I was always one of those people that could be persuaded to fill out a survey for pretty much any purpose. My high school job was as a front desk clerk at a hotel. Whenever I got a positive survey I would get a bonus. After that job, I knew it was duty to help people get their jobs done by filling out surveys, answering questionnaires, and giving my opinions – especially for  experiences I enjoyed.

Donating Blood

I think every college student gets hassled to donate blood. For me, it didn’t take much convincing. Donating blood means you are working toward a good cause. In college towns, you often see the best rewards for doing this good deed.  I saw that I would get a free t-shirt, a gift card, and tickets to the movies and I was sold! It was after this amazing reward that my addiction truly set in.

Food Studies

At this point, I began to take advantage of random studies I ran across while walking around campus. They constantly conducted food studies. Whenever I saw a long line, I knew it would be a good study. Typically the studies would be burger tastings, French fry toppings, and other awesomely horrible foods for you. Once I was disappointed with a new flavor of Jell-O once but about two years later I saw it on the shelf and thought I could have had a part in helping that flavor get there.

Extra Credit Opportunities

My marketing professor used to offer us extra credit for participating in studies that the graduate program conducted. We could earn up to 3% on our final grade, which is a crazy amount and could mean the difference between a B+ or an A- in the class. Of course, I took advantage of these opportunities. You never knew what the study would be; you simply knew the amount of time you would be required to participate.

My second time participating in a marketing study was the best experience ever! I went to the small room in a sketchy part of campus and sat in front of the slowest computer. It was a simulation of a gas station and I was given $20 to ‘spend’. They gave the option of spending any or all of your virtual money in the ‘store’. I purchased about three dollars worth of products and decided this would be typical of my personality. After I made my virtual selections, I went to sign out of the study. I signed the paper and they gave me my purchased items and my change! I walked out with a pack of gum, a candy bar, $17.00, and 1% added on to my overall marketing grade!

Sure, I put in a lot of effort and time into these random surveys and studies over the years but I would not change it for anything. In the moment, these studies interested me and brought me a little bit of belonging in a large university setting. The worst thing was eating gross flavors of Jell-O but the best things was walking away with $17 in my pocket. Needless to say, I spent it rather quickly.

The moral of this story is, when you are in college you are exposed to all sorts of opportunities you may not come across in regular life. Take a second, fill out the survey, and get a free t-shirt. At the very least, you’ll have a new shirt to workout in!

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