Making Your Summer Holidays More Productive – Part 1

Making Your Summer Holidays More Productive – Part 1

Summer vacations are around the corner for most Indian students. For high school students, this holiday period is a crucial one as it allows them to pick up an extra load and work on their profile for university admissions. We have planned a 3 part series in which we will share our recommendations to help you explore different fields and work on developing your profile this summer.

As per the Ministry of Internal Affairs, approximately 1.5 million Indian students were studying abroad in 2023. Of these, a major chunk goes to four countries – US, UK, Canada and Australia. Students vying for a spot in the best universities in these nations have to go through a grind in their high school. As they compete with a global student population, they must put their best foot forward when filling out their applications.

Admission officers have time and again reiterated that they look for a depth of commitment in student activities while evaluating applications. It is not the number of activities but the consistency with which students engage in their interests, that defines their commitment. Academics are no different. Universities want to understand how keen you are to study your chosen field and the steps you have taken to make that decision a conscious one.

Also Read: How To Go From Overwhelmed To Organised

During the vacation season, you have the time to go beyond your textbooks and classrooms to explore the subject of your choice. Here are some ways to do so.

Read Books

Students have a busy routine where they are constantly juggling multiple activities apart from academics. They usually do not get the time to read. One of the best activities this summer would be to pick up a non-fiction book that can expand your knowledge in the field you want to consider for your career. These books are written by eminent researchers who have a solid body of work behind them. You may not understand every detail but you will get an overview that will certainly put you a few steps ahead of your peers. It will also help you in writing university essays as some prompts directly ask you about your interest in your chosen subject. If not, you can always talk about it in your statement of purpose to show how you have acquired more knowledge outside your school.

We have made a list of books you can pick up if you don’t know where to start.

Economics 

  1. Poor Economics by Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo
  2. Good Economics for Hard Times by Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo
  3. The Undercover Economist by Tim Harford
  4. Freakonomics by Levitt and Dubner
  5. Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
  6. Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely- Dan Ariely

 

Psychology 

  1. Psych by Paul Bloom
  2. Brainstorm by Daniel Siegel
  3. Behave by Robert Sapolsky
  4. Little Book of Psychology by Emily Ralls and Caroline Riggs
  5. The Private Life of the Brain by Susan Greenfield
  6. Reaching down the rabbit hole by Dr Allan Ropper and Dr Brian Burrell

 

Biology 

  1. Do No Harm by Dr Henry Marsh
  2. Gut by Giulia Enders
  3. Why We Sleep? By Matthew Walker
  4. The Tell-Tale Brain by V S Ramachandran
  5. I Contain Multitudes by Ed Yong
  6. The Body by Bill Bryson

 

Physics

  1. Physics for Scientists and Engineers by Randall Knight
  2. Seven Brief Lessons on Physics by Carlo Rovelli
  3. Until the End of Time / The Elegant Universe by Brian Greene
  4. Surely you’re joking Mr, Feynman by Richard Feynman
  5. Must Know High School Physics by Christopher Bruhn
  6. The Theory of Everything by Stephen Hawking

Also Read: 7 Mistakes To Avoid In Your University Essay

Do an Online Course

With technology at your bay, you can attend lectures from top universities without stepping out of your home. There are both paid as well as free courses that you can explore this summer. Only one word of caution – these modules are demanding. Go in with a commitment that you will see it till the end. Take your time to understand each module in the course and work on the assignments to get a thorough understanding.

Here are some courses you can consider for this summer.

Economics Courses

  1. Game Theory by Stanford University and The University of British Columbia
  2. Introduction to Microeconomics by Yale
  3. Introduction to Macroeconomics by Yale
  4. Introductory Microeconomic Analysis by Boston University
  5. Introductory Macroeconomic Analysis by Boston University
  6. Microeconomics: The Power of Markets by UPenn
  7. Behavioral Finance by Duke
  8. The challenge of World Poverty by MIT
  9. Principles of Macroeconomics by MIT
  10. Principles of Microeconomics by MIT
  11. Game Theory by MIT

 

Psychology Courses

  1. General Psychology by Boston University
  2. The Science of Well-Being for Teens by Yale
  3. Managing Emotions in Times of Uncertainty & Stress by Yale
  4. Introduction to Psychology by MIT
  5. Neuroscience and Behavior by MIT
  6. The Human Brain by MIT

 

Computer Science Courses

  1. Introduction to Computer Science 1 by Boston University
  2. Computer Science: Programming with a Purpose by Princeton
  3. Computational Thinking for Problem Solving by UPenn
  4. Learn to Program: The Fundamentals by University of Toronto
  5. Mathematical Thinking in Computer Science by UCSanDiego
  6. Introduction to Computer Science by Harvard
  7. Principles of Computing by Rice University
  8. Code Yourself! An Introduction to Programming by University of Edinburgh
  9. Programming Fundamentals by Duke

 

Physics Courses

  1. Understanding Einstein: The Special Theory of Relativity by Stanford
  2. Understanding Modern Physics I: Relativity and Cosmology by HKUST
  3. AP Physics 1 by Rice University
  4. Quantum Mechanics for Everyone by GeorgeTown University
  5. Physics I: Classical Mechanics by MIT
  6. Introduction To Statistical Physics by MIT
  7. Einstein, Oppenheimer, Feynman: Physics In The 20th Century by MIT
  8. Classical Mechanics by MIT

 

Also Read: In Praise of Hard Work: Studying Calculus to Doing the Dishes to Meditation

Hone Your Writing

Unfortunately, our education system gives very less credit to reflective writing. Literature and language classes are restricted to textbooks and while some level of creativity is encouraged, students are rarely expected to develop thoughtful pieces of writing. As a result, students struggle to write essays for university applications. 

More than the purpose of honing your writing skills for university applications, consider it as a life skill. When you are in university or at the workplace, there will be several instances where you will have to demonstrate your communication skills to reach out to your audience. Even while putting together a presentation, you need to work on framing your thoughts and ideas into crisp words. This writing practice will help you later also as you wouldn’t struggle with logical slides.

Apart from this, when you engage in reflective writing, you understand yourself better. You will become more inquisitive as you will look for some answers. It will also help you in your internal submissions as you will learn several tricks along the way. 

As an enterprise that works with youngsters, we encourage students to write more. It can be anything – from reviewing your favourite restaurant to writing a summary of the last book you read. We will elaborate more on this and share some tips to work on your writing skills in our next blog.

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