As scientists, we are constantly challenged to find solutions to new or old problems. This really stimulates creativity which is, by far, one of the best skills of a scientist. Creativity shouldn’t stop to the lab bench, in my opinion. All the skills we learn in grad school could be easily implemented in our personal and professional life too. So, what about getting creative and making actual money out of it? Many grad students don’t have a permanent salary, have to teach or demonstrate in undergrad labs to support themselves, work part-time jobs, and in the worst case, they might end up paying an eternal mortgage to get an education.
As many of you might know already, I launched my Etsy shop back in December to support my education and make extra cash. I converted a hobby of mine, crocheting, in a serious business. To know more about I got started, check my older article. Since I started, I had the opportunity to connect with other women in STEM who run a part-time business outside their PhD. I did not know that this was a thing! Likewise, I have seen loads of fellow scientists starting their own online shops. I believe it’s amazing as it helps to develop entrepreneurial skills while still in school! In a nutshell, it looks good on your CV!
Creativity is, by far, one of the best skills of a scientist and, in my opinion, it shouldn’t stop to the lab bench.
I want this article to be a tribute to all fab women that inspired me through this year. They made their own things to step up and bring their higher education to the next level!
“My name is Tahani Baakdhah, a PhD candidate at the Institute of the Medical Science at the University of Toronto studying retinal stem cells and their use in curing blindness. I am also a creative crocheter as I use my crocheted models in outreach and science communication. I started my craft life back in 2010 crocheting amigurumi toys. By the end of 2012, I joined the Toronto Etsy team and started to participate in their pop-up markets. I started to make science crochet in June when SciCommTO invited me to help them introduce the Knit a Neuron workshop in Toronto, an event that originated in the UK. Now every time I look under the microscope, I see different kinds of cells, which motivated me to create my own patterns to crochet and publish my first sci-art crochet book “Crocheting neuroscience: the retina”. I am now preparing the patterns for my second book about the brain. I offer a variety of crocheted sci-art products in my Etsy shop that includes: crocheted educational models, gifts, pins and accessories, toys, jewellery and more. I like to get creative inspiration and get inspired by others and I share my creation over many social media platforms to expand my outreach.
Lauren is a 3rd-year neuroscience PhD student in Austin, TX studying the electrical properties of neurons. She started embroidering realistic neurons based off of reconstructions from research articles. She decided to start a side hustle in order to cope with the stress of her qualifying exam in 2018. Embroidering became more than a hobby eventually leading to the creation of the Instagram account Stitching_Hew. Though Instagram, she shares tidbits about the neurons she embroiders and uses her embroidered pieces as a way to communicate science. She hopes to educate and inspire others through science art focused on real data scientists work with every day.“
Lauren’s neuron-inspired embroderies
Starting a side hustle might seem time consuming and feel like you are adding an extra burden to the busy schedule we have as PhD students. Making extra cash might come from plenty of side activities like science editing or monetising your writing. There are plenty of magazines that are happy to pay scientists for writing op-ed or featured articles about current and hot topic in science. Massive Science is currently recruting scientist for this.
Have you consider doing tuttoring through Skype?
Finally, I come across this article yesterday written by my friend Charlotte. She uses Skype as a platform for English private turoring. I did exactly the same during my undergrad. I used to do chemistry tutoring on Skype as a cource of extra income when I seriously didn’t have any money at all. Something worth considering!