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Other How to be productive this summer?

  1. Jun 19, 2017 #1
    Hi all,

    I'm a second year undergraduate studying physics living in London, searching for something productive to do over the summer. I'm free from now until the end of September. I know it's probably too late to apply for a scientific internship, but would appreciate any advice on things I can get involved in over the summer that would enhance my application to graduate schools to study physics, or just to improve my CV in general. I appreciate any advice you guys can give, thank you! :smile:
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 19, 2017 #2


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    Usually, if you're looking for some kind of an internship or research position you need to start looking well before the summer starts. For next summer try to keep an eye out for positions during the academic year and the deadlines for their applications.

    This summer still has about two a half months left.

    The first thing I would do, if you're not currently doing anything, is get a job - any job. I know that has nothing to do with physics, but summer jobs can help you to build up some cash for the year, and potentially reduce any student debt. More importantly though, depending on the position, it can help you develop "soft skills" that you wouldn't otherwise pick up through your education - skills such as talking with customers, negotiating, handling workplace politics, and a wide array of other possible things depending on the specifics of the position.

    Summer is also a good time to focus on your own interests. Often students try to read ahead in their courses and this isn't a bad idea, if you can do it, but I think for a lot of people because there's not pressure it works well for a week or so and then fizzles out. Instead, ty to spend time reading up on the stuff that you're really interested in. Try programming, or building a radio-controlled drone, or just reading about some of the things that got you interested in physics in the first place. This will help to keep you motivated later on, when you don't have as much time for the fun stuff.
  4. Jun 19, 2017 #3
    Is there any chance you could get a faculty member at a local uni to mentor you in an independent research project? Do you have any previous research experience such as competing in ISEF-affiliated science fairs?

    If you can't swing that, I'd recommend going over to the Coursera web site and finding an applicable programming course to take. Find out what languages are used by research groups in your local physics department, and start learning them.
  5. Jun 20, 2017 #4
    I'm not doing any internships either. For the summer I'm doing the following:

    1) Doing a sales/marketing job. I'm going door to door & setting appointments for doors,gutters, etc. Money os good, but as a poster alluded to, soft skills are important. I'm developing marketing/communication skills which is more important than money. This is 20 hrs/week.

    2) Doing unpaid research with a professor. This will help me get ahead in my yearly research project. 10-20 hrs/week.

    My dad died so I did not want to take an internship. So I decided to do these 2 things to keep me busy. As previous poster mentioned, ask a professor if you can do research for them. Also try & get a job. Preferably not a menial one but one that will get you skills (programming, customer service supervisor, writing, etc). Or if you have $200 to spare you can take codecademy class or another class to get programming skills!!! Or learn on own for free!!!
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