The Ultimate BITSian Guide to Productive Summers

Or how to get through the summer when you have no social life work

Disclaimer ­-The following guide is rated G for Gyaan.

Summers are here. Well, almost. There’s still a week of assignments to go (cue groaning Phoenix folks) before everyone gears up for their Compres. And then it’s another two months (Except for PS1 folks. We barely get a week off. *sigh*) before we all return to campus. How do I spend those ten weeks, you ask? Apart from downloading youknowwhat from DC++, here’s your “other” guide to surviving the summers.

READ A BOOK

So first up, I want to clear up a few things. I love movies, and they’re totally awesome. Even TV shows are pretty kickass (I am the one who watches?). But what they also do very well is to waste your time. (We’ve all skipped a dinner or two because of a binge­watch, right?) So this summer, consider wasting your time, just a little more productively.

Why read? Because it gives you entertainment, while still being helpful. Reading regularly has benefits, some of which are improving your imagination, fluency and nailing future interviews. (*ahem ahem* Citation needed). Of course, many books are boring (Trust me, don’t touch Wuthering Heights unless you are really into it), but there’s always the right sort of books you’ll love.

Books to try for a first timer-­

If a 500-­page book doesn’t scare you, all books by Dan Brown are perfect. Fast, interesting and gripping, they’re the best way to get started. Or if you prefer the Indian touch, go for Amish Tripathy’s trilogy. Chetan Bhagat’s books are an easy read too (Yes I really did say that!), but people usually either love him or hate him (but you can’t ignore him?). Other books great for first time readers are The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (Different and awesome for slow readers) and the Harry Potter series (No, watching the movies doesn’t count!)

INTERN SOMEWHERE

As a first yearite (or even for higher years), one of the best things you can do for your resume (other than making it) is to start working. You learn a lot about the atmosphere and culture, while starting to build contacts that will come handy in the future. And if you are really good (or if you have the right set of contacts), you can even start earning stipends.

For one, Summer in a Startup by CEL offered plenty of intern opportunities, both Work­-at­Home and in-and­-around Hyderabad. Since they usually have small teams and dedicated people, startups are definitely cool places to get your “beginner’s guide to the business world” (Shout out to two of our campus start ups, Valonia and Pixelscapes!)

How to start searching for an internship-

For one, keep an eye on FB groups like Shoutboxx or BPHC Referral portal for internship opportunities that pop up daily. You could even directly contact on­campus folks from CEL, or go through websites like Internshala. Or if you are gutsy enough, try mailing some startups with your resume and see how they react (Protip- You have nothing to lose but everything to gain. Most will respond positively because you show a direct interest in them by mailing. Except if you mail them from addresses like smartkartcooldude96@gmail.com)

LEARN SOMETHING NEW

College life has a limited time of four years (or five) for you to learn as many things as you want. You never know if you want to study Civil Engineering or do stand up comedy, and the best way to really know is to try new things and find out! Like maybe go all Farhan Qureshi and start wildlife photography in BPHC. (I hear Cindy Bhowbhow needs a new DP!)

Well, what can it be? Anything under the sun, if it interests you. Maybe start with the basics of coding. Or DuoLingo a new language, like French or German. Or you could learn how to edit Wikipedia. (Hint ­ It’s supereasy and gives great rewards). Or just pick a random hobby and start working on it! You never know which girl your skateboarding skills might impress (Personal experience *wink wink*).

Alternative places to start learning is Online. Some Youtube channels teach you plenty, while Quora’s always a brilliant place to learn something new (As long as you know where to subscribe to). You can follow entire courses at Coursera or at Khan Academy too. Other supercool places to go to include TED and TEDx videos, specific subreddits on Reddit, and Instructables.

Learn about your branch. Or someone else’s.

I cannot emphasise enough how important learning about your branch is, both in terms of figuring out what you like, and what you don’t. Like if you ask a second yearite about what they wished they’d have done differently in their years, they’d obviously say getting into the football team. Er, I meant knowing about their branch.

Why is it so important? Because after four years, you want to know where you are headed. And to know that, you’ll have to know what your options are (And there’s no 50­50 lifeline available here). You might take a job, or go for Civil Services, or go the MBA route, or pursue higher studies, or make your own company or so something completely different altogether! But before that, you have four years of studying, so why not explore that and make the most of it.

Where to start learning about the branches ­

Prepared by Goa Campus last year, this Google doc covers basically all the information about what branches cover what topics. (Credits for Raj Kunkolienkar for making this!) It’s only accessible by logging onto BITSmail and covers literally everything you need to know to get a beginners guide on any academic oriented topic you want. Plus, despite the name, it’s not just for first years and can well be used by one and all. (I use it as a handbook even now, well into my second year and it’s definitely super helpful).

On similar lines is this pdf from Pilani, which covers only the bullet points of the Goa doc but in an attractive way.

CODE

Yes, I actually mean it. And no it’s got nothing to do with the “Coding gets you jobs” stereotypes or anything of that sort. In reality, coding teaches you a lot. Well, maybe not THAT much, but the key here is that you’ll learn stuff that’ll be useful across disciplines, apart from the added advantage of teaching you to think more logically and clearly. (In fact, in almost everything you’ll do in future, learning a little coding can help you. Except getting a girl).

Specific languages like Matlab are used in plenty by Pheonix and Physics folks too, while R is a brilliant programming language to handle all types of statistics. Of course, only Code God Kushagra can learn 20+ languages, so you might want to prioritise what you want to go for. I think Codecademy and GeeksForGeeks are perfect and well balanced resources for everyone.

What to learn in coding

On the CS side of things, there’s plenty you can do. My recommendation is to only know one language well. If you really want to learn another language, then go for either Python (Its really the one language to rule them all!) or another that fits your future plans. Useful tech skills to know include Web development (Front­end and Back­end) and App development (Android, Windows and iOS). At the same time, you could go for Competitive coding or maybe try your hands at Open Source.

STUDY!

As all classic Bollywood moms say, marks don’t grow on trees (Or /r/trees). You could actually boost your CG by reading next sem’s textbooks. Or maybe not. (Relative grading, bitches)

– Subham Soni

P.S. For more information on any of what’s written here, do contact me directly at the.original.soni@gmail.com. I promise to misguide you the best way possible.

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3 thoughts on “The Ultimate BITSian Guide to Productive Summers

  1. Nothing new under the sun.. What about trips and well teaching some poor kids.. Exploring untouched wilderness (some sort of hiking.. Or trekking). There’s a whole world to explore and don’t know why (I may be wrong) but the direction of this article is circling around college and landing good jobs.. well you could’ve made this kind of a survey and asked many people about it instead of serving the gist of that summer prodyctive talks session.

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