The city of Houston has a number of industries to thank for its thriving economy.

From oil and gas exploration, petroleum refining, chemical production, medical research, and high-technology - each contributing to the cities title of the fourth largest metropolis within the United States, surpassing over $400 billion in gross domestic product (GDP) every year.

With increasing opportunities for employment followed by more and more business start-ups, there is a high demand for professional economists within the United States.

To be an expert in economics one has to study the distribution, production, and consumption of goods and services. They also have to identify certain behaviors and consumer interactions whilst maintaining a strong understanding of the economics within their locality and further.

Making data-related decisions is a principal duty as an economist and such decisions are required in all fields of employment. This is why job opportunities are both vast and diverse for those who aim to work within the area.

From real estate to finance, information technology to the manufacturing industry, all professional operations require individuals to make informed decisions to help benefit future prospects within a company.

Of the world's largest non-US based companies, over half of them own operations within the city. This helps to illustrate that not alone are US-based companies thriving but there is a diverse range of business prospects for there to be explored.

Just like Chicago, Houston is also home to a number of well-respected colleges and universities. A number of these establishments offer both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees within the field, making it a perfect destination for aspiring economists.

Due to the demand, a high percentage of students who complete their studies opt to remain within the city, for there are plenty of opportunities in both the public and private sectors.

Mathematics is an important area when studying economics and it is considered to be a learning area associated with academics who have a passion for math, problem-solving and data collection.

Due to the diverse opportunities in employment, degree programs within economics admit a wide variety of students, yet not all students make it to the very end.

To compare, contrast and criticize various frameworks and theories within the field of economics, one must develop a system which works best for the individual.

So, what do you do when it all gets a little overwhelming?

There are a number of options when it comes to extracurricular learning. In this article, we will explore a few possibilities to help you along the way.

Tutoring and Study Groups

Students gather for a study session in the colleges library.
The more the merrier. The library is a great destination for study groups. (Source: Visual Hunt)

Liaising with fellow students and faculty is a great way to help develop a personal network. The more individuals you know on your course the more references you will have when faced with any obstacles within your learning.

As said by previous economics tutors and students from Cornell University, forming a study group is a great way to leverage the tremendous learning benefits of regular studying with your peers.

Not only a great way to identify and correct any misconceptions but a study group is also a great motivator to solve problems when there is a support network around you.

The department of economics at The University of Houston has a dedicated forum in which students can upload requests as well as talk directly to fellow students; a great platform for those looking to expand their network.

Similar to Philadelphia university forums, the forum is separated between undergraduate, postgraduate and Ph.D. economics based programs and if you are a registered student you can gain immediate access via their online portal.

The University also has an active homepage in which attending students and faculty members post regular articles in regards to present topics about the economy. There is also a section within the homepage which displays faculty publications, working papers, and conference presentations; all effective references for making sure you are up-to-date with the latest matters within your subject area.

A number of colleges and universities also offer the opportunity for lesser experienced students to get in contact with a designated TA (Teaching Assistant). These are usually individuals who are undergoing their masters/Ph.D. programs and are therefore further ahead in their studies than students still working through their undergraduate.

Although this is an effective method in gaining productive insight into your learning, a number of the establishments which offer this service recommended undergraduate students not to overuse this privilege.

A number of the TA's are tremendously busy with their own learning and they are only available to help upon request - a request which cannot always be fulfilled. This, therefore, presses us to explore further options.

One-to-one tutoring boasts a decorated history in helping individuals prepare for examinations.

Regardless of what course, age or overall proficiency level, tutoring is a highly recommended resource to boost your knowledge and confidence.

There are a number of strategies in finding the best tutor for you. Location is the first possible implication, and a number of tutors now offer online tutoring services meaning you don't have to leave your apartment to receive expert advice.

Superprof has a number of tutors who specialize within economics and they can be contacted through a simple search on their homepage.

It is important when looking for a tutor that you also consider those who are specialists in the area of mathematics. There are a larger amount of tutors who identify their specialization in math and considering economics is largely influenced by such principles, a number of these tutors will be able to help!

Most of the tutors available on this platform propose their first lesson for free so you can explore a number of options without unnecessary spending.

Again, communicating with current and existing students as well as faculty members is a great way to gain advice upon finding the right tutor.

A number of colleges and universities have strong affiliations with local tutors that have worked with a number of students across the years. Their familiarity with the school's learning principles and teaching curriculum ensures they have the relevant knowledge required to support you in your studies.

Finding Extracurricular Activities Online

A student studies with her laptop and books in the park.
Following respected economists on social media is a great way to keep on top of current economic issues. (Source: Visual Hunt)

There are a number of fantastic online resources to help support your learning.

The website Inomics has listed the 15 must know online websites for economics students. Explore the list and be sure to sign-up to mailing lists as well as download accompanying applications to your smartphone or tablet.

Tyler Cowen, a decorated American economist has a number of publications within the field of economics.

As well as an active Twitter user, he has an active blog called The Marginal Revolution in which he discusses a number of issues, implications, and developments in alignment with world economics. He also writes regular suggestions for recommended literature which is a fantastic reference for budding economists.

Both colleges and universities within Houston offer a range of educational resources both within their libraries and via their online portals.

Although your educational establishment may own the particular book you are looking for, an economics department filled with hundreds of students means you may not always be the first in line.

As a backup, it is always advisable to sign up to your local library.

Houston Public Library owns an impressive collection of books across a range of subject areas. As well as physical literature, there is also an online portal in which you can access E-books & more.

Be sure to sign up to them today! Their online portal can also help you to identify which books the library owns as well as if they are available to loan.

Learning in Houston is in your hands (Photo by Melvin Thambi on Unsplash)

Houston is not the only city to offer these opportunities within the world of economics, but a number of strong economic powers across the country such as New York and Los Angeles provide students and professionals with the chance to develop their knowledge within economics.

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