A responsible college student with a full class schedule works many hours each week doing schoolwork. Still, many students look for a job to make money during the school year, and some students turn to the flexibility found in companies like Uber.
Taylor Berry is a graduate student at Auburn University who drives for Uber in his spare time. He has been driving since February 2018 and has an Uber rating of 4.96 out of 5 stars.
“I’ve only ever gotten one ride that wasn’t 5 stars,” Berry said. “That’s because I didn’t rate them 5 stars. They weren’t the best rider.”
His driving doesn’t get in the way of his academics or his social life. The money he earns goes toward his apartment rent, but his parents support him sometimes if necessary, Berry said.
“In undergrad, I had an on-campus job that I would typically work like 10 hours a week,” Berry said. “That same job has transitioned to a [graduate assistant] position right now, so I have to work 14 hours a week and then do Uber on the side.”
Berry takes advantage of Uber’s flexible working hours to fit driving around his classes and his on-campus job. He mainly drives on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, driving multiple days a week without missing out on social events.
“I get to drive around Auburn and meet new people sometimes and talk to people,” Berry said. “I love chilling in my car, driving and listening to music.”
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Berry is also involved in intramural teams on campus and was a part of multiple clubs during his time as an undergraduate student. He said he has never needed to drive for Uber over going to class or participating in an event.
Thomas Knight, a freshman in aerospace engineering, drives for Uber on weekends. He has been driving for the ride-share company since August, and he has an Uber rating of 4.91 out of 5 stars.
“It wasn’t hard going through and getting all the registration stuff, then I had to go get the car checked out,” Knight said. “I know a lot of people doing both [Uber and Lyft]. I just never got around to doing all the registration stuff for them.”
Knight is currently involved in multiple clubs and organizations around campus, including the Rocketry Association. He plans to work in the Veterans Resource Center in the spring, because he began college this year after four years in the Air Force.
He appreciates both the flexibility of working and the relative ease of the application process. He does not drive every week, choosing to put time toward academics or social events.
“Contrary to belief, picking up drunk people really is not as bad as I thought it would be,” Knight said. “They’re kind of entertaining. I haven’t had anyone throw up or do anything crazy in my car yet.”
Most of his rides are not particularly memorable, but he has had a few odd situations that stick out to him.
“I Ubered this one girl, and as she was about to go to the car. She looked at me and just burst into tears,” Knight said. “Once she got into the car, she was fine, and she gave me a big hug and asked me to pray for her, and I told her I would. It was just so random.”
Knight said he can earn $150 to $170 on a good night, usually on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday. His earnings are boosted during surge hours, thanks in large part to parties.
He likes to start driving between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. and stops when he sees that he is not getting many rides, usually between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m.
Knight said he does not give up anything except sleep to drive, though he does not mind going to bed at 2 or 3 a.m. on a weekend. He also said he makes sure to finish his schoolwork before accepting any ride requests on Uber.
“I don’t [drive] on home football weekends,” Knight said. “I love going to football games, and I don’t feel like fighting gameday traffic at night.”
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