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6 Ways to Have a Productive Summer Break – College Info Geek

6 Ways to Have a Productive Summer Break – College Info Geek


Summer vacation. It’s a gap between
your semesters, it’s a break from your classes, and when you’re a kid
it’s basically time to make Pokémon a full time job. To me it’s more than that. Summer is a time to
complement everything you get from your academics, to complement your classes. Without your full time schedule
in your way of your courses, you have time to do things that help you gain experience that will help you get
closer to your goals. Things that you can’t do while you’re sitting
in a classroom. That’s the idea we’re going to
explore today in this video. I’m going to share
six different ideas that you can use to make
your summer more productive. This is an incredibly
broad topic. It’s basically like asking, “I’ve got three months
free, what do I do with it?” To narrow it down a little bit I thought I would share just
some of the lessons I learned from my own college summers, including one of
the biggest mistakes I ever made as a student which cost me a ton
of progress and time. Before we get to that, let’s start first with
fittingly my first summer which I spent here at Iowa
State University on campus. The first tip here is
going to pertain to you if you don’t really know
exactly what you want to do with your career yet. That was me after
my freshman year. I knew I wanted to do
something with computers but I wasn’t really sure what, so instead I decided to pursue
an opportunity on campus. That’s really what you can do
to have a productive summer if you’re not really
sure where you’re going with your career. If you can find something
that’s challenging, that’s going to help you
meet lots of new people, that’s going to help
you learn new skills, that’s going to be
really, really valuable and it will almost definitely
be worth your time. In my case, I got
a job on campus which here they
call Cyclone Aides but I think at other
schools they just call it Student Orientation Assistant. Basically I helped students
sign up for classes, I answered tons of questions
from parents and students alike and I gave lots of
tours of this campus. Which, by the way, did you know that Iowa State University
is one of only three campuses in the nation to be given
a distinguished honor from the American Society
of Landscape Architects? I still remember that. That job was actually
really interesting and I gained a lot of
experience and skills that I didn’t think I would need since I was going into IT. I got public
speaking experience, I got organizational experience through organizing an
event and hiring a speaker, and I met lots of
people on campus that I wouldn’t
have otherwise met. It was an incredibly
helpful experience. A little bonus tip here. Pay attention to
these bulletin boards you see around campus because that is actually where
I found out about that job. Look, employment information, grad student opportunities, a lot of opportunities
are going to be listed on bulletin boards on campus so do that and also
follow your school’s social media accounts as well. On the flip side
from the first tip, if you are a little bit
further into your major and you know what you’re
going to do in your career or you at least
have an idea of it, then your best probable
opportunity for the summer is going to be looking
for an internship that’s going to get you
some technical experience in your major area. That’s the best possible
thing to do I think because you can’t get a
feel for the kind of work you’re going to be
doing in the future just by sitting in classes. You have to get
hands on experience. We came down to Des Moines, Iowa because during my sophomore
summer I ended up working at an IT company in the
networking department and that’s where I got
a lot of the hands on technical experience
in my major area and it’s where I learned to
manage computer networks. That was really helpful
because honestly my classes didn’t really prepare me for
what the work would be like. On that note I have a little
bit of a third tip here. This is less of an
action of an opportunity to pursue in the summer, but it is something
to be thinking about and that is to be
constantly gauging how you are enjoying and
how you are reacting to the kind of work you’re doing because when you constantly
evaluate how that’s going, how you react to it, you’re going to be able
to make better decisions on what to do in the future. For instance, I liked computers, I liked IT, but I was maintaining
computer networks every single day
for 40 hours a week. What I discovered through
that internship experience that I couldn’t
discover in a classroom is that I don’t like
maintaining things. I like to build
things from scratch and I couldn’t have learned
that in a classroom. That experience actually
helped me to start shifting into being a YouTuber,
into being a blogger, and I wouldn’t have been
able to do that otherwise. Definitely look for internships. There are lots of online
resources you can use to find internships, but really the best way to do it would be to go to your
career center at your school or your school’s career website and also book an appointment
with your career counselor to get your resume reviewed and
discuss your career options. You could also, if you’re
going to be on campus during the summer, book a mock interview. These are one of the
best things that I did to improve my
interviewing skills (ding) during the year and I also did a couple
during the summers as well. For a fourth tip here, beyond the jobs
and the internships you can also look at
taking summer classes. Here’s my thoughts on
summer classes in general. Like I said, summer
is basically a time for you to round
out your skillset by doing things that you
can’t do in the classroom. Because of that I
really don’t recommend taking an entire full time
suite of summer courses because that’s
basically constructing an extra semester for yourself. You’re risking burnout and
you’re not giving yourself that time to gain those
other types of skills, but if you have a really firm
grasp on your graduation plan you could maybe take one
or two summer classes in addition to an on
campus opportunity or a job and that could help you
potentially graduate early or just make your
next semester easier and have more time for
activities on campus, so it is an option. Now for the fifth tip here, one potential exception
to my overall beliefs about summer school
is studying abroad. You can study abroad
during the summer and while you’re getting
some classes done, while you’re getting
some degree requirements out of the way, you’re also getting a
lot of new perspectives on the world. Now, this is actually
something that I never did as a student. I did travel
independently to Japan during my senior summer
with a couple of friends and it was one of the coolest
experiences of my life. I definitely
recommend going there, but studying abroad
could be a nice combinatorial experience. You could get that experience
of traveling the world but also get some school
requirements out of the way. We’ve talked about
jobs, internships, we talked about studying
abroad and summer school, and that brings us
to the final thing I wanted to talk
about in this video which is using your summer
to pursue a personal project. This is actually what I
did during my third summer between my junior
and senior years, and it is also one of
the biggest mistakes that I made as a
college student. I don’t think pursuing
a personal project is a mistake at all. In fact if you have a skill
that you want to learn that you can learn
well on your own, your summer is probably
the best possible time you’re going to have to
sink all the hours you need to sink into it to
truly master it. If it’s going to benefit
you down the road, that’s an awesome thing to do. What my mistake was, was quitting absolutely
everything else and trying to dedicate
my entire summer to that personal project. At the time my project
which was College Info Geek was doing well. It was finally getting
some really good traffic, finally starting
to make some money. Logically I was like, “Well,
if I dedicate every single hour “of every single day to that
instead of something else, “that’s the best
use of my time.” What I didn’t realize was that without any constraints
on my schedule, I wasn’t going to use
my time efficiently because there was nothing
coming up during every day. I’d wake up and I would think, “I have every hour of
this day to do something,” so I never used any of those
hours very efficiently. It’s like Parkinson’s Law says, “Work expands to fill the
time you allot to it.” Time is kind of like air. With air, when you compress it you can do some
useful things with it. You can pump up your
bike tires, for example. As the space the
air is in expands and as that air gets
thinner and thinner, it gets less and less useful to the point where
it’s so spread out that you can’t even breathe it. Your productivity is
affected by time as well. If you allot too much
time to something, you’re not going to
be very productive. You’re going to be very
inefficient with your time. You’ll be more prone
to procrastination. If you have something
in your summer that’s constraining your
schedule to a certain degree, it doesn’t have to be as much
as it is during the semester but just a little bit, that’s going to make you use
the time you have left over much more efficiently. That about does it
for this video, guys. Hopefully you enjoyed it and if you did you
can give it a like to support this channel. Wow, this looks
like a thumbs down. If you want to get new videos on how to be a more
effective student every single week you can
click that Subscribe button right above, wink, and if you want to get
a free copy of my book on how to earn better grades, well a digital one at least, you can go right there. Previous video’s right there. Full article is right there. I’m about to pass out. If you wanted to
connect with me, just use the social
media links right there. See ya.


