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Keeping Engineering Alive over the Summer

It may not feel like it now, but there's really not a ton of time left before this semester is over and you're all done with classes. While I'm sure you're looking forward to a little time off, to a summer job, or perhaps even an internship, it's always a good idea to make sure you keep your engineering skills sharp and at the ready - because classes only get more difficult from here. Here's a couple of options you could explore to stay sharp and stay involved in the engineering life outside of college.

Some basic electronics projects are always fun, and can get you the hands-on experience you might want. Come up with some kind of project. Maybe there's some kind of tool you could use around the house, or just something that might be neat to have. A lot of towns have makerspaces in them, with lab equipment and hardware you can use as well as a community of other makers who'll be eager to help you out.

Additionally, some public school districts offer adult education classes that teach certain practical skills. I once took a basic home electrician course through one of these programs, and learned a lot about how residential wiring works and got some good practice working with wires. Similar classes exist for loads of skills, so ask around and check out your county's website to learn about what might be available to you.

Let's say you want something that doesn't require any kind of financial investment - supplies for hands-on engineering projects aren't free after all, and college students aren't exactly known for their wealth. Learning a programming language is free, incredibly useful, and provides endless chances to solve problems and create something new. Set up Visual Basic and make basic applications for your computer, or develop games with the Unity3D or Unreal game engines. I hesitate to say that any of this is easy, but it's probably the closest things you can get to a real engineering project at home without investing any cash.

Make sure to do something to keep your mind active though - all of these are a great way of building experience, and they're loads of fun too!

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