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Thread: How should I spend my summer before senior year of college?

  1. #1
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    How should I spend my summer before senior year of college?

    I am currently a junior in college double majoring in Economics and History who plans on going to grad school for a Masters in Urban Planning. This past summer, I was blessed enough to intern with the NYC DOT's bikeshare program (Citibike), where I did a lot of siting for the program's expansion.

    I would really like to do research this summer, ideally in transportation or infrastructural planning. Is this something that undergrads can do? (I only wonder because lots of pre-med undergrads do research at medical schools/hospitals, etc.) To proceed with this, do I just cold email professors/researchers at schools/organizations asking if I can do research with them?

    How did you guys, especially those who didn't major in urban planning in undergrad, spend your summers/semesters before applying to schools?


    Thanks for your help!

  2. #2
    Super Moderator luckless pedestrian's avatar
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    This is a great question

    I think getting another internship is likely the best thing for you so you can keep your resume active in your career path

    You'll have plenty of opportunity for research during the school year

    and please, just to make us old farts in here happy, have a lot of fun on your days off -

    if you can't find an internship, then lay on the beach during the day and bar tend a night and save your money - you may never have the chance again to have a do-nothing summer - it won't hurt your career path either if you are headed to grad school anyway

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally posted by luckless pedestrian View post
    and please, just to make us old farts in here happy, have a lot of fun on your days off -

    if you can't find an internship, then lay on the beach during the day and bar tend a night and save your money - you may never have the chance again to have a do-nothing summer - it won't hurt your career path either if you are headed to grad school anyway


    Ahh as much as I'd love to take your advice, there's always the concern of "oh I need to do everything I can to get into grad school" and whatnot. I'll probably regret it in the future too, but in the moment it's hard to relax. :/

    Hopefully I can find a good balance of the two.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally posted by therimgreaper View post
    I am currently a junior in college double majoring in Economics and History who plans on going to grad school for a Masters in Urban Planning. This past summer, I was blessed enough to intern with the NYC DOT's bikeshare program (Citibike), where I did a lot of siting for the program's expansion.

    I would really like to do research this summer, ideally in transportation or infrastructural planning. Is this something that undergrads can do? (I only wonder because lots of pre-med undergrads do research at medical schools/hospitals, etc.) To proceed with this, do I just cold email professors/researchers at schools/organizations asking if I can do research with them?

    How did you guys, especially those who didn't major in urban planning in undergrad, spend your summers/semesters before applying to schools?


    Thanks for your help!
    I spent my summers working. I pretty much put myself through college, except for my first year and grants/loans. Like lp said, do us old farts a favor and party during your down time. After all, you are in NYC. Calling up planning or highway department wouldn't be a bad idea. Most of us PD's don't mind talking to the next generation.
    When did I go from Luke Skywalker to Obi-Wan Kenobi?

  5. #5
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Whose Yur Planner View post
    I spent my summers working. I pretty much put myself through college, except for my first year and grants/loans. Like lp said, do us old farts a favor and party during your down time. After all, you are in NYC. Calling up planning or highway department wouldn't be a bad idea. Most of us PD's don't mind talking to the next generation.
    Yep that was my life too! Work your tail off and save up. See how many credits you can buy for fall. Start the process over again for the winter semester. Once winter semester rolls around repeat for the spring summer semester and pray that they offer classes you need. I did get a meris scolarship one year for $1,000. Not too bad.

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    Relax...

    Personally, you have the rest of your life to work, that includes unpaid internships or fulfilling opportunities. One thing you will likely never get back is time to do nothing (unless you are laid off, which I hope never happens to you). Work and just enjoy being a college student.

    I was fortunate to intern while in Grad. School, which transitioned into a full-time job. Take some time off.

  7. #7
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    Worked - nothing related to planning
    and did not apply to grad school either.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by therimgreaper View post
    Ahh as much as I'd love to take your advice, there's always the concern of "oh I need to do everything I can to get into grad school" and whatnot. I'll probably regret it in the future too, but in the moment it's hard to relax. :/

    Hopefully I can find a good balance of the two.
    Ahaha this is my life. Can't stop, won't stop! I always work in my time away from school. If I have no school (this is rare I usually school in the summer too), I'll work 7 days a week at two jobs... when I'm in school I work 4-5 days a week at one. I don't know how you people paid for school just by working the summer semester....

    I would love a job doing research but have never been able to find anything as an undergrad (4th year).
    That said, I'd seek out volunteer opportunities. In my experience these are pretty relaxed, a nice way to spend summer, and although its hit and miss with volunteering - you might get connections, references and experience out of it. Plus it looks good on your grad school application regardless.

  9. #9
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    summer research in transportation

    Disregarding what everyone else said about not doing anything over summer...I totally get it. If pre-med students or pre-law students prepare to go to graduate school, why shouldn't you?

    First off, hope DOT was great! I'm currently in graduate school and my classmate/friend in the MRP program here at Cornell actually works for CityBike/DOT right now. What a coincidence! Secondly, it's great you are starting to scout out options early. It takes time to manage all those applications and figure out summer plans in addition to graduate school and graduation plans.

    Here's an opportunity that we heard about when we visited Washington DC during our fall field trip. It sounds right up your alley - it's a joint program through D.DOT (DC DOT) and Howard University Transportation Research Center. Technically it's an internship, but it's very research oriented - which I totally commend you for wanting to try out, since you've already done a more "professional" oriented internship.

    http://ddot.dc.gov/release/ddot-and-...summer-program
    http://www.hutrc.howard.edu/index.ph...er-internships

    I know from the list it seems a little technical/engineering oriented, but don't get discouraged by that.

    Another thing you could try to do over the summer is attend some professional events, such as NYC Young Professionals in Transportation, ITE, APA. There's always a brownbag lecture, happy hour, or mini-conference going on over summer, especially in New York. Lastly, some organizations (like the Metropolitan Planning Council in Chicago or Project for Public Spaces in NYC) have "research internships" where you basically spend your summer working on one project that you can tailor to your interests (transportation I take it?). A lot would be happy to take you on - don't feel like you have to do research with a professor or university; this isn't a science field.

    Hope that was helpful and that I wasn't too late in replying!

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