Sunday, August 16, 2015

The $10,000 Summer

I asked Andrea to write this article for our website. She was a little reluctant to do so because "we aren't supposed to talk about money, right". 

I told her that her ideas on how to fund her college education could be very helpful to other students. 

Her approach is very entrepreneurial and unique. 

Andread started her own business. 

She developed a whole series of curriculum for a broad age-range of students her first summer out of college, and she has been implementing this vision for teaching young people about music and music theory. God has been blessing her vision academically, financially, and spiritually as she serves her students and their parents through these classes.

Andrea is a double major in Music Composition and Vocal Music Education at The University of Northwestern in St. Paul. She has a 2-inch thick binder full of very positive evaluations from her students and recommendations from her student's parents, from these summer classes she has been teaching, and she hasn't even started her student teaching yet.

As you can tell she is a very talented teacher and a very hard worker both in the classroom and on the farm.

--- Brian, Andrea's father


Some things just don’t seem possible.

Like graduating from college without debt. Right? With the price of universities all across the country skyrocketing, there is no way to go to a university for 4 years without at least a LITTLE debt, is there?

What would your world look like if you could make $10,000 in one summer?

But is THAT possible? (Probably only if you are a senior in engineering or maybe if you worked construction and a lot of overtime.)

I am here to tell you that it is; here's how I did it:

Some background...

Three summers ago (my first summer of college), I decided to start teaching music classes. I figured that this would not only give me good experience in my field, but it would also help pay a bit for college on top of what I was already making while working for my family on the farm and at the Farmer’s Market. Plus, farm work is somewhat flexible, so I could do my fieldwork when I was not teaching classes and plan the classes when needed.

The first summer flopped. The organization I was working with did not publicize the classes at all, so we had 3 students in 1 class instead of many in 3 classes that I had planned. 3 students, 1 summer, 5 teaching hours. $150. I was disappointed. I could have been tempted to quit, saying, ‘Oh, this is a bad idea. I’m not qualified yet and no one is interested in these classes.’ But I didn’t.

Last summer I tried again, this time putting a bit more effort and forethought in with the organization I worked with so that the same thing wouldn’t happen again. It still wasn’t quite what I had envisioned in size, but it was better. I still mostly worked at home and taught 4 classes this time, as well as some music classes at the local Boys & Girls Club for this organization for a grant they had been given. 22 students + B&GC grant, 1 summer, 30 teaching hours. $1550.

This summer, I decided to go a bit bolder, still not quite my vision for these classes, but better than the past. I planned 15 classes! A bit ambitious… I ended up teaching 9 classes. We still had some miscommunications that slowed down the beginning of the summer, but we were okay once we hit the middle of June. And the turnout has really improved! I have had at least 6 students in each class…. which, if you do the math, equals ~$45 an hour for teaching time. Woah. Talk about multiplying your time! Each time I add a student to a class my earnings go up with very little additional effort. I am also teaching some music classes for this organization at two other places (B&GC again and the local Community Education branch), so that makes the student-count more confusing, but I’ll try to keep it simple: ~105 students (78 official + B&GC members), 1 summer, 82 teaching hours. $4493.

Not only is that pretty amazing, but I work approximately 30-40 hours per week on the farm (depending on how many music classes I have)... adding up to about $6100, and I still have one more work week left!

I was also offered a job this summer editing a friend’s father's Easter cantata. He is not trained formally in music, so he wanted me to edit his scores for publication purposes. So far I have worked on his project for 10.25 hours, $205. I probably have ~20 hours or so left to work on it, give or take a little. This will extend into the school year.

The Summer 2015 total is $10, 798. But I also took a summer course online this summer… I spent $405 to take that class. This puts my official total for the summer (which is not QUITE over yet!) at $10, 393.

So yes… it IS possible to make over $10,000 in one summer (~3 months).

Why write this post? The purpose of this is to show that you CAN pay for college without taking out student loans. It may not be the conventional route, and it may take a bit of creative, out-of-the-box thinking, but it can be done. What Dave Ramsey (and the Bible, for that matter!) is advocating is not just a pie-in-the-sky ideal… it can be reality. It can be your reality. Yes, it takes hard work, commitment, creativity, and perseverance, but it can be done. And someday, I can live freely like no one else because I am living now like no one else!

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