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Upon Care.com releasing an analysis of the most lucrative side hustles in Athens,  past and present student workers describe their experiences.

As the labor shortage persists, many businesses are looking to hire new employees, and with back-to-school season in full swing, the influx of new and returning students brings promise.

However, for college students, especially those unfamiliar with their new home away from home, the job market may be overwhelming and confusing.

To alleviate those fears, Care.com recently released analyses of the most lucrative side hustles for college students in various cities throughout the country and Athens is one of them.

The Athens list included jobs such as tutors, cashiers and baby and pet sitters, with hostesses and food delivery drivers bookending the list at hourly rates of $9.97 and $16.81, respectively.

Natasha Fellion, associate communications manager at Care.com, said the list serves to complement the high demand that is being seen not only across the platform but the nation as well. Fellion hopes the list shows students the world of job opportunities outside of the most common ones, which will provide both supplemental income and relevant experience.

“There are more meaningful jobs out there that really check all the boxes, versus just one or two boxes of just trying to make money,” Fellion said.

For students majoring in elementary education, babysitting — which sits at number five on the analysis — could act as a stepping stone for future aspirations. Likewise, students at the UGA College of Veterinary Medicine might find pet sitting to be a beneficial learning experience.

Junior political science and public relations student Michael King started working for Cosmic Delivery in January 2020 as a delivery driver. King is now the marketing manager, allowing him to further his knowledge of public relations.

One of many student drivers, King was drawn to the flexibility of food delivery driving and at Cosmic, the hourly pay on top of tips was an added bonus.

Sitting at the number one spot on the list, food delivery driving can offer students a sizable amount of money — enough to cover rent and other expenses. Even so, King said to keep in mind that there are costs associated with this line of work.

“Some of the money you’re going to make, you’re quite literally gonna end up funneling back into the thing that you used to work,” King said.

Increased wear and tear on one’s car is a consequence of performing deliveries. According to King, students that enjoy a busy workplace populated with several coworkers might need to think twice before applying for driving jobs. However, those who like to fly solo and work independently should find it to be a good fit.

Students not looking to be tied to a time clock might instead prefer for work to find its way to them through jobs like tutoring or housekeeping. Some may struggle with advertising their services and competing with other students who are doing the same.

For Katie Hamilton, a senior health promotion major, social media was essential in making her pet sitting services known to the Athens community. Now 21 years old, Hamilton has cared for pets since she was 14, and said highlighting her extensive background was what made her stand out.

Hamilton wasn’t selective with the platforms she used to outsource herself. Facebook brings Hamilton the most business, but sites like Care.com and even apps like Instagram and Snapchat have been successful for her.

While pet sitting may not be the most consistent side hustle on the list, Hamilton said for animal lovers it is definitely one of the more enjoyable ones.

“You just get to spend time with good girls and good boys and it’s literally the best time ever,” Hamilton said.

As for negotiating pay, there is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Fellion recommended turning to Care.com guides on the average rates for the type of work one wants to do in the area, while Hamilton recommended that pet sitters adjust rates based on the difficulty of care for the type of animal and the number of animals.

Many jobs, whether on the list or not, can be used to a student’s advantage, but Hamilton is a fan of those that fly under the radar.

“Overall little tiny jobs make a world of difference when you’re a college student, so always look for the smaller jobs — you have no idea how much they’re gonna help,” Hamilton said.

Maddy Franklin is a journalism and communication studies student at UGA. Since joining The Red & Black in March 2021, she has worked as a contributor and is currently serving as an assistant culture editor.

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