Odd jobs help U of M students pay tuition

Graduate Student Elissa Brooks gathers eggs from a chicken coop. She checks on the chickens daily when she house sits for the owners.

College is supposed to be a time of learning, living, and making memories, but for some students, things aren’t that easy. Between working, going to class and fulfilling other obligations, some students have to sacrifice personal time to pay bills and tuition, like graduate student Elissa Brooks.

Brooks spends her days working odd jobs to make extra cash to take of what she calls “adult responsibilities.”

Nearly 83 percent of Americans say they cannot afford college on their own according to a study by thinkadvsior.com. Brooks is just one of 4,000 students at the University of Memphis who are seeking a master’s degree that has a minimum $16,000 price tag that she gets little assistance with.

Most students look to the jobs at the university to help cover tuition but graduate assistantships at the U of M are what she describes as “really competitive,” and with only 1,350 offered in the state of Tennessee, students like Brooks are taking jobs that can only be described as little less conventional.

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About the Author

Jerrica James
Jerrica James is a senior broadcast journalism major at the University of Memphis. She has worked in various media outlets including The Daily Helmsman, Tiger News, Her Campus Media, and CollegeFashionista. Her roles have varied from reporter, editor, producer, anchor, and chyron operator. She currently works as a production assistant at Fox 13 Memphis where she runs the floor, graphics and assists in writing stories. She was named the Outstanding Broadcast Student of the Year for 2016 and received second place for the Lurene Kelley Video Story Award from the University of Memphis Journalism department.

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