6 surprising things highly successful people did to make money in college

How this man's side hustle became a $250 million-a-year automotive empire
How this man's side hustle became a $250 million-a-year automotive empire

Before some of your favorite celebrities and business leaders achieved the success they have today, they were normal 20-somethings navigating their way through college. With very little money in the bank, they did what most broke college students do, which is apply for jobs to make ends meet.

While juggling schedules and school is no easy feat, the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, reports that 70 percent of college students today work while they are enrolled. In fact, roughly 40 percent of undergraduate students and 76 percent of graduates students work at least 30 hours a week.

Below are the surprising things six highly successful people did to make extra money during their time in school.

 1. Sandra Bullock used to open for drag queens

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On a recent episode of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," Sandra Bullock opened up about the job she held in college as a student at East Carolina University. "I used to open for drag queens in North Carolina by dancing," she told DeGeneres during a game of "Burning Questions."

Bullock graduated from college in 1987 with a bachelor of fine arts degree in drama.

2. Taraji P. Henson was a receptionist at the Pentagon

Mark Davis/Getty Images

Oscar-nominated actress Taraji P. Henson started her college career at North Carolina A&T University before transferring to Howard University in Washington, D.C. In a Washington Post article, she revealed that during her time in school she worked as a receptionist at the Pentagon in the morning and as a singing and dancing waitress on "The Spirit of Washington" dinner cruise ship in the evening.

In addition to holding these two jobs, she told Allure that she also did hair in her apartment between classes and charged $20 a head. "Oh yeah, I knew how to hustle and make money," she said. "We used to do wet sets ... I bought a hooded dryer and I had my box of rollers."

3. Cindy Crawford shucked corn

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Before her modeling career took off, Cindy Crawford was a scholarship student who was studying chemical engineering at Northwestern University.

Throughout high school and into her first semester of college, she says she worked as a corn shucker to make some extra cash. In fact, she boasts about this experience in her Twitter bio, which still reads, "Unique skills include pie baking, corn shucking and surprisingly good at bowling."

4. Kerry Washington was an RA

Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

"Scandal" star Kerry Washington graduated from George Washington University with a double major in anthropology and sociology. To help with her housing expenses, Washington revealed on "Late Night with Seth Meyers" that she worked as a resident assistant in her dorm.

5. Mark Cuban gave disco lessons

Mark Cuban during 2016 Advertising Week New York on September 28, 2016 in New York City.
Slaven Vlasic | Getty Image

Self-made billionaire Mark Cuban graduated from Indiana University in 1981 with a bachelor's degree in business. According to The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, he gave disco lessons to sorority girls for $25 an hour to help him make some extra cash.

During his senior year in 1981, he also opened up a pub in Bloomington, Indiana, called Motley's. "It was definitely the best bar in town," Cuban's statistics professor Wayne Winston told The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "I don't think I've had a student since who's started a business while they were in school."

6. Barbara Corcoran worked at an orphanage

Barbara Corcoran attends the premiere of ABC's 'Shark Tank' Season 9
Rodin Eckenroth | Getty Images

Before graduating from St. Thomas Aquinas College in 1971, "Shark Tank" star Barbara Corcoran said she had worked 20 jobs, doing everything from selling hot dogs to being a housemother at an orphanage.

Out of all the jobs she held, she says that waitressing prepared her most for her success today.

"You learn more in waitressing than you can in any other job, and I had every kind of menial job you can imagine," she said. "What's great about being a waitress is you have your own territory. It's your responsibility. It's your table. It's your counter. The sugar's got to be filled. The ketchup's got to be topped off."

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