As the struggle to adjust to the distance learning continues, some students turned their hobbies into side hustles to help fund their studies.
In August, the Department of Education said that about four million learners have dropped out due to the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic crisis, while many students are still scrambling to acquire digital devices and stable Internet connection.
Information Technology student Precious Vi Latag raised funds for a new laptop through selling her artworks online.
“I need to buy a laptop for my online classes and to also use it to make systems and documents,” Latag told the Manila Bulletin in Filipino.
She added that she wanted to augment their family finances, as her single dad is also struggling to budget for their home expenses, electricity bills, water bills, and food.
“That’s where I realized that I have to make a way to buy it because it’s difficult to apply for a job especially during the pandemic. All I could think of was to monetize my drawing skills,” Latag continued.
She started posting sample arts on Twitter in August, hoping to attract clients, but unfortunately her earnings still weren’t enough to buy a laptop.
“Online classes are difficult because I only use my phone which often lags. Compared to face-to-face classes, it would not be a problem if you don’t have a phone or gadgets, you just have to attend classes and listen,” Latag said.
University of Santo Tomas student Noriel A. Beltran said he started selling artworks online to help his parents.
“It was during the pandemic that I wanted to become productive and help my parents even in little ways,” he added, saying that through the art commission payments he receives from his client, he no longer asks allowance from his parents.
“It feels good to be able to become somewhat independent and help my parents especially in this pandemic,” Beltran said.
Meanwhile, Alejandro Gabriel V. Cayago, a senior high student, shared that selling his illustrations online helped him buy the supplies he needs for his online classes.
“Selling my gift to people from different parts of the globe helped me take care of some basic expenses in school,” Cayago said.
Due to connectivity issues, Gwen, a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) student from Taytay, Rizal started to sell her paintings and sketches online.
“Since I’m using data for online classes, I thought of why not open an art commission so I can save up money for load. And I’m just using a cellphone which is kinda hard that’s why I’m also saving up money to buy a laptop or at least a tablet,” she said.
Selling her art has been a big help for Gwen’s studies because the money she gets from her sales allow her to buy load for her online classes and to pay for her other expenses.
Poor Internet connections also hinder JL Edal’s online learning. Distance learning is even harder for Edal since he is an agriculture student.
“Most of my classes should require hands-on experience in the field but because of the pandemic, we haven’t really had the chance to experience important topics that would help us in the future,” he added.
Just like Gwen, Edal also opened art commissions on Twitter to pay for his Internet bills and other household expenses.
“I decided to open up slots for art commissions because I wanted to help with our household finances. We were having trouble with our income and I wanted to somehow contribute even just for food expenses,” Edal added.