Do College Students Need More Exposure to the Workplace?
Nicole Dieker
1711

I have taught at a pretty broke religious liberal arts college for four years. Many of my students worked — but not all of them — at restaurant and similar jobs during the summer. Some of them did heavy farming work, but that was much less common. I was/am surprised that this was not the majority. I live in an area of the country that’s economically depressed, but there are many low paying jobs, that would be perfect for a summer (aka how I spent my summers). I found this especially prevalent in faculty children, who seemed to think they were too good for work (seriously it is a problem for some of them when they graduate because of the lack of people skills) and because they had a tuition waiver.

Now, on to the other thing: I actually don’t know how to prepare students for jobs. I do know how to prepare them for things all employers seem to value — showing up on time, doing the work, asking questions, reading and writing. I teach a variety of things in a language that will improve employment options (Spanish). But students have often balked at me telling them this was a useful language, and they complain so much when they get bad grades, or when they are held accountable in any way. I say, well, it is important, so I will do it. But, in schools with enrollment problems (like former employer) faculty are almost bullied into pandering to students so they won’t withdraw That I think is a bigger problem.

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