My College:
Dear Adina

Do College Students Have to Get Internships?

Adina Glickman


Dear Adina,

What kind of summer jobs/experiences are ideal or expected of college students? Is it necessary or advantageous to get a “career-related” internship or experience starting early in your college years?


Dear Parent,

Ideal? Expected? LOL. Such a 2019 notion. Right now it’s more about Coping, Adapting and Being Patient.

College students (and everyone on the planet) are up against the antithesis of "ideal" and have had to radically shift their expectations. So your question is a reasonable one but can only be answered by re-shaping it to ask things like, “what is good enough?” and “what is possible?”

Here’s what’s good: Any experience — structured as a summer internship at Google or a minimum wage job stocking shelves at the grocery store — that has the potential to provide the student with an opportunity to learn and grow.

At the age of most college students, there is much to be learned about things like showing up on time, being consistent and reliable, following instructions, interacting with all different kinds of people, communicating clearly, and handling the stress of new situations. Whether your student gets to learn and grow in these ways in an internship or at a summer job, and whether it is career-oriented or simply brings in some money, it’s good.

The college years, and especially the summers when students can stretch themselves without fear of besmirching their GPAs, are opportunities to dabble outside their comfort zone. The stretch zone may be in an internship, a camp counselor gig, an art project, as a volunteer, or in a minimum wage job. Maybe they’ll learn basic communication skills at an internship. Maybe they’ll learn those same skills as a camp counselor where they also discover that teaching kids to swim is awesome fun. Maybe they’ll learn that earning money feels great but minimum wage jobs aren’t challenging enough. The point is learning, growing, developing.

While it’s certainly prudent to think about gaining hands-on experience and beginning the lifelong endeavor of building personal and professional networks, it’s not necessary that this happen through an internship. The pivotal element is that the student be invited to reflect on what they’re learning from it — about themselves as well as the thing they’re doing. What’s advantageous is having a meaningful story to tell about what they’ve learned.

What’s possible depends on the many specifics of your student’s situation: financial needs, access to WiFi, health risks, etc. But if the goal is learning from experiences, those experiences can be found anywhere.

Your guidance is invaluable in helping your student be creative about what this summer can be about.

You can provide a broad perspective on opportunities and experiences that might not seem obvious to your student. For example, if your student is sure they are in love with coding and want an internship at Google, that’s one version of good — could even be great! But if that student has never traveled to an impoverished nation and could use some exposure to the people and cultures their engineering career might truly benefit, volunteering for Habitat for Humanity and building a house in Guatemala might teach them other important things.

And BTW, the growth and learning from summer experiences shaped by “good enough” and “possible” may well turn out to be ideal.

Yours,

Adina Signature

Have a question? Ask Adina

Adina Glickman is the founder of Affinity Coaching Group, which offers academic, life, parenting and career coaching. She is the former director of learning strategies at Stanford University and is the co-founder and director of the Academic Resilience Consortium, an association of faculty, staff and students dedicated to understanding and promoting student resilience. Learn more at affinitycoachinggroup.com.
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    2 days ago
    CollegiateParent

    Dorm decorating has become an industry.

    There are professional dorm decorators, décor kits, Pinterest boards, etc. There are even colleges and universities with reputations for high level décor by their students.

    I’d like to share some thoughts about décor for parents and students to consider.

    Room Furnishings Policy

    Every Residence Life Department has a dorm decorating policy in place. It is so important to follow the rules to avoid fines for damages, missing items, etc. Many residence halls restrict the use of tape and adhesive products because they aren’t always removed properly and despite the “no damage” promise can damage walls and doors. Decorating policies can vary widely because they’re based on the particular building and its paint, furniture, etc.

    Furniture

    Room furniture provided by the college and university is required to remain in the room unless other arrangements have been made (for example, because of a medical accommodation). This means any furniture removed (without the school’s approval) is the responsibility of the student(s) assigned to the room. Work with the furniture in your space.

    Also, be mindful when adjusting beds because if the bed is damaged, you are responsible for the cost. Always contact staff to receive assistance. Some colleges have loft kits available to rent to raise your bed. Check your housing website or handbook for details.

    Roommates’ Décor

    Students (and their families) often get excited about decorating and want to include the roommate on the venture. While this is a friendly gesture, be mindful there may be limitations for the roommate. I recently saw a TikTok video where a parent asks their student’s roommate to purchase a certain set of bedding from Amazon. The student couldn’t afford it and the parent was upset and requested a roommate change for their student.

    While this seems extreme it’s not uncommon. Here are a few things to consider when it comes to coordinating with roommates:

    The roommate has their own style.

    Everyone doesn’t want to match their roommate’s décor.

    Everyone can’t afford the same things.

    A student can ask their roommate but there is no obligation to say yes.

    Also, a parent should never reach out to a student’s roommate without permission. If the families don’t know each other, it can cause anxiety for both students. Roommates should communicate with one another directly.

    Decorating a dorm room can be a fun, exciting experience. Of course you want to help make that space as comfortable as possible for your student! Just remember to consider the policies, be respectful of the other roommate(s), and don’t overdo the décor because sometimes space is limited. It’s best to start with a small number of items and then add if needed.

    Happy Decorating!

    - from LaTrina Rogers, The Dorm Mom
    ... See MoreSee Less

    Dorm decorating has become an industry.  There are professional dorm decorators, décor kits, Pinterest boards, etc. There are even colleges and universities with reputations for high level décor by their students.  I’d like to share some thoughts about décor for parents and students to consider.  Room Furnishings Policy  Every Residence Life Department has a dorm decorating policy in place. It is so important to follow the rules to avoid fines for damages, missing items, etc. Many residence halls restrict the use of tape and adhesive products because they aren’t always removed properly and despite the “no damage” promise can damage walls and doors. Decorating policies can vary widely because they’re based on the particular building and its paint, furniture, etc.  Furniture  Room furniture provided by the college and university is required to remain in the room unless other arrangements have been made (for example, because of a medical accommodation). This means any furniture removed (without the school’s approval) is the responsibility of the student(s) assigned to the room. Work with the furniture in your space.  Also, be mindful when adjusting beds because if the bed is damaged, you are responsible for the cost. Always contact staff to receive assistance. Some colleges have loft kits available to rent to raise your bed. Check your housing website or handbook for details.  Roommates’ Décor  Students (and their families) often get excited about decorating and want to include the roommate on the venture. While this is a friendly gesture, be mindful there may be limitations for the roommate. I recently saw a TikTok video where a parent asks their student’s roommate to purchase a certain set of bedding from Amazon. The student couldn’t afford it and the parent was upset and requested a roommate change for their student.  While this seems extreme it’s not uncommon. Here are a few things to consider when it comes to coordinating with roommates:  The roommate has their own style.  Everyone doesn’t want to match their roommate’s décor.  Everyone can’t afford the same things.  A student can ask their roommate but there is no obligation to say yes.  Also, a parent should never reach out to a student’s roommate without permission. If the families don’t know each other, it can cause anxiety for both students. Roommates should communicate with one another directly.  Decorating a dorm room can be a fun, exciting experience. Of course you want to help make that space as comfortable as possible for your student! Just remember to consider the policies, be respectful of the other roommate(s), and don’t overdo the décor because sometimes space is limited. It’s best to start with a small number of items and then add if needed.  Happy Decorating!  - from LaTrina Rogers, The Dorm Mom

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