Reader Comments

  1. Note to Self: If you ever need to film a zombie movie, do it on a college campus during the summer. No. People. Anywhere.

  2. I've been watching you and even though i'm not a student anymore i love all the content and the big effort you put into it. May i ask what Mic u using and also what camera? Keep up the great work!

  3. (1 year left before I graduate)
    Interesting thought: I actually stumbled upon your college info geek website about half a year ago, read a few articles and told myself, wow this would have been so useful if only I found it earlier. I saved the link and told myself I'd look into it again eventually.
    Punchline: as I'm watching this video, before you mention the personal project mistake, I'm like "hey I think I'll go revisit his website, it was very useful". Thank you for devoting so much time and energy to sharing your knowledge.

  4. we had a 4 month summer break because of the curriculum shift in our country and I took a summer job at a honey bee farm. it was not related to my course but I learned a lot of new things outside my comfort zone ☺ I can say it's more productive than watching kdramas the whole break. 😀

  5. The reference to air being compressed and time was phenomenal! And all your tips are 100% true, I'm loving through it right now and an internship for the summer opened my eyes on what I wanted to do… I should probably get a journal though..

  6. Thomas, I just wanted to thank you for allowing me to discover what I've been doing wrong these past few years. Parkinson's Law is something I've been struggling with for a long time! It's nice to finally define it. Now I just have to work on it!

    Also I wanted to say that I admire the way you assess every situation objectively, always finding efficient ways to accomplish everyday tasks 🙂 You are the best!

