Engineering Student's Guide To Summer Vacation
As my college life comes to an end, and I get to see the summer vacation once again, I realise how excruciatingly long and boring these summers can be. Every year for my past 3 years, I tried to figure out ways to use the summer time in a fruitful way. It wasn't easy - I often slept for hours at a stretch, started some projects and never completed them, and tried learning stuff but slept again! So, I've written this to make sure you do not face the same summer problems that I did.
Before I suggest some things you can do in the summer, let us talk about the real problem:
How to find the discipline to do what you want to do:
On most days, you do not seem to find the will to do anything. You'd rather sleep than complete that article you've been working on. You'd rather eat something than solve that programming puzzle. You'd rather watch a movie than solder the electronics board for your robot. In such cases, the only thing you need to do is to do it right after you wake up. If you want to write a novel, get up in the morning and write 10 pages. If you are working on a piece of code and do not seem to find the discipline to complete it, work on it for 2 hours right after you wake up. If you're working on a project, divide it into daily accomplishable tasks and then do it every morning. As a rule, do the most important thing in the morning.
Now some ideas for stuff you could do in the summer:
1. Build your own stuff.
This is the single most important thing you can do to utilize summer (and your life) well. You'll learn a lot, it'll look good on your CV and you'll probably have something of value. You can build websites, create computer games, build a robot, an RC plane or even that locket in "The Illusionist". Most students (including me) complain of the lack of money in the case of expensive projects like robots or RC planes. If you face such a problem, you can ask some money from some passed-out seniors who you know well. Most seniors will be happy to fund your project if you've a promising proposal and is affordable for them.
2. Learn a new skill.
You might want to learn a musical instrument or a martial art. You can start by trying to learn things yourself, taking lessons from YouTube, and if you feel you won't be able to get through yourself, you can sign up for personal lessons.
3. Take a course in a subject you're interested in.
Most of your friends must have already enrolled in some vocational training center. You can enroll for one of those courses too, but remember that you're going to forget every bit of whatever they teach you there. Unless you practice. And the key to consistent practice is to be genuinely interested in the topic. Well, you get the point. Study interesting topics.
4. Solve a problem that has been bugging you.
Solve your own problems. If your home's wells dry up in the summer, set up a rainwater harvesting system in your home. If the electrician does not show up, fix your fan yourself. The sole purpose of an engineer is to solve problems. Keep doing that.
5. Work for a startup.
You're probably reading this article because you did not get an internship. So, if you want one, talk to your friends who know people who are starting their startups. When startups are in a very early stage, all you need to do is talk to the cofounders directly and ask them if you could be of some help to them. They usually need a helping hand, and won't mind getting you onboard. Applying through sites like Internshala will probably be fruitless.
6. Study for campus placements.
If you've passed your sixth semester, you'll have to face company intereviews next semester (if you want a job on-campus). I never studied for my placements, so I've no idea. You might want to ask your seniors and they'll let you know about various companies and their placement process. Then prepare accordingly.
Still confused? Is the list too long? Let me shorten it for you:
If you just passed your sixth semester, focus on your studies/internship.
If you just passed your fourth semester, work at a startup. Start a project of your own if you could not find a startup to work at. Take a course if you've some time.
If you just passed your second semester, you should focus on learning something new. Start programming. Learn to use Catia or AutoCAD. Also, build something of value. Use the software you learned to create a new design you've always fascinated. Create a new computer game. Ask around to see if a friend is interested as well, and then do these things together.
That's all for now. Let's go have fun.