Lately, I have been finding myself with a lot of free time and am unable to shake this feeling that I am not "doing enough." After finishing my school work, I usually just go to the gym, hang out with friends, or play video games.
Is there anything else I can do to further improve myself as an engineer and set myself up for success later on? Perhaps some books or resources to read.
I've tried working on some side projects, but honestly find it hard to follow through with them due to lack of urgency with no deadlines and prior fatigue from working on school assignments.
If you've already secured a job and you're satisfied with where you're headed, don't feel the need to do something. It's a rare time in life when everything is going well and you're excited about what's ahead -- enjoy it!
If you are in a funk, though, and want to do something to get out of it, I have two tips:
Someone I really wish someone told me while I was in college is to enjoy my time there more. University is the last time in your life when you have no real responsibilities - Everything changes once you graduate and get that full-time job. Since you're already interning at a great company like Amazon, your career is already set up pretty well for success. There's no need to put that extra pressure on yourself!
That being said, I actually do wish I had done more at UCLA instead of playing video games so much. In particular, I wish I had started working on side projects sooner - The most talented newgrad engineers I knew all had major, real-world side projects before graduating, some with 100k+ users! I know that you said that you find it hard to get motivated by side projects, so here's my tips to get out of that funk:
But let's say side projects just don't do it for you - No worries! There's a bunch of other stuff you can do:
Something I forgot to mention that I see so many students mess up: Don't focus too much on your grades.
For the most part, having around a 3.0 GPA (e.g. straight Bs) or higher is enough to keep you in contention for almost all tech companies, including FAANG. There were a couple companies I interacted with back during my days at UCLA that gated on 3.5+ GPA, but these were all companies that weren't exactly at the top in terms of quality.
Software is cutting-edge and practical, which academia is not. Getting good grades doesn't actually do much in making you a better software engineer; building side projects and working on real-world software in general is much better at doing that. This is why spending those extra 20 hours to bump up your project grade from 85% to 100% is a terrible waste of time.
I know that this topic wasn't mentioned in the question, but I just wanted to make sure that every student reading this thread is aware of this. The people who go to prestigious universities (like myself) are often raised by their parents and community to believe that good grades are everything. Software is an industry where this is very much not the case.