Helping college kids prepare for a summer internship
Over the summer, my oldest son, Bailey, had the opportunity of a lifetime. By what would seem a random fluke to the outsider, I know was a divine appointment of God in establishing my son’s path and journey to adulthood. I can look at the past two years of college, and see the foundation, even though I’m not sure where the finished road will take him.
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You see, my oldest son is an extreme introvert. He will flat out say, he doesn’t like talking to people at all, and that includes his family. That may be an exaggeration because he does have friends and a fantastic sense of humor, but communicating is not his forté. He started college his freshman year living on campus as a computer science major, then moved home at semester and changed to Economics and Political Science double major. He is passionate about politics and economic plans. The summer between his Freshman and Sophomore years, he interned at a community center for underprivileged kids and met his first girlfriend, Alex. Let me clarify, they didn’t start dating until the end of summer due to the rules against dating other interns. By Christmas of last year, I knew it was true love!
What does that have to do with his experience this past summer? A lot!! When this opportunity arose, they were mature enough in their relationship to be okay with being separated for an entire summer. Bailey would be working with Laffer and Associates in Nashville, Tennessee. Dr. Arthur Laffer, the “father of supply-side economics”, is an economist that has worked for every president since Ronald Regan. Now, I’m not going to debate policy, and don’t really care what other’s political stance is, this was a fantastic opportunity for my son, but we only had a week to prepare.
Find Housing & Transportation
Fortunately, some of our friends live in Nashville and would allow him to stay with them for the summer. It was such a relief to not have to find housing. A quick google map search showed their house was only 7.4 miles from his office. Little did I know that it could take him up to 1/2 hour to drive during rush hour. We made sure to do a test run to see how long the commute would actually take before his first day.
Know office dress code
In the introductory email my son had received, he would need to wear a dress shirt, dress pants, a tie, and a jacket was preferred. Yikes!! He wears shorts and t-shirts every day, that is when he’s not in his bathrobe (which is 24/7 when he’s home). Oh, and I’ll add that his pant size is a 28″x34″ which usually has to be special ordered. We could waste no time getting his wardrobe put together. Off to Kohl’s we went. We chose a style and size pants he would need, bought 3 and ordered 2 more, 5 dress shirts, 5 ties, a sports coat, and 2 pairs of dress shoes. He would also take the black suit he already had at home. We had a lesson in mixing and matching clothes, ironing, and finding a dry cleaner. My husband showed him how to tie a tie.
My son’s work experience has been in fast food, a pizza delivery driver, or working with kids at the community center. My husband prepped him on office etiquette, and how to work in a professional environment, practice the art of a firm handshake, speaking with clarity, and maintaining confidence. This is where we pray that the manners we have raised him with will pay off.
Be Willing to go the Extra Mile
My son’s direct boss was traveling to Europe for a couple of weeks. He must have thought highly of Bailey because he asked him to house sit for him while he was gone. This entailed checking on his house and watering plants. Now, I know that my son has no idea how to take care of plants, but he was willing to learn to give a good impression, and he made a little extra cash while he was in Nashville since this was an unpaid internship. He also got to ride along with Dr. Laffer to a local t.v. station and watch him do an interview with FoxNews. Dr. Laffer is a regular on the news channels. Our first question to Bailey when we heard about the ride along, “What kind of car does he drive?”
Keep a Journal
My son was given the advice to keep a notebook of people in his office. You never know when a contact can come in handy for letters of recommendation or to help in your future career opportunities. Make notes of personal interests, family, etc. to really impress them with how you retain information. It’s the little things that count!
Send Thank You Notes
We made sure to have Bailey send handwritten thank you notes to everyone in his office. He received a response back from his intern coordinator that read something like, “Not many interns take the time to write a thank you note, but we always remember the ones that do.” It takes just a few minutes to go above and beyond but can leave quite the impression.
We remind Bailey that he is building the foundation for his future. He has goals and aspirations to attend law school, as well as get his MBA. The experience of this summer internship has had more than just a professional impact, he came back as a man. It is such a blessing to me to see the maturity in how he carries himself, how he handles his relationship, and how he communicates with others. He learned how to deal with car issues, do laundry, pack his lunch, manage his time, and function in a professional environment. I wasn’t there to make sure everything was done properly, he had to figure it out. This is what most kids learn while away at college, but since he is a commuter, it was one of his first ventures into adulting without me there to make sure he did it right. I’m sure God has plans for his life, and I am thankful that I get to witness it.
Bailey had the privilege to assist in the editing process of the upcoming book, Trumponomics by Stephen Moore and Arthur B. Laffer, Ph.D., due to release October 30, 2018.
Dr. Laffer’s books can be purchased from Amazon by clicking on the images below.