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Technology related hobby for a college student

  1. Dec 29, 2014 #1
    Let's say you are a college student with not much disposable income and looking for a hobby.

    I want to learn to be more savvy with the devices and objects in the world. Have some idea of how to fix a car, how to fix things in the house, know how the house works inside, be less clueless when I open up an electrical device or appliance of what is inside, be less clueless when I have a computer or internet problem. I think this thread a career question but if there is a better forum section, which would be most appropriate. Plenty of people have turned these kind of hobbies into work. Look at kickstarter.

    People might say "well you need to have interest/passion" and "hey just google it its on the internet somewhere" I'm looking for ways to make this more fun and more like a real hobby as opposed to just reading random instructional internet article, watching random instructional internet videos, smashing open random objects with a hammer and scratching my head when I have no clue what is inside.

    I'll see youtube videos of amateurs with their own small home labs where they might open up an object they have at home, might dabble in electronics, might create something with wood or metal. It all seems pretty overwhelming.

    How do young people with technology related hobbies typically get started? Because there are alot of young people who are clueless with the technology in the surroundings except how to post a message on facebook from their phone and there are people the same age who are creating things and fixing things.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 29, 2014 #2


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    electronics: buy an ardunio or attempt to build your own quadcoptor. The best way to learn technology through a hobby (at least for me) is to set a goal and do what you have to in order to get there.

    Here is what i did. I bought an arudino to make an automated beer can opener. I started it because i wanted to learn more about programing and engineering, and i thought it would be cool.
    Then i worked on various projects (taser, breath alyzer, assorted cool programs)
    Then i decided to try and build my own quadcopter.
  4. Dec 29, 2014 #3

    Doug Huffman

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    It was long after my college experience, but a professor friend at Clemson U. sponsored an SCCA corner crewe that provided on-track support to amateur race car drivers.
  5. Dec 29, 2014 #4
    The suggestion about SCCA racing made me recall this program:

    It seems like this could be a relatively inexpensive way to acquire the skills you mentioned. The engines often have sophisticated engine management computers and data logging electronics, so you could combine your desire to learn about cars and electronics in one program. I believe there are also competitions between schools in solar-powered cars.
  6. Dec 31, 2014 #5
    There are many ways you can stumble in to something like this. But first and foremost, you need boredom. I think one of the primary reasons for becoming the adult I am is because I was bored and started to pursue some notions I'd had since I was very young.

    Boredom lead to curiosity about radio, building radios, getting a ham radio license, and then later an electrical engineering degree. Boredom lead to making paper airplanes, getting curious about how they fly, studying for a pilot's license and later learning how to fly on instruments. Boredom lead to learning about computers, embedded systems, and later the devices that compose a SCADA system. Boredom and a bicycle that wasn't what I liked was how I learned to fix and upgrade a bicycle.

    However, the common denominator is learning to turn off all the time vampires around you so that you can be bored. That's when you can follow your muse and discover new things on your own. Cost? Most of the cost issues I encountered could be surmounted by spending time studying the subject and then learning how to explore it with what you have.

    My answer to you is to learn to make time for boredom, and then learn how to make the most of that boredom.
  7. Dec 31, 2014 #6


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    Any clubs at your college? When I was at university there were many engineering related clubs.
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