  7. I really liked this new style, there's stuff to be improved but I think it's more a matter of practice and getting used to shooting this way rather than the basic sitting in front of the camera – way. It could've been a little bit more still though, sometimes the movement made it hard to concentrate in what you were saying. Well, anyway! Keep up the good stuff 🙂 Good subject

  8. I'm actually amazed. You can probably do skits in your videos for entertainment and real life examples. Great Job! Also I'm an international and thinking to come to Iowa state university for Computer Science major. I noticed that you are at the same university. Would you recommended it to me?

  9. Visually refreshing Thomas, nice to see you pushing your boundaries like this and experimenting with different formats, keep killing it on YouTube, I love your content 🙂

  10. I like your room better. the audio is better and the visual is less distracting. But it is an interesting experiment.

  11. I was expectong this to be awkward from the comments but i actually found it ok. Nothing strange with hands movements

  12. Very good series of videos. I learn so much from your college series of videos about different study skills and life habits! Very creative and helpful!

  13. Thomas,
    Please continue with this amazing work. I'm here about 2 weeks and I'm feeling that I really need to watch all your videos because your channel is very addicting.

  14. Loved this video! I'm in Sydney, Australia and just starting my three month summer break. I'm a big fan of your videos so was looking if you'd made any vids on general goal-setting for "non-semester" time. Great work!

  15. Hi, great video man! Do you have any advice for someone whose vacations last for only two weeks every four months?

  16. Still working on the whole productivity/time wasting thing during the summer (your videos help so much) but one of the things that worked so well for me unintentionally was getting a volunteer position with the university I was attending in the summer before my first year. Right after high school I was on campus ans interacting with current students from various years who were actually employed by the organization. Not only was I comfortable with campus months before starting uni but I gained some incredible contacts that I can access if I need help or advice

  17. I wish I had of know about those websites when I was in college. I went for summer classes so I could graduate and move on. It was hectic and if I had it to do again I think at least for me I would do it the same. My college experience wasn't good I think if I took the summer off I wouldn't of gone back for fall term.

  18. Dont people ever consider life? all year schooling? shouldn't kids get
    to enjoy their lives? shouldnt both kids and adults get more freetime?
    the school/work week should be 2 or 3 days at most and adults should get
    summer vacation too. sure, productivity would drop but fuck
    productivity.

  19. As a college student, these tips were really helpful! I actually happen to be trying to work on some of my own projects over this summer but I thought I would hit the same problem of having too much unconstrained time so I'm doing a part time job as well for 20hrs/week.
    That seems to have helped give me more structure to my days but I slightly underestimated how much time I was giving over to the job. So for anyone considering the idea, I would suggest not to let the side activity take too much more than 10-15 hours/ week because then you may find it difficult to conjure enough time and energy to be productive with your actual project.

  20. The last tip (about what NOT to do) was super important, and that's exactly what I'm trying to avoid this summer. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  21. I wish I knew about your channel earlier! I just graduated college in May and it just felt like I was flailing around for 4 years. Wish I had been watching your videos then!

  22. Feels so weird when voice sounds like it's recorded in room but visual is outside 😀 without ambient sound

  23. Hey!
    Your videos are really helpful. I entered university and will definitely use your advices.Thank you!

  24. I had to get this out, it looks like your in a commercial for SunSetter.
    okay back to watching the video.

  25. What should I do while living at home and going to community college? Accept my limbo like lifestyle, living at home for the next two years?

  26. I love love love your channel. You're going to be a perfect husband and a great father someday, if you're not already. Keep up the great work.

  27. Waaa Japan:O <3
    To bad i can.t really do anything from this list since i just enter in hight school and the gate cheeper dosen.t let students inside the school in summer:(

  28. I think this is better then all the motivational videos I have ever encountered. ☺☺☺… Made me sub. and press thumbs up😊😊

  29. What if Im studying finance in London, which is an extremely competitive field and city, and they reject me when I apply to internships even though I have a really good CV?
    How can I get experience otherwise?

  30. Dear Thomas: Why don’t you create more videos like this where you are outside and we get to see things from different angles. Thank you for your exquisite videos! Cheers!

  31. There are only 10 days left for my summer vacations to end. and I'm watching this video now. I wish I had watched it earlier

  32. Great video. But… what about making one for those people who dropped college? Or, at least, for those who "froze" college (it's the way we call it in my country, it means college is stopped by someone and later on the student will retake it).

  33. This is the worst fkn thing to do during summer lol
    Yes sure let me fkn study and do classes related stuff after spending 6months sitting in a class room all day everyday! Good job I’m subscribing dipshit

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