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Student News

Student funds degree by working as a real life mermaid

If you think you know the coolest way to make money, think again. Now you can get a decent pay packet by becoming a real-life mermaid...

mermaid tale dress up

Credit: OlgaGi – Shutterstock

A medical student at the University of Sheffield has found a weird and wonderful way to pay her way through university – working as a part-time mermaid children's entertainer!

Yasmin Awan gets paid up to £100 an hour to wear a mermaid's tail and swim underwater (without any diving equipment) to entertain kids.

She calls herself Mermaid Athena Storm and works at children’s parties, usually around Wirral and Merseyside. They're often children’s pool parties, but she has made appearances at on-land parties as well.

Parties involve her donning her mermaid costume, playing games with the kids, and even teaching them about marine conservation. As Yasmin explained, her adventure started when she saw an advert for a mermaid camp:

It really intrigued me and I thought it could be a lot of fun.

We were taught to free dive, which is underwater diving that relies on the diver’s ability to hold their breath, rather than the use of any equipment like scuba.

To me, it’s so much more than a job. I love working with children, and seeing me dressed up as a ‘real-life’ mermaid makes them so happy.

Is being a real-life mermaid safe?

happy birthday cake candles
At the end of her mermaid training course, Yasmin and other mermaids were asked by the Head Mermaid to join her party business.

All the mermaids had to do was buy tails, which can vary in cost depending on how much you're willing to do yourself and pay for material. Yasmin said:

It all started off as a bit of fun, but blossomed into a business opportunity!

Hiring a real-life mermaid for a party costs between £100 and £200 for the first hour, and then up to around £40 for any extras.

However, there are downsides to the job. Yasmin says that the company she works for has to be careful who they host parties for.

The job does attract some weird types that are known as ‘merverts’, who see mermaids as a sexual fantasy.

We also get some backlash that we are buying into the fantasy, but really we all just love entertaining at kids' parties.

More unusual ways to make money at university

student joe pearce on yatch

If mermaids aren’t your thing, don’t worry – there are plenty of other ways to get creative with your cash at university.

You might like the idea of getting a part-time job in a pub or shop, but if this isn’t possible with your timetable, why not try something else?

From taking online surveys, reviewing websites, to selling your textbooks there are so many ways to make money without sacrificing too much study time.

There are also, like Yasmin and her mermaid job, the more obscure options. For instance, Beau Jessop makes £48,000 a year from her website that helps Chinese parents choose English names for their children.

If you’re not too fussy about where you live and how much space you have, you could opt to do what this student did and live on an £800 yacht to save on rent.

Really the take-home message is: there's huge potential for making a reasonable amount of money while you study for a degree, even if you initially feel like you don’t have enough time for a typical part-time job!

Getting paid to watch videos is also a minimal effort and maximum reward option!

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