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A Guide to Making Ends Meet as a Waterloo Engineering Student

Side Hustles - Courtesy of Ewan Simms

At Waterloo, everything in Engineering must be well above the average, and unfortunately, our tuition is not exempt – in fact year after year it is on the rise. This means that on school terms when our co-op money is dwindling due to high tuition fees, overpriced housing and bubble tea addictions, students must turn to side hustles to make ends meet. For those looking for a little extra cash, here is a guide to the most successful side hustles that students in different programs use, in no particular order.

Software Engineering 

Because I know if they are ranked anything but first on this list (despite it being IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER) these wonderful overachievers will take it personally, we will start with software engineering. These students tend to be smart, hard workers with egos that *definitely* fit through the door, which is why once the Silicon Valley money runs out, their go-to side hustle is the classic hack-and-blackmail scheme. Sources tell me that this year, the most popular approach was to hack NASA and hold them for ransom. If you aren’t in the top 10% of this program that is able to pull this off, sources tell me that easier money can be made hacking Facebook, Google, Equifax or Trudeau’s personal phone. If you are unsure how to do this, perhaps consider another program.

Architectural Engineering 

Artistic and good at math? Practically unheard of! These students are few and far between, and despite not being guaranteed an engineering degree upon graduation, these brave students spend their days crafting works of art that somehow follow the laws of physics. Because of their unique skills, these students tend to make a little cash on the side by capitalizing on capitalism. Reportedly this year alone students made over 100 trillion USD selling NFTs to unwitting tech bros on the internet. Some best-selling items in the Waterloo region are stills of geese chasing first years and audio NFTs of the ION train passing.

Biomedical Engineering

These students are bad decision makers, in the best way possible. Their thought process for choosing their degree was essentially: I can’t decide if I want to be a doctor or an engineer –I should do both. This doesn’t make them dumb, quite the opposite actually to survive this program. Unsurprisingly these individuals have found a way to optimize healthcare in Waterloo: with the long wait-times at university and local walk-in clinics, these students have filled the gap (and finally made their parents proud) by offering high quality medical advice between classes. Have a weird mole? No problem just pop by the biomedical classrooms and they can diagnose, surgically remove it and stitch you back up all on the way to their next class at the low price of 10$. Rumor is that a few years ago a fourth year even designed a brand-new robotic leg for a first year that tragically lost theirs to the campus shuttle.

Computer Engineering/Electrical Engineering 

I have never met a computer or electrical engineering student who hasn’t immediately been the life of the party. Because of their extensive social skills, my sources tell me that these students tend to find the most success in the lucrative side hustle of exotic dancer. The evening work hours of this side-hustle are perfect for these night owls, and I hear that this is a really fulfilling choice since it really lets their inner social butterflies shine. Just be sure to learn how to count ones quickly before your first day.

Environmental Engineering

The environmental engineers aren’t just fun, they’re one of the brightest programs at Waterloo (at least top 15). They like to keep life simple and down to earth, so to make sure their side-hustle doesn’t detract from their work-life balance, these students tend to find success with houseplants, specifically cultivating, harvesting and selling a lovely flowering plant by the name of Cannabis sativa. If the student doesn’t have a good place for their houseplant to thrive, sources indicate that some students have found success mushroom hunting, since this can be combined with one of their daily walks through the forest.

Geological Engineering 

These students are rare gems: they are solid friends and should never be taken for granite. They do tend to be painfully slow walkers, since they compulsively stop every five seconds to examine another grey rock, and very likely add it to their collection. While this habit really weighs down on their friends, it can come in handy when they need a little extra cash. These students tend to find major success peddling crystals to psychology students on TikTok.

Management Engineering

While they may be overlooked, management engineering students should never be underestimated. Sources tell me that these future bosses hone their engineering skills with side-hustle that include running elaborate “totally legal” pyramid schemes. These schemes are particularly successful due to the many Laurier business majors down the street. Do you want to take control of your life? Be you own boss? Make 1000+ USD per week from home? Management engineering students have got your back. #gaslightgirlbossgatekeep

Mechanical Engineering 

Mechanical engineers are one of a kind. They have spent their whole degree studying physics, everything from kinematics to materials science, to *gasp* thermodynamics. Understandably these students have many options to make money with their degree, but sources tell me that many of these students have found great success applying their knowledge to designing fans. They customize the blades, and optimize the motor efficiency, then turn to OnlyFans to reveal these designs to their loyal following.

Mechatronics Engineering

Everyone knows these students are just a knock-off version of mechanical engineers, and sources tell me that they use this to their advantage. Years of pretending to be mechanical engineers, make it as easy as breathing to segue right into the fraud business. The genre and scale of fraud these students choose varies, but the most common side-hustles this year were light identity theft, tax fraud, and copyright infringement.


Regardless of what program you find yourself in, stay motivated in your hunt for a side hustle: at least you’ll always have more options than business majors.

And always remember if you can’t do any of these, you can either:

  • Be born rich
  • Marry rich

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