Do desperate times call for desperate measures?

According to research conducted outside of the University of York, a “third of students would strip to fund their degree and lifestyle.” Would you?

One in three female university students would work in a gentlemen’s club for extra money, whilst further results show that four per cent would sell their time as an escort, and 41 per cent would pose as a glamour model.

Whether you consider these working environments ‘desperate’ is very much dependant on how far is it ‘socially acceptable’ to be employed in sexualised fields of work. Being engaged as an exotic dancer at a gentleman’s club is in some circles an esteemed profession, whilst many others consider it the epitome of the degradation of women. Glamour models can be high earners – Katie Price (more widely known as Jordan) has a net worth of £30 million, the same worth as Daniel ‘Harry Potter’ Radcliffe. According to the survey: 72 per cent said that they would model in their underwear if they needed extra money. If girls choose these career paths for themselves their motives no longer seem as “desperate”, than if they were forced to enter these professions in order to fund their higher education.

Eventually the day comes when, as a student, you begin to realise that funds are running out. Having read the results of this survey, I asked myself what extents I would go to– aside from the ‘obvious’ options of getting a job behind a bar, or in retail– to fund my expenses, and just as importantly, my degree. Whatever extra work you choose to pick up is, naturally, a personal choice. It seems that because students may initially find it easier to enter and find work as a freelance escort than in fields such as retail, they choose the profession which allows them to earn money as quickly as possible. Some students find it impossible to work and study at the same time, depending on how demanding their full-time academic learning is. The amount which you personally value studying is a testament to how much (and where) you would use employment to remain a student without having to take a year out.

For me, that value is very high. Here are a few (not all entirely serious) alternatives that I’ve come up with for earning that extra denarii:

Psychology trials at University: students in their final year want participants for their projects, which don’t necessarily include taking any drugs, chemical substances, or similar. The Department of Psychology has a website nicknamed PEEBS specifically for booking experiment slots, many of which pay other students to take part.

Disneyland Mascot: starting at £6.71 per hour, the only downside is probably getting a little sweaty if you end up being cast as Tweedledum or Baloo. But if you happen to be in America or Paris already, what’s not to love? Maybe not ideal if you don’t like children, however.

Part-time receptionist: whether for a lawyer’s firm, hospital, taxidermist.

Cinema usher: £5.74 per hour.

Sewer worker: £25,000 per annum. I doubt many of us would ever enter into this particular option, but it’s surprising how much it pays – so who knows what other ‘shocker’ careers there are out there with similar annual salaries?

University life, for many, means being a little desperate for money. For some students, it’s the first time they’re responsible for managing their finances. And it can be daunting – there’s more to it than ‘buy food, pay the rent’. I know for a fact that I spend more on going out than I do on feeding myself. Maybe that’s only due to the unfortunate fact that going out is simply more expensive than a fortnightly trip to Morrisons. I also know that my most unnecessarily large expenditure is on impulse purchases (clothing, food), for which I chiefly blame those damn V-bar cupcakes.

Later on in the research, I realised that there’s not as much need for alarm as I first thought: 1 in 20, 5%, said that they would work as an escort whist at university. 61% of those asked said they have felt ‘desperate’ for money whilst studying; although 73% said they would never consider working as an escort.

Desperate times may indeed, as the cliché goes, call for desperate measures. For some, having a part-time job is still not enough to fund their higher education. It’s whether the furthest extent of measures imagined are actually carried out which is most important. Feeling desperate need not correspond to a necessity of entering into sexualised fields of employment in order to earn money quickly. The question remains: in reality, how far would you go to fund your degree and student lifestyle?