. Buy second hand clothes and shoes in Gikomba and sell them to rich kids at double price. Join the school sports teams and save those allowances they’re given. Sign onto academic writing sites.

Do something, do anything. Just don’t waste your entire campus years depending on your folks for money; get your own. They will be proud of you, but that’s not even why you should do it. Do it because there’s no greater feeling in the world than spending your own hard-earned cash.

Read the Post as Originally Published on the Standard Digital.