Students are sorting through discarded dirty clothes, dressing up as seafood and stuffing Christmas crackers to earn cash in their holidays, according to a survey.
Others report working long hours for low pay in shops and delivering leaflets.
The poll, commissioned by The Student Room website, found that the vast majority (86.4%) of students are planning to work this summer.
Almost a fifth (19.2%) said they had found it easy to find work, with the rest saying they had found it difficult, or had not yet secured a job.
Nearly half (45.7%) said they would be working in the retail industry, more than a fifth (22.6%) said they would be working in hospitality, such as bars and restaurants, 15.1% said office work, 10.6% said they would be doing internships and the others had secured other types of work.
Eight in ten (79.1%) told the small-scale survey that they thought there are very few summer jobs available.
And more than a fifth of students (22.5%) believe that their working conditions are worse than those of their full-time colleagues, while over one in four (26.9%) do not think that their summer job will be good experience for their future career.
One, who said that he had worked as a clothing grader, said: "I had to sort through filthy charity clothes with unclean, used underwear. I was stood up and bent over a table for 10 hours."
Another, who worked as a seafood salesman said: "I had to walk around dressed as a prawn with a big tray of crab sticks, prawns and cockles."
A third, who had worked as a chip shop worker, said: "I was paid £2 an hour and the rest in fish suppers", while a student who had worked delivering leaflets said: "I only got paid £20 a month and worked for a least five hours a day."
:: The online poll questioned 529 students between July 4-9.