Online side hustle: Surviving amidst the pandemic

By Noor Anis Adila Omar

If you are a devoted social media user, you probably encounter countless users or even your colleagues continuously posting foodstuff photos and videos on their social media platforms. Certainly, you ought to skip those contents as it perpetually popped out on your phone screen.

If truth to be told, those are their blood, sweat and tears of part-time gigs to get through financial constraint amidst this contagious pandemic. 

In this world of eternal struggle, students hang on for dear life with financial crises through side gigs and even freelance jobs to stand on one’s own while juggling with hectic students’ life. 

The emergence of the COVID-19 infections has also spiked significant impact in economic uncertainty and financial crisis among university students. Out-turn, students ultimately find themselves in the dead-end and lose hope desperately hanging on for their life. 

Not to mention, students barely pull through with virtual classes as it requires adequate equipment and endeavours to make the most of it participating in lively on-screen classes session with lecturers and classmates.

Yet, another major setback is joining virtual online classes, internet randomly dropping connections in the middle of lessons. Joining virtual courses in tandem with a side hustle is not as easy as it seems.

Still and all, courageous young generations break through the wall into the next level, grasping for life to find a plethora of ways to earn income while juggling online classes, hoping it would support them to supplement their family finances.

Amidst the pandemic, Malaysian students constantly worry about financial constraints, which led to stress and anxiety among students, according to research. Moreover, students’ mental distress is even worse as the pandemic makes it harder for them to get employed.

A side hustle is a great alternative amidst this pandemic to make extra cash, especially for students as they make ends meet to pay university fees and loans, internet data subscriptions, and even basic necessities without putting a strain on their families. 

Despite the fact that life as students is unpredictable and they might be aware of the hassles they will run into – to juggle with assignment workloads, spend time with family and friends and stay productive.

Every student has his or her own motives and goals to start online side hustle. It could be out of passion, enjoyment but one thing for sure – to transform family life into a brighter future and anticipate future economic conflict.

But now with high-advanced technology, it makes it as easy as pie. As society becomes more dependent on the technologies amid the pandemic, their business and products could reach their target audiences effectively. 

Meanwhile, students have gotten creative while staying at home turning hobbies into side hustle – baking, painting and crafting, which in turn those hobbies could earn much-needed income. 

Unlike others, Farisya, a young lady from Terengganu, passionate to be an English Language teacher, pivoted her leisure time in mid-semester break into earning profit through online business selling beauty products.

“I have encountered my ex-roommate selling this beauty products and eager to share the benefits with others by starting to endeavour this online business,” she added. 

It began seven months ago, this dedicated student indulges and dawdles her screen time and money most of the time with online shopping. There was a moment of realisation as she could work up a sweat to earn her own income without asking a penny from her parents.

Indeed, one would work hard to get what she wants. She said: “As my financial support is solely from my parents, I can’t always ask them for money every time to buy something for myself.” 

Undeniably, sharing about her challenges and setbacks endeavouring online business at this moment where globally encounter tremendous impact in financial aid, she felt the same way as others felt it would be – restless and worried with the economic struggle.

“Doing online business requires a lot of multitasking. Being a full-time student and having an online business makes me restless,” she complains.

Yet, this full-time student is always optimistic. As her supportive family becomes her backbone, though it is an uphill battle she strives her online side hustle to hinder her from the economic struggle in the future.

As such, in this rampant world, her struggles to maintain financial stability is not merely chasing rainbows. In fact, she goes the extra mile despite obstacles that she might come across. Thus, aware of the world that is full of uncertainty, she always put her family first to achieve what she desires.

All in all, people might think most of the side gigs as merely to supplement financial income, but these side hustle flourished into paramount for certain people who genuinely needed it. 

Regardless, a key to survival towards side hustle may not simply be based on experiences and skills but to be daring and willing to take the consequences throughout the business journey. 

Not only that, scrutinising students’ situations, the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) has put prominent alternatives targeting 10,000 young entrepreneurs to strive in business during this pandemic struggle. Ensuring they have a place to be prepared with financial constraints ahead.

“If there is a will. There’s a way.” This quote is much related with Farisya’s great effort back-to-back working on her side hustle while dealing with assignment workloads. By reason, as a foresee towards pecuniary eternal struggle.  

At the end of the day, as students daring to endeavour and indulge a side hustle journey during this rampant pandemic, could inspire other young people to step out from their comfort zone, preparing the hassles of life’s journey to get more money flowing for future sake.***    

(This article is written as part of the individual assignment series for Feature Writing class)

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